For parents of some school children in Scotland, the summer holidays are over and the kids are back in the classroom – although parents in other parts of the country have to wait a wee while longer.
What are the mums and dads going to do with all that spare time? Well, if you’re looking to fill a few hours of your day, why not think about heading back to school yourself? Gin school that is (yes, that’s more like it!).
Around Scotland, gin producers are opening their doors to educate the gin-loving public on the science and art behind the gin-making process, and we can confirm that a day at gin school is a highly rewarding experience.
Take a look at our pick of the gin schools in Scotland you can attend:
Starting in the heart of Glasgow’s The Barras, The Crossbill Gin School is run under the watchful eye of their award-winning distiller and founder, Jonathan Engels. During your time there, you will test and select your own botanical mix, create a botanical basket, then distil
your very own gin recipe in a miniature copper pot still. Finally, you’ll seal your bottle and create a bespoke label with a name you choose for it.
Having attended this gin school, The Scottish Gin Society can highly recommend it but don’t just take our word for it. It has featured recently in the NY Times ‘Top 52 places to go in 2018’ as well as The National Geographic Traveller magazine selected it as one of “35 best Wild Weekends in the UK”.
This ever-popular gin experience has had to add extra dates due to demand, so make sure you book your place early – you can find booking details here.
Heading to Fife and Kingsbarns Distillery, home to Darnley’s Gin. The team there have added a ‘Distil Your Own’ experience to the tour offering, inviting visitors to Darnley’s Gin School to create their own recipe from a selection of botanicals.
During your class, you will distil a 70cl bottle of your own bespoke gin in a mini copper still to take home.
You’ll enjoy a welcome drink and introduction to the art of gin-making before you get to explore the range of botanicals for your recipe.
While your gin is distilling, you’ll sample the Darnley’s Gin range and have a tour of the distillery, before bottling and labelling your creation.
“Distil Your Own” at Darnley’s Gin School lasts approximately 2.5 hours and is held weekly on Friday at 3pm and Saturday at 11am. The experience can accommodate 6 people and private group bookings are available.
Further north, in the scenic grounds of the Loch Leven Hotel in North Ballachulish, Scottish Highlands, Pixel Spirits distillery create Devil’s Staircase Highland Spiced Gin and now offer visitors the chance to learn from their gin-making experience.
Whatever your knowledge of gin, the Pixel team will create an experience that you’ll love. You will learn all about the key botanicals and learn to select and blend them into a completely unique expression that will be yours to take home and share.
The 4-hour experience includes a welcome G&T and your bespoke 70cl gin creation, with a personalised label.
The experience costs £89 pp and you can book a place here.
Hidden in the heart of the capital city’s west end, you will find the home of Edinburgh Gin, and here you can take part in what has been called “the definitive Edinburgh Gin Experience”.
For part of your day there, you will learn about gin’s fascinating history and the distilling process, and also, of course, turn your hand to creating your own gin.
Using the miniature copper stills and a range of botanicals from their Head Distiller, you have the chance to craft a gin recipe to your taste, produce and bottle it and take it home. While you’re there you’ll also get to sample the great range of Edinburgh Gins for inspiration. To find out more and book a 3-hour experience for £100, click here.
Cairngorms (near Fort William)
Going a step further than just creating your gin, at the Daffy’s Gin School, you can design your flavour profile, and forage for your
botanicals in the beautiful land around Strathmashie Distillery, in The Cairngorms National Park.
You will then take your harvest and create your ultimate gin recipe, enjoy a G&T in the distillery bar, and take home 3 mini bottles of your gin.
For the more adventurous, foraging trips by quad bike, 4×4 or paddle boards are available: Take a look at the options on their website.
Gin lovers and golf lovers will be right at home at Blendworks, the gin school offered by Eden Mill. Located in the historically beautiful Rusacks Hotel, St. Andrews, and overlooking the iconic 18th hole of the Old Course, they have created a classroom dedicated to flavour where they run their gin blending masterclass. Described as “The perfect day out, break from the golf or thoughtful gift.” The Blendworks experience will educate you on the history and science of gin, allowing you to discover your ultimate flavour profile and taking you step-by-step through the process.
You will come away with a gift pack containing your gin, two branded glasses, your Blendworks notebook with your tasting notes, and fantastic memories. Find out more and book your place here.
An exciting collaboration between Twin Rivers Distillery and The Inverurie Gin Club, The School of Gin in Banchory promises visitors a full day of learning the history and process of gin-making, including the opportunity to create your own. Your exact recipe will be stored in their vault, so you can re-order a bottle at any time in the future!
To find out more about this experience, visit their website.
What an amazing selection! So if you’re ready to take your love of gin to the next level and create your own, we hope this has given you some inspiration. Yes, this will be an education, but one thing’s for sure: the ‘homework’ you’ll bring home with you will be far more enjoyable than any you’ve had before!
Many of the gin schools offer group experiences, ideal for a special occasion and gift vouchers, sure to be appreciated by the gin-lover in your life.