How a sauce for scallops inspired a new gin

This week, we had the pleasure of meeting with Tim Butler, the owner of St Andrews Gin Co, in his latest venture: St Andrews Brewing Co., Potterow, Edinburgh.

Tim has spent the last 25 years in the restaurant business, and more recently the brewing one. As an early supporter of Scottish gin, which has featured on his shelves for years, He has an ever-changing selection available.

Tim is an experienced sommelier with extensive knowledge spanning a generation, and he wanted to create a gin that could be savoured with food, or as the ideal aperitif. So, he and Tony Reeman-Clark of Strathearn Distillery, have created a range of triple distilled gin.

After 6 months of development and lots of tasting, the gins were launched in November 2017, with a beautiful label design that features many of St Andrews’ landmarks.

But…where do the scallops come in? Craig Millar, Tim’s business partner and Head Chef at the Seafood Restaurant in St Andrews created a sauce years ago to complement a scallops dish – the sauce was made from orange, cardamom and vanilla. This balance of flavours stayed in the back of Tim’s mind and is the inspiration for the first of the 3 Scottish gins in the range.

The gins are:

Orange, Cardamom and Tonka Bean– (the vanilla in the scallop recipe was replaced by Tonka bean, as it made the gin cloudy)

Notes – a fun and complex character. A nose of vanilla, neat it is all about the Seville orange, adding tonic releases the cardamom spice; Cocktails – makes a crazy Negroni;

Perfect pour – a slice of orange peel and a few cardamom pods.

Lemongrass and Ginger – this has been made to be savoured neat, similar to Sake, and is the ideal drink to have with seafood and fish.

Notes – a vibrant gin with a subtleness of sweet eastern spices, which is great served neat over ice alongside sashimi and sushi dishes; Cocktails – creates a brilliant Soho cocktail;

Perfect pour – a slice of ginger root or even a stick of lemongrass.

Pink Grapefruit –  a similar style to Tanqueray 10.

Notes – a clean, zesty gin with the tiniest of clove spice released when tonic added; Cocktails – perfect for a clean gin martini;

Perfect pour – with grapefruit peel or slice.

I was lucky enough to taste all 3, and choosing a favourite is a bit like choosing a favourite child!  But for me and my palate, the Lemongrass and Ginger came out on top, especially neat.

The St Andrews Gin Co range is available to buy at selected retailers and online at


Alison Higgins

Brand Ambassadon, The Scottish Gin Society

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