Scotland is second to none when it comes to whisky, but the amber nectar isn’t the only drink made here – beer, wine, cider, vodka and my personal favourite, gin, are all produced in Scotland, too. This month, gin enthusiasts will be treated to some of the country’s best spirits at the Scottish Juniper Festival in Edinburgh, a two-day festival in honour of World Gin Day.
Scottish gin has enjoyed an extra serving of success in recent years. Sparked by the huge popularity of Hendrick’s, the delicious cucumber-infused gin produced in Ayrshire, a host of Scottish gins have popped up and become the preferred tipples of G&T fans everywhere. Several ‘London Drys’ are actually made here, too; in fact, more than 70% of Britain’s gin is now produced north of the border.
World Gin Day celebrates its sixth birthday on Saturday 14 June, giving you a good two weeks to recover from Whisky Month before you crack into the G&Ts. Organised by Solid Liquids, the Scottish Juniper Festival will take place at Summerhall on 13 and 14 June and will showcase 20 different gins, amongst them tasty Scottish brands such as Crossbill, Pickering’s, Hendrick’s, NB Gin, Blackwoods, Caorunn and Darnley’s View.
Have a look at a few of the tasty treats on the menu:
Gin: Rock, Waltz, and Sway
Learn how versatile gin can be with the Gin Gents, Edinburgh bartenders and connoisseurs. Find out about the different flavours and botanicals in your favourite blends, and discover how to make the perfect G&T.
Gin: The Most Fashionable Spirit.
Feeling ‘ginerous’? Pick up a present or treat yourself to something at the Style Gallery, a unique shopping experience mixing gins and fashion products from Scotland and beyond.
Gin: Exploration, Production & Recycling
The gentlemen who make Pickering’s Gin will be offering tours of their distillery, located in Summerhall itself. Have a taste of the first gin to be made in Edinburgh in over 150 years, or fill up on their gin-infused ‘Snickering Pig’ roast.
Gin: Enjoyment of the Senses
There’s more to gin than G&Ts! Try delicious gin cocktails in Summerhall’s Courtyard, or snack on treats and teas in the café influenced by the vast array of flavours and aromas found in different gins.
Gin: Discuss, Digest & Enjoy
SolidLiquids present 3 ‘Spiritual Sessions’ focussed on different aspects of gin. Expert Geraldine Coates will interview 6 different gin producers while the audience taste their wares; cocktail maker Mike McGinty will be whipping up bespoke cocktails; and James Sutherland from 56 North in Edinburgh – home to Scotland’s biggest gin collection – will deliver the ultimate G&T masterclass.
Can’t make the festival? Fear not, gin fans – you can still sample some of Scotland’s most delicious drinks at tasting sessions around the country. Scotland’s first Gin Club launches with a special tasting in Perth on 13 June, and bars such as the Good Spirits in Glasgow, One Square in Edinburgh and the Tippling House in Aberdeen offer regular tastings of Scottish and international gins.
For a proper gin pilgrimage, visit some of the distilleries where your favourite drinks are made. Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay, home of the award-winning Botanist Gin, is open for tours, while Strathearn Distillery in Perthshire hosts gin-making experiences and tastings where you can sample their special Year of Homecoming blend.