Robert Burns, 1787
On Saturday 25th January, people throughout Scotland and across the world will be celebrating the Bard’s birthday. Burns Night is an opportunity to reflect on the genius of Rabbie Burns, get together with friends, or simply enjoy some great Scottish fayre.
From his work, we know that Mr Burns was partial to a drink or two, and while the accepted tipple for Burns Night is a dram of Scottish malt, we’re of the belief that a great Scottish Gin would do just as well.
So, whether you’re planning a full Burns supper, a plate of haggis or are simply just raising a glass in his memory, here are a few suggestions for Scottish Gins we’d recommend for your Burns night toast.
No real Burn’s Night is complete without the traditional “Toast to the Lassies” at the end of the meal. And this wee dram has been designed as a drink for the lassies. It features bilberry leaves, strawberry leaves, heather tops, speedwell and wild thyme, ingredients found in the Moorland tea recipe.
Martin Murray, founder of Rock Rose Gin says
“The gin is inspired by the Moorland tea that Robert Burns is reputed to have enjoyed and is made to a unique recipe designed in-house.”
This award-winning gin would make an excellent gift to your Burns night host, and the 2020 batch is now available, but it has sold out in previous years, so best be quick. You can buy a bottle here.
Hills & Harbour Gin
The beautiful surroundings of Dumfries and Galloway are where Robert Burns made his home and produced many of his greatest works. This stunning area of Scotland is also home to the award-winning Crafty Distillery, where they proudly distil Hills & Harbour Gin that just bagged the ‘Best Scottish London Dry Gin’ at the recent World Gin Awards.
The Crafty team are constantly inspired by the nature and coastline of Galloway, where they forage for Noble Fir needles & Bladderwrack Seaweed that are distilled along with 9 other botanicals to create this smooth and vibrant gin. They say
Galloway is our home and a special corner of Scotland. Surrounded by forests and unspoilt coastlines, it’s the perfect larder for our ingredients.
So if you’re looking for a true taste of Bard country for your celebrations, you can order a bottle of the multi-award-winning Hills & Harbour, here.
1881 Subtly Smoked Gin
A nice alternative to the traditional whisky dram, the Subtly Smoked gin from Peebles Hydro is packed with botanicals like Grains of Paradise and Cardamom, then smoked using oak and birchwood chips for a delicious smoked flavour.
It’s perfect for sipping with friends, aprticularly around a roaring fire! You can order your bottle from their website.
If you’re looking for a bit of variety of flavour to go with your haggis and clootie dumpling, take a look at the range of gins and liqueurs produced in Dumfries and Galloway by Solway Spirits.
You can choose from dry or classic Scottish Gin, or one of a range of 11 infusions.
For stockists, check out their website.
Cask aged gins
If you’re looking for something more traditional for your Burns night toast, you might want to try a cask-aged gin. Think of these as a whisky/gin hybrid, with the botanical flavours of gin, but the amber hues and traditional woody notes of a whisky. They’re great for sipping neat, or you can try them in a cocktail.
Here is a selection to choose from:
Firkin Oak Aged Gin
Named ‘Best Matured Gin in Scotland’ at the recent World Gin Awards, Firkin Gin from Gleann Mór is a great compromise if you can’t decide between gin or whisky! It’s distilled using botanicals including juniper, coriander seed, angelica root and orris root, and aged in American oak casks before being bottled at 46% ABV. You can buy it here.
Pickering’s Islay Oak Aged Gin
Is it a whisky? Is it a gin? It’s Pickering’s Oak Aged Gin – gin distilled in the usual way, then aged (finished) in a Scotch whisky cask. In this case, a whisky cask from the Islay region.. Buy here.
Eden Mill Oak Gin
As whisky and gin distillers as well as a brewery, we’re not surprised by this delicious oak cask-aged gin from Eden Mill in St. Andrews. After distillation, the gin is rested in oak casks for a few weeks to allow it to take on the flavours and textures of the cask
The result is a rich oak spice gin with notes of caramel, vanilla, and a touch of fudge, the Eden Mill Oak gin delivers a warm finish as lovely as a sipping gin or whisky; rich oak spice and brown honey toast finishing on sweet caramel, vanilla and sugarcane. A fantastic gin for a toast – buy yourself one of these beautiful bottles here.
Makar Oak-Aged Gin
Makar Oak Aged Gin is an award-winning cask matured variant of the MAKAR Original Gin. Matured in tailor-made virgin oak wood casks over 10 weeks, Makar Oak Aged Gin promises incredible colour, flavour and a unique smoothness derived from its maturation process. You can buy a bottle here.
Whatever region or flavour you choose, we hope that you enjoy your Burns Night in good spirits and with good company.
Please drink gin responsibly. The Scottish Gin Society receives no payment of any kind for featuring brands within our published posts.