Valentine’s Day means different things to different people. For the traditionalists, a card scrawled with heartfelt poetry from a secret admirer, luxury chocolates and a dozen red roses are the essential ingredients for the annual showering of courtly love and affection.
Whether you wholeheartedly embrace your romantic side on 14 February, or think that a day dedicated to amorousness is something to be avoided completely, it’s a great excuse to try something that your taste buds will adore.
It might be a bit strong to say that Scottish gins are my one true love, but they certainly agree with me and make a wonderful Valentine’s Day treat. James Sutherland, gin aficionado and co-owner of Edinburgh gin joint 56 North, believes that Scottish gins are at the very forefront of the gin revival of recent years, with small-batch distillers producing quality gins and some unique styles.
He’s shared three divine cocktails with us, each made with wonderful Scottish gins. Try them for yourself and experience love at first taste!
Curious Cucumber Tea
Hendrick’s Gin, cucumber, rose syrup, fresh lemon juice, bottle of Prosecco or any good bubbly.
Produced in Ayrshire, Hendrick’s Gin is characterised by infusions of rose petals and cucumber.
Cocktail shaker, muddler (or rolling pin), Hawthorne cocktail strainer and tea strainer. Tea cup and saucer, to serve.
- Squeeze your lemon into a cup or small jug. Cut up about 1 inch of cucumber into small bits and add to your cocktails shaker. Muddle this cucumber in the bottom of the shaker until it is all squashed up.
- Add in 50ml of Hendrick’s Gin, 15-25ml of rose syrup (to taste) and add 25ml of the fresh pressed lemon juice. Add lots of ice to your shaker and shake hard until the shaker goes cold.
- Into your tea cup, strain the mixture using both the Hawthorne strainer and also a fine tea strainer to remove any bits. This should fill the cup around half way, depending on the size of the tea cup. Pop open your Prosecco bottle and top with bubbles!
- Place cup on the saucer and serve with a large diagonal cucumber slice and/or a fresh rose.
Eden.Mill Love Gin, Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic Water, 1 – 2 strawberries, juniper berries, marshmallows, lots of ice cubes.
Eden.Mill is a distillery and brewery in St Andrews and produces experimental batches of gin. Love Gin is made with five core botanicals and eight other exotic flavours which include red rose petals, marshmallow root, goji berries and whole hibiscus flowers.
Very large wine glass
- Thinly slice your strawberries and open the tonic.
- Fill the wine glass right to very top with as much ice as you possibly can. Add 50ml of the Love Gin to the glass. If the ice drops down in the glass at this stage, top the glass up with a few more cubes. Pour over half of the elderflower tonic water.
- Add in the cut strawberries and a few juniper berries.
- Serve with a few big soft marshmallows and the rest of the tonic water on the side.
Rock Rose Bramble
Rock Rose Gin, 1 lemon, 1 orange, elderflower cordial, crème de mûre, a sprig of rosemary, lots of crushed ice.
Rock Rose Gin is produced in Caithness in the North Highlands and uses a blend of traditional and local botanicals to create a zesty and berry-flavoured gin.
Cocktail shaker, rolling pin, strainer and rocks glass (10-12 oz short glass)
- Juice the lemon into a small jug.
- Crush enough ice to over fill your glass by about 1/3 again.
- Into the cocktail shaker put in 35ml Rock Rose Gin, 15ml elderflower cordial, 25ml fresh pressed lemon juice – but don’t shake it yet!
- Fill the glass as high as you can with cracked ice to make a mound of it above the top of the glass. Shake your cocktail shaker and strain this mixture over the ice carefully. Give this is stir and add more ice to get back your mound shape.
- Drizzle a tiny bit of crème de mûre (10ml approximately) over the top of the drink – be careful not to overdo it!
- Slice a wedge of orange or create an orange twist and, along with a sprig of rosemary, add to the glass. These garnishes compliment the Rock Rose Gin brilliantly.
If you’re having a romantic night in, then why not serve your loved one a gin cocktail as an aperitif? Get some recipe inspiration and download our new Scottish Recipes for Romance guide.