Gin is having a bit of a moment. I mean, it’s a moment that has already lasted a good couple of years, but with the recent news of a gin spa opening here in Glasgow, it’s one that shows no signs of ending soon. And yet, for all the different mixes of botanicals, garnishes and tonic mixers, I would argue that gin remains a misunderstood spirit.
I know people who would drink just about anything, but who won’t touch gin. They argue it tastes medicinal; that it makes you depressed. It’s not seen as a particularly versatile drink.
But, you know me: I’ll happily make a cocktail out of anything.
Based in an old farm bothy in the Angus glens, The Gin Bothy is an independent Scottish brand which takes its inspiration from seasonal produce. Founder Kim Cameron describes herself as “the accidental gin maker”, as she first started producing the stuff with leftover berry juice from her original line of jams.
Kim still makes jam – her Merry Berry and Raspberry and Gin jams are made with fruit left over from the infusion process – which both minimises waste (hurrah for sustainability!) and gives the business the feel of something that is both homely and really innovative. Fruit fusion gin liquors are hardly unique these days, but Kim’s focus on local, seasonal produce really makes her stand out: her “gin year” cycles from raspberries through to blueberries, cherries, rhubarb, late autumn raspberries and sloe, while her chilli gin is infused with fresh chillies from Scotland’s first chilli farm in Fife.
The Gin Bothy tasting selection* (£30) is an ideal Christmas gift for adventurous gin lovers – so ideal, in fact, that it looks as though it might be sold out. The set includes 5cl miniatures of some of Kim’s best-selling gins and infused gin liquors: a full-strength original; raspberry, rhubarb and their one-of-a-kind amaretto 20% proof liquors; and their innovative 37.5% mulled infused gin – developed, says Kim, as a festive warming drink for people who don’t like wine (I love this lady).
I’ve come up with some hot and cold cocktail recipes using The Gin Bothy gins to get your Christmas parties started. Fancy playing along at home?
I’m calling this one the Raspberry and Rosemary Fizzer. Made with a double measure of delicious The Gin Bothy raspberry, with a splash of lemon and a hint of rosemary to cut through the sweetness, this is a super-tasty and drinkable cocktail – if I do say so myself.
You will need:
5cl The Gin Bothy raspberry liquor
Fever Tree elderflower tonic water
A sprig of fresh rosemary
A handful of raspberries
I liked this in my favourite short tumbler, but it would work just as well as a long drink. Ice first, of course; then lightly bruise the rosemary and add a generous sprig to your glass. Drop in your raspberries (at least five – you want them to soak up all that goodness so you can munch on them afterwards). Pour in The Gin Bothy raspberry, squeeze in a good dash of fresh lemon juice to taste then top up with the tonic. And make sure to give it all a good stir.
Now, I do like a wee mulled wine – it’s the only way I can drink wine – but a mulled gin, infused with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg? Count me in. My Mulled Gin Toddy is a twist on the traditional winter soother, with some additional citrussy and spicy notes.
You will need:
5cl The Gin Bothy Mulled Infused Gin
Three cardamom pods
One cinnamon stick
Honey to taste
Lightly bruise three cardamom pods, and add to a heatproof glass. Pour over a generous measure of The Gin Bothy Mulled Infused Gin. Squeeze in the juice of an orange (though save yourself a slice first to garnish, eh?). Add a cinnamon stick, and a big ol’ spoonful of honey. Pour over hot water and give the drink a good stir. Garnish with your leftover orange slice, studded with a couple of cloves if you want to get properly festive – unless your local Tesco is similarly short on cloves. Could be worse, last year it was cinnamon sticks.
The added spices mean this drink will still pack a comforting punch whatever gin you use – but, in those few weeks that mulling is mandatory, I recommend making it special.
Tempted? You can buy The Gin Bothy products via their own website (with free delivery!), or from Not On The High Street. Sadly neither is selling the gingerbread gin they keep sharing on social media… yet.
This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own and unbiased.