View from behind the bar: gin | Scottish Licensed Trade News

Scottish Licensed Trade News

View from behind the bar: gin

Two Scottish bartenders chat about the seasonal gin offerings at their outlets

Milo Smith – 99 Bar & Kitchen, Aberdeen

• Which styles of gin do you reckon will prove popular this festive season?

I’m pretty convinced the most popular gins this festive season will be some of the seasonal flavoured gins.

• Are you planning to introduce any new gins ahead of Christmas? If so, which ones?

I haven’t been thinking about it too much to be honest. There are so many good gins out there at the moment it’s hard to keep up. We already have around 50 gins that we change out frequently and often.

I have limited space and I can’t please everyone so I’ll have some of my team’s favourite gins on the back-bar.

• Which serves are you planning to promote throughout Christmas and New Year?

We’ll be pushing classic serves and combinations of citrus fruits with our gins as garnishes. Cocktails and mixed drinks will be selectively seasonal, with a focus on the overlooked seasonal flavours, with spiced pumpkin and beetroot being prominent.

• Do you expect customers to be more selective with the gins they choose over the festive period? If so, why?

I’m noticing more and more that customers are brand calling quite unusual gins. This is entirely due to the vast expansion of the category over the last year and the level of general knowledge of the spirit rising. Customers are already very selective over their gins and I don’t see this changing any time soon. Albeit I do think customers will focus more on seasonal flavours and themed products.

• What’s your favourite festive gin serve?

I love an Arbikie gin with a wedge of orange studded with a single clove and topped with tonic.


Nick Madigan – The Caley Sample Room, Edinburgh

Which styles of gin do you reckon will prove popular this festive season?

Some of the brands add a Christmas-themed/flavoured gin to their listing around this time of year, which we find are always popular.

Are you planning to introduce any new gins ahead of Christmas? If so, which ones?

Sacred Christmas Pudding Gin; we will be offering this as an after-dinner drink on our Christmas menu and in some seasonal cocktails.

Which serves are you planning to promote throughout Christmas and New Year?

The main one will be our Christmas Pudding Martini, which we will offer as an alternative to dessert for those who are too full. Alongside it we will tailor our perfect serve menu to be Christmas-themed, which helps to drive sales in December.

Our offer will be tailored to suit us as a venue: good solid gin-based cocktails to suit our customer demographic – Sloe Gin fizz, Hot Gin Punch, Christmas Pudding Martini.

Do you expect customers to be more selective with the gins they choose over the festive period? If so, why?

Yes, Christmas and New Year always sees an increase in spirits sales and we find our customers are willing to experiment more during this time and try brands they may not have heard of. Aside from August, December sees the highest volume of people on nights out at Christmas parties, etc. in Edinburgh and everyone is out for a good time and willing to spend that little bit more for a premium gin.

What’s your favourite festive gin serve?

You can’t go wrong with a Gin Hot Toddy when the weather is cold.

However, I had a Mince Pie Gin Martini last year and it was great so I would have to go for that!

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