Scottish gin still in good spirits

Scotland is, of course, synonymous with whisky.

But if recent activity is anything to go by, it seems another spirit could soon be vying for the title of Scotland’s national drink.

Gin’s resurgence is still going strong – and Scottish craft distillers continue to be at the forefront.

It is Hendrick’s – William Grant & Sons’ Girvan-produced gin which includes cucumber and rose petals in its botanicals and is served with a cucumber garnish – which some cite as sparking a fresh wave of innovation in the category in the early noughties.

A host of small-batch Scottish distillers has since emerged, producing spirits whose botanicals include everything from seaweed to wood shavings.

And the innovation with different styles and flavours of gin shows no sign of waning. When I visited Eden Mill in St Andrews a couple of months ago, the young distillers were full of ideas; plenty of other Scottish producers have also vowed to keep the new gins flowing.

It’s all good news for the category – and for pubs and bars. Gin sales in the Scottish on-trade have soared by more than £10 million in the last year to £58m, according to new figures from CGA.

And creative bartenders have helped gin evolve from the standard G&T with ‘ice and a slice’ serve by marrying the spirit with mixers such as apple juice and garnishes like grapefruit.

As many operators seek new ways in which to give their outlet a point of difference, it seems the increasingly diverse gin category might just offer some options.