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  • Writer's pictureMcWhat

Sipping at the Scottish Gin Festival

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

At the weekend I was lucky enough to be gifted not one, but two tickets to the annual Scottish Gin Festival by the One4Events team (thanks again guys!).

If you’ve met me, you’ll know I bloody love my gin so I was super excited, not only for the copious amounts of gin – but also to have the opportunity to head along to such a historic building within Glasgow.

With a 12pm kick-off, we decided to head in early enough to take full advantage as we figured that it would probably get busier as the day went on. I gave my second ticket to my husband with the promise that we’d get to try plenty of freebies and that if he didn’t sulk I’d buy him something to stock up our drinks cabinet.

I’ve been in the Trades Hall once before for a Vegan Market, this event was over a smaller space with around a dozen different gin brands. Also exhibiting was the lovely Laura from Glasglow Girls Club, Feelin’ Tubby and Fake Bake so there was some respite from the boozy stands, and with many of them having other spirits on offer there was something for everyone.

We’d be here forever if I was to take you through every flavour and brand we sampled, so I thought I’d just share some of my highlights!

The first thing we tried wasn’t actually a gin! As the first brand we came across, we were instantly taken with Loch Fyne’s Chocolate & Orange Liqueur. With a definite hint of jaffa cake, the sweetness in this whisky-based liqueur stops any harsh elements coming through and makes it a terrifyingly easy drink. We may or may not have popped back for another later on…

We did have a taste of their Botanical Gin too, this wasn’t quite as exciting but still lovely nevertheless – the key elements going into this are sea buckthorn and milk thistle.

The next brand we made a beeline for was Dundee Gin Co. I was initially drawn to them by their promo which parodied my favourite Dundonian;

“Your Gin, Our Gin, A’body’s Gin!”

Their Marmalade gin liqueur made me feel like an oversized Paddington Bear, but was so fruity and light. The first gin to use marmalade in it’s production – I was reluctant to leave but the table was being crowded by others wanting to get in on the action. They did have excellent stag-head pourers for their bottles but had unfortunately sold out, so I did order one of these when I got home!

Our next port of call was with Spirit O' Clyde. With the brand originating from Clydebank I know this wasn’t one I could miss. It’s always exciting to see something familiar when it’s least expected, and with the bottle design being very influenced by Clydebank history I had to stop for a gab. Simon and I first had a try of the Ar Baile Tropical Gin, infused with pineapple and coconut. This was a beautiful gin, very refreshing and also easy to drink at that. The suggested serve for this includes a slice of lime and lemonade – it’s absolutely a summer drink, but I’m not one to confine tastes to specific seasons.

With this in mind, I tried my first spiced gin and liked it a lot more than I first expected. Devil’s Staircase from the Pixel Spirits Distillery drew me in with the little devil on the front of the bottle – I thought he was super cute and I had to have it! A small batch gin from the Highlands, it has the key flavours of citrus, cardamom and nutmeg – definitely not one I’d usually go for. With their suggested serve of ginger ale, we had a small sip and both agreed immediately how great it was! So much so that we bought ourselves a small bottle of it and a bottle of Drookit Piper.

Oddly enough, we both had the same favourite gin of the day.

McLean’s Gin, started from inside a tenement flat in the South of Glasgow and now based in Strathaven, planted its roots in a romantic tale – and I’m a sucker for those!

Their newest gin, Something Blue was created as a wedding gift from owner Colin to his wife Jessica, and while originally intended to be a limited run, overwhelming demand meant that they brought it back for good to join their range for good.

While something blue is actually blue, with the addition of tonic to the spirit turns it pink, so again I was totally sold. Literally.

Having the opportunity to chat to the couple in the driving seat was great as we were able to hear their tale first hand - as we left the sweat-fest of Trades Hall and headed to the pub we felt warm and fuzzy from feeling the love.

Or maybe it was just all the gin.


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