Andy Gem­mell’s Drinks Cabi­net

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - DRINK - Ed­in­burgh Gin Dis­tillery 1a Rut­land Place Ed­in­burgh

History: In­spired by the city’s gin mak­ing her­itage, the Ed­in­burgh Gin brand was launched back in 2010 by the Spencer­field Spirit Com­pany. As the brand grew, the com­pany wanted to give its loyal fol­low­ers and the gen­eral pub­lic a more in­ter­ac­tive way of un­der­stand­ing how their gin is cre­ated. In 2014 they opened a venue in the base­ment of what was for­merly oc­cu­pied by night­club The One Be­low, at The Rut­land Ho­tel. It com­bined a dis­tillery, gin bar and a vis­i­tor cen­tre. Dur­ing the day the space is used as the gin ex­pe­ri­ence and at night you can pop back in and en­joy a cock­tail or two. The gin: As well as their main brand, Ed­in­burgh Gin, the com­pany also have dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions such as the Sea­side Gin, Christ­mas Gin and Can­non­ball Gin, which was in­spired by Ed­in­burgh’s rich naval her­itage of can­nons and the fa­mous one o’clock gun. There is also a range of gin liqueurs, which have been hugely pop­u­lar ad­di­tions to their range.

Favourite tip­ple: I like to taste my gin when I mix it, so the Can­non­ball Gin is my choice with its spicy notes and strong cit­rus pro­file; not to men­tion its strength of 57.2 per cent ABV, which makes sure it packs a punch. The high strength comes from the fact this is a “navy-strength gin”, which got its name from when sailors would test the al­co­hol strength by cre­at­ing a mix­ture of gun­pow­der and spirit and light­ing it. If it burned with a clear flame this was “proof” that the spirit was of the right strength. If it didn’t light it was be­low the re­quired strength and would be re­jected. To be classed as a navy gin, the strength must be 57 per cent ABV or higher.

Why visit? The fact that this is slap bang in the city cen­tre is a mas­sive plus to get more peo­ple to ex­pe­ri­ence how gin is made. Com­bine that with its lo­ca­tion in a work­ing bar, and it’s even bet­ter. A wide range of ser­vices is on of­fer, including tours of the dis­tillery, tast­ings and even get­ting to cre­ate your own gin.

They are open seven days a week, from 9.45am to 4.45pm, though I’m told it’s worth book­ing ahead to en­sure avail­abil­ity. As well as this mi­cro-dis­tillery, the com­pany also make their gin in a new dis­tillery at a for­mer bis­cuit fac­tory in Leith. Built to in­crease the pro­duc­tion of the gin, it is un­for­tu­nately not yet open to the pub­lic.

Interesting fact: The Spencer­field Spirit Com­pany was set up by for­mer mar­ket­ing direc­tor of Glen­morangie, and whisky afi­cionado, Alex Ni­col. He and his wife Jane have been ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing a qual­ity niche alternative to the more con­ven­tional main­stream brands. While launch­ing whiskies such as Pig Nose and Sheep Dip brands, they had also wanted to cre­ate a gin for Scot­land’s cap­i­tal. In 2010 this be­came a re­al­ity and Ed­in­burgh Gin quickly be­came the gin of choice not only in Ed­in­burgh but across the world. In 2016 the brand was sold to Ian Ma­cleod Dis­tillers, an­other Scottish-based whisky com­pany. Fol­low me on Twit­ter @andy­drink or on Face­book

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