Updated: Dec 6, 2018
The thought of making our gin grew from a tongue in cheek conversation between us whilst at The Wee G&T Festival in Perth back in 2016. We initially passed it off, but the seed had been planted and over the following months we would keep coming back to the idea of creating our own brand. The universe was looking out for us and kept leaving us signs, eventually we stopped toying with the idea and decided to just go for it.
By this point we had been flavour profiling for a few months at home by compounding vodka, not with any real intention of making a commercial product but more to come up with a recipe that suited both our palates. It was at this time when we booked the Gin School with Crossbill Highland Distilling in Glasgow. We were still unsure at this point if we could actually make it work, but in an effort to motivate ourselves we registered the business with Companies House.
We attended the Gin School afternoon at Crossbill Highland Distilling the following month, and by the time we left we knew we were embarking on an exciting journey and that this was the right choice. We had an amazing afternoon learning how to make gin on the desktop copper stills and left with our first bottle of distilled gin, which after spending several months compounding was a big thing for us. We have been fans of Crossbill Gin for a couple of years by this time after seeing them on Shed of the Year when they were still up in Inshriach near Aviemore. The Gin School is run by Jonathan Engels at the Crossbill Distillery at the BAaD in Glasgow and worth checking out if this is something you are interested in doing.
The day after attending Gin School we went for a distillery tour at Eden Mill in Guardbridge. We had vouchers to use that were expiring soon and we wanted to visit before they moved to their new site. The tour was a great experience and the sampling afterwards was delightful. We sat at home later that evening discussing our future and it was clear that we both wanted this, the activities of the past two days had reaffirmed this.
The following couple of months were then spent meeting and working with the individuals who would go on to help shape our first product. We spent time with our contract distiller flavour profiling, our graphic designer branding and our bottle & label reps choosing bottles, closures and label stocks.
Last month was World Gin Day and Negroni week so we had to celebrate both. The Negroni is one of those cocktails that you either love or hate, James loves it, Deborah not so much! The celebration of the of the Negroni cocktail, known affectionately as Negroni Week is presented by Imbibe Magazine and Campari. This celebration encourages bars & venues to participate, for every Negroni purchased in participating venues throughout the week a donation is made to one of the official charity partners. We went out as a team in Dundee and celebrated both World Gin Day and Negroni week, and yes, James did participate by purchasing a few Negronis.
We have also been making our own Negronis using the gin sample we received from our distiller and it tasted amazing. Here's how we made it.
Ingredients: 25ml Mackintosh Gin 25ml Campari 25ml Sweet Vermouth
Garnish: Orange Wedges
Glass: Old Fashioned
Method: Pour the Gin, Campari and Vermouth directly onto a large ice cube in an old fashioned glass and stir. Add the garnish and enjoy!
This method creates a debate between the team as the younger members when they make this like to mix the ingredients in an ice filled cocktail glass before straining into the old fashioned glass, both ways work well!
It has been a lot of fun doing our research and getting to this point, but now it's getting very real with HMRC interviews, alcohol training and more regulatory boxes to tick. We anticipate the next couple of months being very busy as we push on to launch our gin, hopefully before the year end!