It's Not Just About Whisky: Scotland's Emerging Gin Scene

Scotland’s distilleries are knuckling down and honing their gin-making skills
Staff Writer

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Scottish spirit Hendrick's has been constantly lauded as one of the best gins in the world.

Forget the land of lochs and whisky, Scotland’s spirit makers are determined to prove they’re just as good at producing great gin too. Innovative new spirits are emerging from the countries gin distilleries that promise to raise Scottish gin from second-fiddle obscurity to serious contender for the best of the Scottish offerings

There is a juniper revolution going on in Scotland; a new generation of spirit lovers and trendy mixologists are descending on innovative gin varieties coming from both Scotland’s oldest and newest distilleries.

Though the county is more well-known for its whiskies, it also happens to be the world’s largest exporter of gin, namely Tanqueray and Gordon’s, and its gin-producing tradition goes back to the 18th century. Today, craft distilleries in Scotland are going through a gin revolution, infusing new gin products with everything from botanicals to exotic fruits.

If you’re a particularly observant gin connoisseur, you’ll have noticed that craft gin makers led by Hendricks, which was launched by William Grant & Sons 10 years ago, is blazing a trail with Scottish gin, putting it on the menus across the U.K. and America. In 2003, the Wall Street Journal heralded Hendricks as the best gin in the world and the distiller has been honored at several international spirit competitions. The Beverage Testing Institute gave the gin well-above-average scores of 93, 94 and 95 between 2007 and 2011.

Scottish gin’s penchant for innovation looks set to continue with new distilleries opening regularly. One highly anticipated offering, Pickering’s Gin, which is based in the heart of Edinburgh, is said to be the first distillery to open its doors in the capital in more than 150 years. It will distill, bottle, and label small batches of premium spirits to be sold exclusively within the city at first. Flavorings will include juniper, coriander, cardamom, and fennel, and Pickering’s is based on a recipe kept secret for more than six decades.

With the combination of its solid spirit-producing history and the addition of exciting new distillers focused on developing new artisanal methods for the spirit, it is clear there’ll be a lot more to see from Scottish gin in coming years.

Serusha Govender is The Daily Meal's Travel Editor. Follow her on Twitter @SerushaGovender

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