The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

The latitude seemstobe right as duo plot more gin success 57° Skye has big plans for future


The idea of drinking whisky with a tonic or mixer verges on blasphemy for most Scots. When it comes to gin though, it’s not often we ask for it neat. That’s something the team at 57° Skye earth + sea want to change.

“The goal is that it’s something you can drink on its own as a dram in itself – the term they use these days is a sipping gin,” says head distiller Seumas Gorman.

To make sure their gin is something people want to drink neat, quality local ingredient­s are key. “Obviously we’ve got ingredient­s in there that would be quite difficult to find on Skye like lemon and pepper, but we use as much as we can from here,” added Seumas.

“We forage rowan berries, heather, seaweed, things like that, so we get as much of the island into the bottle as possible. We have 17 botanicals altogether so it’s quite complex, and around a third of them are from Skye.

“It’s pretty juniper forward with quite a bit of citrus and peppery notes from the seaweed. We try and encourage people not to put too much tonic in it so they can taste those local ingredient­s. It’s about enjoying that pure flavour rather than diluting it.”

Seumas is one half of team at 57° Skye earth + sea. The other is founder and celebrated Gaelic musician Séamus Ó Baoighill. The pair grew

Seamus Gorman, left, and Séamus Ó Baoighill.

up in the same part of Skye, but never imagined they would work together one day.

Séamus said: “After going to university in Ireland I was keen to create a business that would allow me to stay on Skye because a lot of young people move away. I came back at the start of 2020, not the ideal time to be starting a business, but I had a lot of time to think.

“I had a couple of retail outlets – when I say that I mean a tiny shed in Kyle of Lochalsh and a little shop in Plockton – that did niche things like coffee and cake but I wanted to add something extra. I knew Seumas was keen on distilling so the idea for the gin came from there.”

Starting small gave the duo a good chance to trial and error the gin, ultimately leading to the release of a London Dry in November 2022 that won a Gold Outstandin­g Award at the Internatio­nal Wine and Spirit Competitio­n earlier this year.

Alongside their best-selling sprit, 57° Skye earth + sea makes a cask finished variety. And if you go along to a tasting at their Broadford distillery, you never know what new concoction­s you might get to try too.

“We are always surrounded by all these demijohns filled with experiment­al gins,” said Séamus.

“Our retail outlets are about giving people an experience. They can try things from these demijohns and that is a really important part of our business too. We try to keep experiment­ing so we always have different versions of 57 and new spirits we are working on.

“Playing around with different casks is fun, then after you do it enough times you build up a library of flavours that you can keep going back to.”

Their gins are sold all over the world, but the Isle of Skye remains at the heart of everything Séamus and Seumas do.

“That is really important to us since we are both from Skye,” said Séamus. 57 degrees is the latitude of the island on the map so that’s where the name came from.

We wanted to create a product

that was as much from Skye as we could. That even comes down to the bottling, we do all that ourselves.”

Their dedication to keeping things local can pose problems for 57° Skye earth + sea though, particular­ly when it comes to expansion. However, Séamus and Seumas have big dreams about fixing that.

“It does stunt our growth a bit because we often have to say no to big orders as we don’t have enough staff,” admitted Séamus.

“But we agreed when we set out that we wanted to do it all ourselves. Part of the next steps are looking to increase staff capacity, especially if we want to continue creating everything as much as possible from Skye. There is a lack of accommodat­ion, which you need to increase staff, so one of our plans is using a site just a few steps down the road from our Broadford distillery where we could provide that. It used to be the Corry distillery, so it’s an exciting prospect for us. We have done a lot with gin but we are looking forward to whisky and more future plans.”

You’ll need

► 25ml gin ► 25ml Campari ► 25ml Cocchi

sweet vermouth

You’ll need

► 50ml gin ► 25ml sweet

vermouth ► 1tsp maraschino liqueur

► 2 drops orange



1. Add all ingredient­s into a glass with ice.

2. Stir well.

3. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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