Shetland-bound bartender turning ginmaker

BARTENDER Adrian Forde-Beggs of Orchid in Aberdeen will be helping craft a new gin for the Shetland Distillery Company, maker of Shetland Reel, after winning the firm’s Taste Pioneer cocktail competition.

Adrian Forde-Beggs of Orchid in Aberdeen.

Adrian progressed through regional heats, held in Edinburgh and London, to win the contest at TT Liquor in Shoreditch last week (June 18).

In a hotly contested finale, Adrian’s winning cocktail, Hallowed Calling, a mix of Shetland Reel Original Gin, sherry, cordial and Darjeeling tea, impressed judges while meeting the criteria of being original in flavour and having an association to the Shetland Islands.

The Orchid mixologist will now travel to Unst, Shetland, to collaborate with the Shetland Distillery Company’s master distiller Stuart Nickerson on a new gin, which is expected to be released for Easter 2019.

Adrian said: “I can’t wait to get up to Unst and meet the team, see the distillery and get to work.

“Shetland Reel make some of the best gins I’ve tasted, so this is an incredible opportunity for me, and there’s a lot I can learn from Stuart.”

The timing of Adrian’s trip means he will visit Shetland during the month’s Taste of Shetland 2018 festival, which celebrates the island’s best produce.

Another Scottish-based bartender, Bettina Kovacs of The Apothecary in Edinburgh, was named as runner up.


The winning serve – Hallowed Calling

35ml Shetland Reel Original Gin

10ml sherry

25ml green apple and raspberry cordial

10ml Darjeeling tea


Method: stir and strain the ingredients into a coup glass. Garnish with a mint leaf.