Scottish Gin

The beautiful Bunessan Bay on the Isle of Mull, just one of the islands on our Love Island Route.

Love Island Love Island is the perfect Scottish Gin Holiday for lovers of Scottish Gin. Featuring some of Scotland’s less visited coastal locations, these islands have a powerful charm to instantly possess their visitors.  Like a fickle reality-show contestant, some give you their stormy side for days at a time, but when their sun comes out, their beauty is dazzling. You fall deeply in love, and you know it’s gonna last a lifetime!

There are 700 or so Scottish islands to love, but just 89 with people thrown in.  The remainder have other attractive residents though.  Some permanent, some just passing through.  These islands were formed from ancient rocks, in places over a billion years old, others from volcanoes. Explore high mountain contours and low-lying sandy grasslands, there really is somewhere for everyone.  Through history they’ve been woo’ed by Celts and Vikings, echoed in the place names and the surviving castles. Much evidence of some turbulent past relationships.

These days a more sociable culture has arrived on these gorgeous shores: The Gin Makers.  And so, while you don’t need any better reasons to introduce yourself than the islands themselves, you now have the spirit to turn your day dreams into reality, and start seriously loving these islands! Plan your Love Island Scottish Gin Holiday with Ginspired Scotland.

Oban to Colonsay – Wednesday

This tour starts and ends in Oban, on a Wednesday! That might sound very precise, but to make the most of the ferry timetables, keep costs down, and spend less time travelling and more time enjoying yourself, that’s the best day to start. You may opt to drive there, and engage a driver for the remainder, or to self drive throughout. Many islands have car hire available if you’re prepared to travel as foot passengers on the ferries. The lovely folk at Colonsay Gin will even give you a lift to explore other parts of the island, if they’re available!

There’s an afternoon Caledonian McBrayne ferry from Oban out to the unspoilt island of Colonsay. Just over 2 hours cruising some of Scotland’s most beautiful seaways. Past lovely Kerrera, then following the south side of Mull out into open water and then Colonsay itself. What a way to begin your holiday, on an island with more sunshine hours than anywhere else in Scotland!

Accommodation here ranges from self catering cottages, a hostel, or the elegant Colonsay hotel perched just above the harbour at Scalasaig. Be sure to order one of the island gins at the bar.

Colonsay – Thursday & Friday

Kiloran Beach

Colonsay has delights aplenty, from the debate over whether Balnahard or Kiloran beach is more beautiful, to knowing which of the two island gins you should try first! Choices, choices to make. Colonsay Gin offers Gin Lovers Retreats on Friday and Saturdays, with accommodation and meals included. At other times they offer afternoon tours of their craft distillery, or more formal tasting sessions, perhaps featuring gins from their global collection, or a hand crafted selection of Scottish lovelies, according to your wishes. So book in for a Thursday tour unless you’re able to stay around.

Wild Island Gin ‘Distiller’s Cut’ is made right next to the ferry terminal and shop, and runs tours on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays, with tastings too. Don’t miss it!

Colonsay is home to seabird colonies, exotic plants which enjoy the mild climate, wild goats, a brewery and even an 18 hole golf course. So there’s something for everyone. Truly an island not to be missed!

Colonsay to Islay – Saturday

Leaving Colonsay on the Saturday evening ferry to Islay’s Port Askaig, you arrive nicely in time for a late dinner, or perhaps just a local gin nightcap. (Don’t miss this ferry, and book well in advance – the next one’s not until Wednesday!)

Accommodation? There’s such a wide range from the elegant Islay House, to self catering and camping.

One of our favourites is Glenegedale House with Fiona’s incredible home baking, but the island information website also has a great selection:

Islay – Sunday

Islay is often called the Queen of the Hebrides. You can easily fill a week or more here, but for this trip we just have 2 days. You can squeeze visits to the island’s two gin producers in one day though!

The Botanist tour at Bruichladdich begins at 1pm, and Nerabus Gin’s visitor Centre in the Square at Islay House is open between 12 noon and 4pm. For details and to book click on the pictures above.

Jura – Monday

Jura is a very visible presence from many parts of Islay, with it’s distinctive Paps or hills looking across the fast flowing sound to Port Askaig, Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain. It’s Islay’s little sister, but as little sisters often do, she has her own distinct personality.

On Jura, people number around 200, but there are well over 5000 red deer, so you are bound to come across them during your visit. The ferry from Port Askaig on Islay to Feolin on Jura runs daily every hour during the daytime, weather permitting.

From Feolin, there’s just one road, to Craighouse, the main village with the whisky distillery and the hotel, and onwards to Ardlussa and our destination – Lussa Gin. Lussa Gin was founded by three ladies, Claire, Alicia and Georgina who grow or forage all of the botanicals they use in Lussa gin right here on Jura. Their enterprise began in 2015, but recognition and awards soon followed and exports are now well established. Book your visit here

Not far beyond Ardlussa is Barnhill House, where George Orwell wrote 1984 in his later years. It’s ironic to think he wrote about Big Brother, when in such a remote spot the only beings watching him would have been the deer and eagles of Jura!

You’ll probably return to Islay to sleep as it’s an early ferry tomorrow, but enjoy lunch or a drink or two at The Jura Hotel while you’re there. 


Islay to Seil and Oban – Tuesday

The CalMac sailing from Port Ellen leaves at 945am, arriving 1205. Taking the ferries in this combination means you won’t cover the same route twice, giving you new sights around every headland. Landing at Kennacraig you head north to Oban. Rather than try to keep up with the whisky lorries or the speedy fish vans though, take some detours to the Crinan Canal, or up historic Kilmartin Glen, and make the most of your afternoon.

The Slate Isles – Tuesday

Before you return to Oban, take a small diversion across the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, that’s right, here you can cross the Atlantic by bridge! This bridge carries you across to Seil, the northernmost of the Slate Islands, or ‘The Islands that Roofed the World’. Slate was mined here for many years, possibly even in Viking times although the earliest recording is from the early 1500s. These slates were used in the construction of Castle Stalker in 1631, Cawdor Castle and Glasgow Cathedral too. Fascinatingly, the slate dimensions were referred to as Ladies, Countess, Duchess and Princess, in ascending order of size. I wonder why? There’s a Heritage Centre here and it’s well worth a visit. If you find the answer, perhaps you could let me know?

Our recommended accommodation tonight and tomorrow is the lovely Aspen Lodge, just outside Oban.

Oban – Wednesday

After enjoying a wonderful breakfast at Aspen Lodge explore the delights of this area for the day. Choose from cycling, boat trips, gardens, castles, a whisky distillery, shopping, a chocolatier, great seafood restaurants, horse riding, diving, walking or just wandering and people watching! There’s plenty to occupy you and it makes for a great excuse to relax and chill.

Don’t miss Oban Whisky and Fine Wine on Stafford Street, to see their selection of Scottish Gins while you’re in town.

Overnight again at Aspen Lodge.

Oban to Mull – Thursday

Mull – Another Love Island

Today’s destination is the beautiful island of Mull. From Oban, the short 40 minute sail to Craignure passes the strategic stronghold of Duart Castle, home to the Clan McLean for over 700 years. At Craignure, head north along the coast road to the island’s picturesque capital, Tobermory.


Tobermory Distillery is found at the southern end of town, and is open daily from 10am to 4pm, This distinctive gin is really worth getting to know, and their whisky’s pretty good too!

With a selection of pubs and restaurants, including the famous fish and chip van on the harbour, there are plenty of places to eat in colourful Tobermory. There’s a jeweller who still crafts intricate chains on the premises, craft shops, galleries and coffee houses, leave plenty of time to explore this charming Hebridean harbour town. You may choose to spend the night here in one of the variety of hotels or B&Bs, or to continue around the coastal roads to explore more of the island. Calgary Bay is a treat, but the narrow roads require patient drivers.

Next stop is at Tiroran, home to White Tail Gin. The direct route from Tobermory takes around one hour and it’s a gorgeous journey. Tiroran House, hotel, restaurant and self catering is beautifully situated, and even casual visitors can enjoy their coffee shop where the local gin can be sampled and purchased too.

Staffa – Friday

Whether you spent the night at Tiroran or Tobermory, we recommend you head to the south of the island today. At the very foot of Mull is Fionnphort and the ferry across to ‘The Cradle of Christianity’, Iona. But before you follow the crowds (and it does get very busy), consider taking the early boat out to visit Staffa?

Staffa’s caves (Fingal’s included) face east, so are best viewed in the morning light. You might even get there while the resident puffins are having their breakfast (April to late June), or spot a huge snoozing basking shark or minke whale along the way.

Time to pick up a lobster roll or crab sandwich from the kiosk on the quay – I hope it’s open during your visit, but it all depends on the catch!

Iona – Friday

Iona is a small island and you can’t take your car there, which makes it a very calm experience, even on busy days. The Abbey is beautiful and the sense of peace is pervasive, even if this type of spirit is not your preferred tipple.

Relatively new, and not yet produced on the island, Isle of Iona Gin contains some of Iona’s unique plants in it’s botanical range. Hopefully it won’t be long before you can include both types of spiritual experience in your visit. Yet another Island to Love!

A short walk takes you to Iona’s main sites before your ferry returns you to Mull.

You’ve the chance to set foot on 3 islands today. Why not top it off with a Castle on your way back to Oban on the late ferry? You have time to include Duart Castle or the lovely Castle at Torosay, built around 500 years later. Both are on your route back to the ferry at Craignure.

We have to finish somewhere, or just go around again!

It’s your final night! So spend it on Mull or in Oban. Your choice depending on your onward travel plans.

We hope you’ve loved our island itinerary, but do come back again, this has only been a journey of seven isles and seven (or eight) gins, and there are plenty more to savour!

Wherever your island exploring take you, be sure to check out our free Gincyclopedia Gin map to help plan your true love island adventure!

Click on the Bridge image to view the full 3 night itinerary with 7 local gins to explore in beautiful Moray Speyside.

Short version 3 night itinerary Moray Speyside
Travel Kindly Logo

#TravelKindlyScotland, was launched to encourage visitors to consider their impact on the planet when making their holiday plans. Allowing them to choose Travel Kindly accredited businesses as part of their trip.

2022 saw the first ever Ginspired Scotland Travel Kindly Awards. Scottish Businesses from around the regions were nominated for doing ‘their bit’ for the environment. Whether it was sustainable packaging, low food/drink miles, refillable gin bottles, greener ways to power their distilleries, we found that there was an abundance of business already taking care of our beautiful Scotland.

And The Winners Are…

The regional nominees went to a public vote and the winner was North Point Distillery. Based in Forss, Caithness the team at North Point Distillery have sustainability at the heart of everything they do.

“Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, and if each of us focus on small changes, we can absolutely have a big impact. All of our bottles are wildly crafted and made from recycled glass, our Distillery is powered by renewable energy, all of our products and bespoke packaging are plastic free, and that’s just the start of it!”. North Point Distillers

North Point Distillery is based in Forss just off the North Coast 500 route. Producers of Crosskirk Bay Gin, Pilot Rum and most recently Commando Spirit Scotch Whisky.

The team at North Point plan to be one of Scotland’s most sustainable distilleries and are doing everything they can to achieve this. Using environmentally-friendly equipment, powering the distillery with renewable energy, and ensuring the waste is environmentally disposed of. Their bottles are 100% recyclable and there is no single-use plastic components to be found anywhere in our spirit production.

The multi award winning distillery also won The Gin Guide Award 2022 as one of the most Sustainable, distilleries in the UK!

Community and the local area play an important role in their story too. With the heritage of Caithness and the Story of the Pilots that became the inspiration for their North Point Pilot Rum, they keep the history alive.  Wanting to honour that history, heritage and world-renowned distilling practices of the Scottish Highlands, North Point Distillers are becoming a brand that really cares about Scotland.

And we love that about them.

Read about Clara’s amazing trip to the Isle of Cumbrae Distillers. Sailing with Flamingo Yacht Charters across the Firth of Clyde heading for Millport Bay. Yachts, Gin and Scotland, sound like the perfect mix.

The day started early at 6.30am as we travelled by train to Largs Yacht Haven, where we were going to be sailing for the day. While the yacht haven was easily accessible by car, neither of us wanted to miss out on the opportunity to try some amazing Gins later in the day! The morning train journey provided plenty of beautiful scenery as we travelled along the Scottish coast under clear blue skies. Despite what people may say, Scotland is known to treat its residents to great weather every once in a while!

Largs Yacht Haven

Upon our arrival at Largs Yacht Haven we were met by deckhand Hugh, who accompanied us onto the yacht to meet our Skipper, Pete. We were immediately offered cups of tea and coffee as we accustomed ourselves to the yacht, which had 4 bedrooms and could fit up to 10 people.

Elliot ready to go sailing

Kylie The Dolphin

After this, we set sail towards the Isle of Cumbrae for the Gin-tasting. The calm waves ensured an enjoyable sail. We took this opportunity to ask the crew all of our questions about sailing and their experiences. We were rewarded with their vast knowledge of the Isle of Cumbrae and its surroundings. Peter told us about Kylie the dolphin, often spotted near the Isle of Cumbrae. Kylie adapted her vocal sounds to that of the local porpoise population after being split from his group years ago. Sadly, Kylie didn’t pay us a visit this time. However, we did manage to spot a seal jumping in and out of the water around our yacht during our lunch break! 

After sailing for about 2 hours, we anchored and were brought onto shore in a small motorboat. This was one of my favourite parts of the day as we powered through the water. Waterproofs (provided onboard by Flamingo Yachts) are definitely recommended as you are certain to get wet!  

Once on shore, we walked to the Isle of Cumbrae Distillers. Easily visible along the shore-front and only a 2-minute walk from where we were ferried ashore. The Isle of Cumbrae was bustling with locals and tourists, and had many shops and visitor attractions. These are definitely worth a visit if you decide to plan your trip around the area.  

As we arrived at the Distillery, we were greeted by Philippa. She immediately prepared us a delicious Gin and Tonic in the unique Isle of Cumbrae glass. Philippa explained why this glass was perfect for a G&T as it ensures that the Gin is not overpowered by tonic. We were delighted to be gifted one of the glasses at the end of the tasting in our very own “Nostalgin” goodie-bag. Philippa then began a short talk on the history of Gin and it’s rise to success in Scotland over the years.

Crowd Funding Success

However, the story which I found the most interesting was that of the five women who founded Nostalgin; developing from an idea conceived after a night at the town hall bingo to crowdfunding a staggering £22,000 to turn their Gin into a reality. It was an empowering story and included hilarious anecdotes of challenges along the way as the women mastered the nuances of Gin distillery. Philippa let us try three different Gins and even gave us a sneak peak of their newest Gin due to be released in the Summer of 2022.

Back on the yacht, we enjoyed a delicious lunch. I was particularly impressed by the dessert selection which included all types of sweet treats. After lunch it was time to continue sailing. We sailed smoothly and managed to see the Isle of Arran and parts of Bute, before returning to the shore. It is no exaggeration to say that myself and Elliot definitely did not want this beautiful day to end. Thanks again to Flamingo Yacht Charters and the Isle of Cumbrae Distillers. 

Lunch out at sea😍

Click to see the full YouTube video of the trip👉

Clara Wilson<br>
Clara Wilson

Clara Wilson recently spent some time as part of the Ginspired Scotland team, helping us with some language translation projects.  We asked her to join one of Flamingo Yacht Charter’s new day trips to the Isle of Cumbrae, and specifically to visit Isle of Cumbrae Gin Distillery!  We hope you enjoy her blog as much as she clearly enjoyed researching it!

It’s easy to believe that we shape our own destiny and draw our own pathway through life, yet might we be wrong? Does history influence us more than we think? So the question is: What did history ever do for us?

We may not choose to study the past, but we cannot remove ourselves from it’s impact on our day to day existence, can we?

Scotland’s North East is positively dripping in history. It’s a region favoured by the early Kings and the powerful bishopric. There are battlefields which hosted history-changing encounters and before all of that, a host of mysterious pagan worship sites to boot. Our lifetimes are tiny flashes of time in relative terms, and to ignore the learnings from those who came before us, may be a mistake.

Culloden Battlefield

Leonardo Da Vinci once said “It had long come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” And isn’t that still so true today? We have the do-ers, those who spot opportunities and dive right in. And then there’s everyone else.

We may not all be go-getters and potential history makers, but by learning from the mistakes of others, we can avoid some of life’s banana skins and save our energies for more positive endeavour. We lead our children and those around us by example, and so even in that small way, we are changing history, and can count that as our valid contribution to human development.

Maryculter House is one of the North East’s top drawer hotels. Doused in history, tracing it’s origins back over 800 years. The lands around the hotel were granted to the Knights Templar back in 1227.

It’s Managing Director is Peter Walker, who has used teachings from the past to shape a new destiny for his business. Peter began his teenage years in rural Aberdeenshire, with little idea of where his career might lead.

His first job as a paperboy however gave an early indicator of his attitude to customer service. He quickly realised that his clients should get their morning paper early enough to read it over breakfast. This meant a very early start, making him probably the least visible paperboy in the town, but certainly the one with the happiest households! His belief, which still determines his approach to hospitality today, is that you should do anything for your guests. A great premise from which to shape a career in this exacting business.

Peter was encouraged by an observant school teacher to take work experience in a local hotel. In turn this became a part time job, and led to a college course to study hospitality. With an opportunity to go on to University, Peter opted to take the less crowded route by heading straight into full time work.

The renowned Pittodrie House Hotel was where he found Theo Smith, a respected hotelier of drive and discernment. He, along with other equally illustrious names, shared with Peter the knowledge and rich experience they’d acquired over many years. All of this was absorbed and directed as Peter determined to explore every facet of the trade he was making his own. From the exacting standards of fine dining, to the multi disciplines of event management, taking the learning and direction of those who’d gone before, led Peter to be appointed a Master Inn Holder, a remarkable accolade for one so young.

May 2022 sees the launch of the ‘Girly Getaway’ at Maryculter House. So get your friends together to enjoy 2 cocktails each, cream tea, brasserie dinner, overnight stay and breakfast, plus a Molton Brown gift set.

All for £149 per person.

Humans have found a way to leave their mark on history. From the days of painting on cave walls to heroic deeds which will be remembered long into the future. Martin Luther King stated that “We are not makers of history, we are made BY history”. So perhaps, when we understand the impact of history on each of us, we can allow it to guide us to our own individual success in whatever shape that takes. We may not choose to study the past, but we must surely acknowledge that it shapes us more than we might have realised.

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#GinADayMay celebrates Gin everyday in May. Ginspired Scotland has a daily shot of Vitamin G for you, imparting a feeling of enormous well being. ‘Vitamin Ginspired’ is guaranteed to supply the supplements of inspiration, the feel good factor, and all the essential elements you need in your life.

Read on to see how to live the best version of you! With your daily dose of Ginspiration.

Week one #GinADayMay

This week we see a mix of beautiful bottles, beautiful places and beautiful islands, so make sure to stock up on your Vitamin B’eautiful this week. See our helpful weekly planner below👇

Sun 1st May ’22

‘Selfie’

Ellis Gin based in Glasgow has the perfect ‘Selfie’ Ginspiration. Colourful cocktails, Shimmering sensations and perfect for a picnic! Check them out! Feel free to share your selfie on our socials we would love to see them!!

Mon 2nd May ’22

‘Garnish’

What is the single most unwelcome garnish your gin has ever known? Click below and let us help you with your fears and frustrations of contaminated Scottish Gin!

Tues 3rd May ’22

‘Book’

Use our unique interactive Gincyclopedia to book every aspect of your Scottish adventure for FREE

Wed 4th May ’22

‘Green’

Scottish Mountain with a Travel Kindly Icon at the top of it.

Want to find your way to kinder, more sustainable holidays in Scotland? With Travel Kindly we are signposting the most environmentally sound ways to enjoy Scottish Gin as part of your next day trip, short break, or full scale holiday, in the world’s most beautiful country. Now you can’t get ‘greener’ than that!

Thur 5th May ’22

‘Miniature’

Well known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’ and for its array of wonderful food and drinks, Arran is a very popular destination, especially now there is Arran Gin!

Fri 6th May ’22

‘Glassware’

North Uist Distillery’s beautiful new bottle design for their award winning Downpour Gin is just stunning. A definite to stand out on your Gin shelf.

Sat 7th May ’22

‘Bar’

A family run hotel The Dowans is in the heart of Speyside overlooking the village of Aberlour. Whether you’re staying, dining, checking out their 500 strong unique whisky collection, or extensive Scottish Gin collection, this boutique hotel always offers a warm welcome.⁠


Week Two #GinADayMay

Week two on our quest to indulge in Vitamin G sees us ‘experiencing’ Scotland, encouraging the feel good factor of supporting local, and get ready to don your best Sean Connery accent!

Sun 8th May ’22

‘Illusion’

Scotland’s Illusion is sometimes that we all wear tartan or play bagpipes while chasing haggis through the heather. But oh we have so, so much more to offer (unless you really want to chase haggis through the heather😉)

Mon 9th May ’22

‘Reality’

We want to spotlight the ‘Reality’ of why we really need a holiday. Check out our ‘Scientific facts’ about the real reason behind a holiday.

Tues 10th May ’22

‘Savoury’

Encouraging visitors to support local when staying in Scotland is important to Ginspired Scotland. So check out our guide to unveiling the savoury delights Scotland has to offer.

Wed 11th May ’22

‘Shelfie’

Don your best Sean Connery accent and ‘Share your best Gin Shelfies with ush’ Shout about your amazing Scottish Gin collection.

Thur 12th May ’22

Experience

Why not experience Scotland and it’s Gin Schools. Check out our guide to Gin School experiences and book yourself a great day out.

Fri 13th May ’22

‘Cocktail’

World Cocktail Day!! Check out our showcase on The Gin Thistle in Auchterarder! When you visit remember the cocktail tree is a must!!

Sat 14th May ’22

‘Sustainable’

The winner of the Ginspired Scotland Travel Kindly Award 2022 was The North Point Distillery, based in Forss, Caithness. With sustainability at the heart of everything they do, they were well deserved winners.


Week Three #GinADayMay

Week three already!! Take our ready to drink quiz to see if you are truly Ginvincible! Learn some Scottish local dialect, they say learning a language is good for the mind, and share with us your classic combo for your ideal G&T. Definitely good for the soul!

Sun 15th May ’22

‘Ready to Drink’

Check out our Gin quiz that could drive you to drink! Take the quiz and see if your score ranks you Ginvincible or all out of Ginspiration.

Mon 16th May ’22

‘Merch’

There is some ‘eggcellent’ merch around these days, but what about some Gin merch? Click the link below to have a look at Craft 56 gift sets, fruits for drinks, glassware and lots more.

Tues 17th May ’22

‘Rainbow’

The only limit is your imagination when you come to Scotland! A plethora of experiences to be had and everyone, like a rainbow, is very different.

Wed 18th May ’22

‘Local’

If you don’t know the difference between being ‘braw’ or being ‘blootered’, never been asked to ‘haud yer wheesht’ or to ‘gie it laldie’, read on for Ginspired Scotland’s guide to some of the essentials.

Thur 19th May ’22

‘Red’

If you have never experienced the red sunsets across Scotland, you really must add it to your ‘to do’ list. Made even more special by sipping on some Scottish Gin. Check out Redcastle Gin and Red Door Gin so that you can co-ordinate with the sky!

Fri 20th May ’22

‘Classic’

We hear a lot about Gin cocktails, flavoured gins, even colour changing gins, and we love them all, but what about the Classic G&T? Which is your favourite?

Sat 21st May ’22

‘Cheating On Gin’

Cheating on Scottish Gin is allowed occasionally in our eyes! So if your feeling a bit naughty why not try out Lost Loch Spirits ‘The Murmichan’, meaning ‘Wicked Scots Fairy’ so what better way to cheat than with this Scottish Absinthe


Week four and our last (but certainly not final) chance to fill you with Vitamin G, give you wellbeing ideas so you go off feeling like a million dollars!

Week Four #GinADayMay

Sun 22nd May ’22

‘Citrus’

Traditionally used to prevent horrible diseases, but these days maybe vitamin sea is the best remedy for the blues?

Mon 23rd May ’22

‘Packaging’

We all know we value our favourite gins partly because of where they come from, packaged beautifully with landscape hug! But which is your favourite?

Here are some suggestions Isle of Barra Distilliers, Isle of Tiree Distillery, Isle of Harris Distillery, Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin, Shetland Reel, Isle of Raasay Distillery, Isle of Skye Distillers, Isle of Islay Gin, Lussa Gin.

Tues 24th May ’22

‘Craft’

Hand crafted and sealed with a ‘kiss’ Isle of Barra Rhubarb & Heather Gin Liqueur is filled with Island flavour & notes of the coast. Sealed with the famous Kisimul Castle logo this is definitely one to have in your collection.

Wed 25th May ’22

‘Distillery’

Scottish Gin Distilleries are in their prime and we encourage visitors to visit as many as possible (Not all in one day – obviously) But do you know how many Scottish Gin producers there are?

Thur 26th May ’22

‘Upcycle’

Whether you are after easy going, family friendly trails, a bike-packing adventure, an adrenaline fuelled off-road mountain bike day in the hills or a tour in our cycle-friendly cities. Come rain or shine Scotland has some truly Ginspired day trips for cycling.

Fri 27th May ’22

‘Recipe’

Using Ginspired Scotland’s website, plan your holiday – the perfect recipe for success

Sat 28th May ’22

‘Martini’

You may be too young to reminisce about the 80’s Martini TV ad, but for us at Ginspired their catchy phrase really does apply to Scottish Gin! Whether its a boozy morning brunch or a bedtime nightcap. Maybe a wee dram at the top of a Munro or even under canvas in one of Scotland’s National Parks. There is no stopping you!

29th May ’22

‘Navy’

Avva Scottish is based in the North East Scotland, Moray. This exceptionally smooth Award winning Navy Strength Gin is a great choice for a lazy Sunny Sunday afternoon. (Equally good if it’s pouring down too!)

Mon 30th May ’22

‘Lo & No’

Arbikie Distillery, on the North east coast of Scotland is a truly sustainable, field-to-bottle distillery built around real craft, real ingredients and real people. Now offering authentic experiences, guided by people who are passionate about their field-to-bottle ethos. Also producers of Nàdar – the world’s first climate positive gin made from a pea-based spirit. 

Tues 31st May ’22

‘Celebration’

What better way to celebrate than to reflect on the GinADayMay and raise a glass to all the fantastic Scottish Gins, Experiences we are lucky enough to have in Scotland. And with the Jubilee celebrations just around don’t forget to order a bottle of your new favourite to toast Her Majesty🍸

Scotland’s language is a mixture of English, Gaelic, Norse and so many others, and it’s still changing!

If you don’t know the difference between being ‘braw’ or being ‘blootered’, never been asked to ‘haud yer wheesht’ or to ‘gie it laldie’, read on for Ginspired Scotland’s guide to some of the essentials:

  Today, the main language spoken in Scotland is English, while Scots and Scottish Gaelic are minority languages. The dialect of English spoken in Scotland is referred to as Scottish English.

  Words like “bairn” and “yin” on the east coast, to “wains” and “wan” on the west.

BTW, If you say ‘Space Ghetto’ in an American accent, it sounds like ‘Spice Girl’ in a Scottish accent. Go on, do it, and see how long it takes for you to stop laughing!

To HAVER – means to babble and speak needlessly. eg ‘wud yae stop yer havering and get oan wi it?’ (would you stop talking and get on with it?)

GLAIKIT – an unflattering description of someone slightly lacking in finer skills. Can be used in conjunction with ‘numpty’ eg ‘you’re a pure glaikit numpty’ ie someone you probably wouldn’t either employ or marry.

BAMPOT – another unflattering term for someone favoured by the stupid gene.

EEJIT- see Bampot

BRAW- beautiful – usually referring to food or a view, or a drink. To compliment a beautiful woman substitute Bonnie, that’ll never go amiss.

PEELY-WALLY – the typically blue tinged appearance of a person who doesn’t see a lot of warm sunshine, or is feeling poorly. Meaning pale, usually of skin.

HAUD YER WHEESHT! – One of those terms which every language should have at least one of! Much less rude than ‘shut up’, it requests the ‘wheeshter’ to conserve (or hold) their breath and so inevitably to stop talking.

STRAMASH- almost self explanatory, as it could never mean calm and orderly now could it? It’s a chaotic, messy, disorderly situation, usually unwanted.

And it gets better and better! Delve more deeply into Scottish utterances region by region, and you’ll find even more to delight and entertain you. Try wrapping these ones around your tonsils and see what comes oot yer moo!

Edinburgh Dialect

Edinburgh forms one of Scotland’s most diverse speech communities where you can hear a range of accents and dialects. Scots has been spoken in the city for hundreds of years and was used in the court and Parliament prior to the Union of Crowns in 1603 and Union of Parliaments in 1707.

•        Embra – Edinburgh

•        Baffies – slippers

•        Barry – fantastic or great

•        Bunker – worktop, kitchen counter

•        Chum – join on a journey (Chumming a friend doon the road)

•        Cludgie – toilet

•        Deek – look at

•        Dinnae – don’t

•        Feart – afraid of

•        Foostie – stale

•        Radge – crazy or uncontrollable (A person can either be a radge, or ‘go radge’)

•        Reeking – drunk

•        Scoobied – clueless (Scooby Doo is rhyming slang for clue)

•        Shan – a shame, or disappointing (A bad day at work could be ‘well shan’)

Argyll Dialect

Argyll Scottish Gaelic

The language native to the Gaels of Scotland, has been spoken in Argyll since the 5th century when Irish Gaelic speakers settled in the area.•        

Slainte! (slan-juh) – Cheers!

•        Madainn mhath (mateen va) – Good morning.

•        Chan eil (chan yayl) – No.

•        Tha (ha) – Yes.

•        Salinte mhath! ( slan-juh va) – Good health.

•        Halo (hello) – Hello.

•        Feasgar math (fesker ma) – Good evening.

•        ‘S e ur beatha (share behe) – You’re welcome.

•        Tha mi duilich (ha mi doolich) – I’m sorry

•        Alba (Albah) – Scotland

•        Ciamar a tha sibh (kemar aha shiv) – How are you?

•        Tapadh leibh (tapa leev) – Thank you

• Tha gu math (ha goo ma) – Fine

. Is math sin (sma shin) – That’s good

North East Dialect

Doric

Doric is the Scots dialect spoken in the North-East of Scotland and, as of 2018, has gained the status of the third official language of Scotland, along with English and Scots Gaelic.

•        Far ye gaan? Where are you going? 

•        Fit’s at? What’s that? 

•        Fan ye aff? When are you going? 

•        Foo mony? How many? 

•        Fa’s at? Who is that? 

•        Fit wye nae? Why not?

•        Bosie: hug. Gie’s a bosie! Give me a hug! 

•        Fash: trouble. Dinna fash yersel Don’t trouble yourself 

•        Tricket: Delighted. I’m fair-tricket I’m delighted 

•        Gawaaah!: Get away! Gawaaah! 

•        Yer kiddin! You’re kidding me! 

•        Bonny: beautiful. Sheena is affa bonny. Sheena is very pretty 

Orkney & Shetland Dialect

ORKNEY & SHETLAND  Old Norse.

•        The Scots language 

•        Shetlandic or Shetland dialectics and aftertaste of Norn which has become extinct.

•        Hit’s göd ta lay you doon in your ain calf grund, means ‘it’s good to be home’ 

Central Scotland Dialect

In a sentence: “The wee yin fell right on his bahookie.”   In English: “The little one fell on his bum.”

So now you know your bahookie from yer elbow, you’re good to go. Enjoy exploring more of our fandabbydozy Scottish language!

New Normal Road sign

As we socially distance ourselves from lockdown, contemplating the return to normality can be quite daunting. Will we remember that we now have to dress our lower halves as well? Will we brush/comb/polish the back of our hair styles, as well as the sections visible on Zoom? Can we still use the slowness of our broadband as an excuse for that ‘missed’ action point? But more fundamentally, will our brains cope with the combination of work, commuting, socialising and home/family life, without exploding? i.e. we might be beating Covid, but will we survive getting back to normal?

If you’re not sure, perhaps a bit of brain training is what’s required. Take your brain back to school. But no, I’m not that cruel, I’m sending you and your brain to GIN SCHOOL!!
Some of your favourite gin producers have been quick off the mark to kindly bring this vital therapeutic
opportunity to you, no matter where in Scotland you find yourself facing being normal:-

Scottish Gin Schools.

Crossbill Gin have re-opened their gin school. Their Gin School Distilling Experience is a few hours (usually 3) spent at the distillery in Glasgow learning about how gin is made and the botanicals involved. This includes some tutored nosing and tasting with an expert. You’ll then go on to select your preferred
botanicals and create your own gin to take away with you. The price is currently at a sale price of *£110 per person. Please always book ahead. That’s getting back to normal. *As of 29/04/2022 subject to change.

Isle of Skye Distillery, home of Misty Isle and Tommy’s Gin, re-opens on Wednesdays and Fridays from 2-
5pm, led by Master Distiller Alistair. The three hour sensory experience includes gin tastings, the history of gin and the story of The Isle of Skye Distillery. Plus the chance to create your own bottle of gin by expertly selecting the botanicals under Alistair’s guidance, running your own pot still, then bottling and labelling too. You can share a still between two of you, or keep it all to yourself (no one’s judging!) The price is £85 per still either way. Please always book in advance. This is going to be very popular. That’s normal too.

The City of Aberdeen Distillery. Dan and Alan are up and running again. Their Gin School is a great
place to meet gin minded people from across the region. They work with up to 20 aspiring gin makers at a time and offer a comprehensive session covering the history of distilling in Aberdeen, a G&T on arrival, various samples to inform your choices, and your own design of bottle filled with gin. Celebrate becoming a distiller with a cocktail afterwards – what more could you and your normal brain wish for?

Ballachulish’s Pixel Spirits hold their gin school at North Ballachulish, at the foot of Glen Coe. The local
landscape is a treat for the senses in itself, but add in gin to the mix, and your wellbeing rating will soar like a local eagle. The Gin School here is up and running, and a three hour gin making experience, complete with recipe development time, distilling an uber small batch gin, and taking home a full sized bottle of your bespoke creation, comes in at £70-£95 per person (depending on date and option chosen). There’s a G&T or two also included in case you’re thirsty.

Loch Leven Hotel

Uniquely, Pixel also offers a rum school. It’s a similar set up, but making rum is a very different process to
gin, so it’s a whole new set of neural pathways for your brain to develop! Hard to miss that Pixel is located
in the grounds of the Loch Leven Hotel, so why not book in for a couple of nights and cover both bases?
Two wonderful spirits in two wonderful days. That’s truly being kind to yourself and your grey matter. That should be normal.


Lost Loch Distillery, Aboyne, Aberdeenshire is back in full production too and that includes producing fully accredited gin makers in their gin school! Luckily their airy and spacious spirits school lets everyone discover all about gin or other botanical spirits (the choice is yours) with lots of space around them. Spend the day learning about how botanical spirits are created and work alongside the experts to design your own unique expression, and take it home with you at the end of the day! You can also buy a voucher, which at £125 is a promise of an extremely educational and therapeutic day to come. Go on, your brain (and taste buds) will thank you for it. They
normally do.


Kirkwall’s Kirkjuvagr Distillery is open again, and looks forward to welcoming you back
to take part in their Gin Making sessions. This immersion in all things gin can be for 1, 2 or 3 people
sharing one mini-still. The price ranges from £125 for one person, £175 for two working together at this harbour front distillery. It’s a five hour experience and must be booked in advance of course. But that’s completely normal.

Crafty Distillery is home to Hills and Harbours Gin, Newton Stewart. It’s open for
their informative tours, which include a perfect serve of the base spirit, a cocktail and a Hills and Harbour
Gin & Tonic for £21, and children and young persons free, with take away samples for the driver to be enjoyed later. Their highly regarded Gin Escape Adventure is a fun tour of the unspoilt hills and coastlines of Galloway. You’ll help forage for the botanicals that make Hills & Harbour Gin unique. On return you can help make some tasty and vibrant gin cocktails using the foraged botanicals. Ending the day with a tour of the distillery. Booking is essential.

So Are You Ready?


So, as normal, Ginspired has come up with the perfect guide to enhancing your wellbeing as we adjust to getting back to normal. If you, or someone you know, has a brain that would benefit from attending school (and who hasn’t?), book them in. You’re bound to find that their whole demeanour is improved immeasurably, when thoroughly immersed in Scottish Gin, (completely normal).

So click through the links (as normal) and book yourself on!


You’re welcome. (That’s normal too.)

Tentatively looking for August holiday accommodation on Scotland’s West Coast (I yearn for those turquoise seas and glorious sunsets), I was tempted to check out the nearest supermarket, possibly even a book a delivery slot, but something stopped me.

I realised, that when I encourage visitors to come to my home area of Speyside, I enthuse about the local craft butcher, the amazing deli with their vast array of cheese, the baker’s tempting fare, the distilleries, both whisky and gin, the fresh fish delivery service, even the local Chinese takeaway. Yet here was I planning to ignore all of that, in favour of convenience.  (I also realised with a cynical chuckle, that the result would be me producing the same food as we eat at home, because I would be selecting it all from the same supermarket menu, i.e. not much of a holiday at all, for me or my family).  

So instead I looked for local Scottish food producers, and I found them, boy did I find them!

I now have a ‘must-do’ list, indeed a route around the region (which I thought I knew) determined not by the conventional visitor attractions, but by local food and drink destinations.  I now long for eating mussels straight from the mussel beds, estate venison within a few miles from where it last ‘monarched’, lamb from those salty shores, and cheese made from milk enriched with all of that spring sunshine even lock down couldn’t stifle.

Not to mention shellfish and sea fish caught by the boats I can watch bobbing in the harbour.  Imagine the excitement of planning your menu around what’s freshest, what’s available, and what you fancy, rather than with the laptop, several weeks prior, via a supermarket’s virtual basket?

#SupportLocal

Now I’m not saying the odd tin of beans and packet of pasta might not creep into the packing as back up, but if you too are considering a self-catering holiday, or even just a day out in Scotland this year, PLEASE consider supporting not just the accommodation, the hotels, bars and coffee shops (goodness knows they need you as much as you need them right now), but get stuck right into the local food too. 

Once shopping locally becomes a habit for most of us, those creative, resourceful and determined businesses may be able to rise again, to greater success than ever they were, and we’ll all reap the rewards of better quality food, lower food miles, fairer prices for producers,  and the gorgeous variety driven by regionality and the seasons.  Plus, it gives us a great excuse to explore more of this wonderful country, and all of its riches!

To get you started, here’s a few to consider:

Support Local spotlights food and drink producers across Scotland. Not so much a trail, but a great way of finding wonderful food with authentic provenance, many of which also offer online sales to keep that holiday feeling going all year round!

The Mull and Iona Food Trail ‘Eat your way around the islands’!  Love this!

Taste of Arran Everything from chocolate to chutney, all from Arran’s beautiful shores.

The Outer Hebrides Crofting land and bounteous seas, smoked shellfish, plus whisky gin and beer.  Yet another great reason to visit this magical region.

Food from Fife Guides Fife-bound foodies around this region of great golf, beautiful beaches and picturesque fishing villages, and some very fine gins too!

Scotland Starts Here The Border region’s food and drink trail, and very lovely it is.  Don’t miss the local gins if you’re down that way, and if you’re heading further north, why not make time for a pitstop while shopping for some local delicacies.

Scotland Welcomes You also has various food festivals throughout the year. Something to look forward to in 2022!

Aberdeenshire and the North East is home to some of Scotland’s finest food producers. Learn more here.

Do check to see who’s open when you’re visiting, as things are changing daily. And of course, do use the Gincyclopedia to find accommodation and the local gin producers along the way!

Bon appetit, or as they say in Gaelic  Ith do shàth! (EEch doh HAH) or

Eat your fill!

Ever spent a holiday in a strange and lumpy bed longing for the familiar pillows of home? Been hunched under a dribbly, cramped shower and yearned for the stretch space and drench power of your own? Do you eat up the last few days of your hard-earned break planning how the next few months are going to shape up? You’re not alone. So who actually needs holidays?

Going away often means compromises. A famous hotelier once said that his rooms had to offer a better experience than his guests had at home, otherwise they wouldn’t come! Obvious I guess, but at several hundreds of pounds per night, expectations would be high, wouldn’t they? Most of us don’t have that level of spending power, but apparently money’s not the only thing to influence our choice of holiday. So, what else is at play here?


Perhaps you stick to a well-loved caravan park or familiar campsite? Do you prefer a roving road trip, ticking off the stops via your Instagram feed, or maybe it’s an all-inclusive with no decisions to be made as everything’s laid on for you? Is it opulent luxury or value for money that excites you most? And how do you decide? What are you looking for? A great tan? Rejuvenation of your body, your mind, your relationship perhaps? New experiences you couldn’t get at home? Bragging rights (ouch!)? or that feeling that you’ve worked hard all year so you deserve it? Nothing wrong with any of those. Even bragging rights. After all we’re human, and competition is an integral part of our psyche (check out Mr C Darwin if you don’t agree).


In an attempt to be ever-so-slightly scientific, I researched current thinking into the motivations that drive us. It seems there are around seven of them, so read on:

Basic needs: We prioritise food, water, air, shelter (gin??)

Self-Actualisation: Making the most of a talent – singers, actors, athletes, footballers et al

Protection and Safety: Shelter, health, money to buy what we need, access to services & ‘stuff’

Love & belonging: Forming relationships and supportive social communities
Status & Esteem: Respect, including self-respect, sense of own worth, status and value

Mate acquisition: It’s a basic need driven by the need to get our genes passed onward

Mate retention: Harder still. Raising healthy offspring to adulthood (see genes)

I recall Club 18-30 holidays. I never went on one (far too young), but was brave enough to watch those late-night documentaries from behind a sofa cushion. To be fair, I think the more recent booze-soaked scene full of first-time-without-mum-and-dad holidaymakers, probably beats Club 18-30 pants down (sic), but at the time, it was for those who partied hard, in every sense. However, doesn’t it fit exactly into the ‘Mate Acquisition’ motivation? Isn’t it the holiday equivalent of Blind Date but without Cilla, and with loads of alcohol, sunshine and a X Certificate thrown in? Not hard to see why it was so successful then.


Love & Belonging? Anything with ‘family, ‘romance’ ‘couples only’ or even ‘join like-minded others’, ticks this box. So, from sun-kissed Caribbean resorts to English stately homes, history cruises, to theme parks, even Butlins. Each feeds this basic desire to spend quality time with those we care for, or just want to get to know a little better.


Self-actualisation? I had to look this up so clearly it doesn’t apply to me, but if I was a closet diva, just waiting for Mr Cowell to uncover my latent talent, perhaps this would drive me on. Desperate to book a Circus Skills school or dabble in watercolours in Tuscany perhaps? Maybe, the chance to explore a passion and make a career of it would be my equivalent of winning the lottery? Think Paul Potts. (Actually, I’ve no idea what happened to him, but I bet he felt great at the time).


So, you get the gist right? We are all motivated by a combination of basic needs and additional wants in everything we do.

Like all the best cocktails however, this isn’t about just one thing. With holidays, most of us see them as the polar opposite of work, the antidote to the daily grind. For many, the routine of the 9-5 week is something to be escaped from. We run away, create sharp contrasts to the other 47 weeks of the year. Whether it’s the schedule (staying up late & long lazy mornings), the food (remember the first time you tried Calamari?), the experiences (would you ride a banana boat in your bikini in the local park?) and even the outfits that you pack as your holiday costume (there’s even such a thing as ‘Cruise Wear’ – who knew!). All contribute to this feeling of escape, and freedom.


For those who seek prestige and status and happily wear badges to tell the world they’ve made it, an impressive holiday can be considered the ultimate reward for a long year of hard work and big earnings. Sometimes in direct correlation to their perception of self-worth, spending shed loads of cash on a seven-star exotic long haul bespoke luxury etc experience brings them pleasure in itself. A sense of appropriate return for their efforts perhaps.

So, it’s less about the location, the accommodation, the food even, and more about how it makes you FEEL. The feeling of comfort, familiarity, spending quality time, learning and developing, relaxing, indulging or a million other emotional experiences. That’s what we’re looking for on holiday – that great feeling. And it’s not just during the time you’re away. It extends to the planning, the discussions, the sharing afterwards and long afterwards too. It’s the feeling.


Watching a recent series of ‘Rich Holiday, Poor Holiday’, it’s fascinating to see how the big spenders eventually reach the mindset that the producers were no doubt shooting for. That it’s all about ‘the people you’re with and that feeling of spending quality time together’, leaving the ‘cash poor’ participants smiling rather smugly as they already knew that, somehow making their predicament more bearable.


So next time you’re holed up in a chilly caravan, shouting at each other over the din of relentless rain on a metal roof and moaning as the TV’s lost signal and there’s no Netflix. Remember, it’s the feeling of togetherness that counts! Yeah, no solutions to this one, but after all this is a website about Scottish Gin, so I guess that’s your answer, gin, right there.


Problem solved.


You’re welcome.

We’ve all been handed a gin cocktail containing enough salad it could qualify as one of our five a day.  Exotic fruit, artfully carved and so skilfully arranged it seems a shame to disturb it from its icy slumber, and spices from faraway lands which might once have felt more at home in a chicken tikka masala, but today we have a new enquiry…

What is the single most unwelcome garnish your gin has ever known?

Then tell me I’m lying when I say that unfurling the canvas will inevitably (it’s guaranteed) reveal at least one dead spider and at least three forkytails, earwigs or slaters (they’re all the same creature but somehow they justify more than one name).  None of these however will reveal themselves until everything has been unpacked and spread neatly across the immaculate and oh so welcoming inner chamber, and then they drop, one by one, into clothes, bedding and, if you’re lucky enough to have one at this point, your SCOTTISH GIN!!

THEN.  The dilemma.  Do you:-

  1. Fish it out lickety-split and flick it out of the tent so it immediately becomes someone else’s problem (i.e. probably lands on them), then pretend nothing ever happened and sip away?
  2. SCREAM Alerting the entire campsite that a) you have gin and b) you’re a scaredy-trousers.  Make a BIG DEAL of pouring said longed-for gin onto the grass which will never thank you for it anyway, and retire sulkily to prepare a replacement?
  3. SWEAR (all as above, but at least the family next door with the annoying children may think to relocate to a faraway part of the campsite so their precious offspring aren’t subjected to such a gutter-mouth, even though said children probably taught you the word in question anyway)?

The Solution?

Well it’s clear and plain for all to see.  Drink your first night camping Gin outdoors.  Make that a rule you live by.  You’ll thank me for it.

UNLESS

You’re in a place of tropical majesty or better still the Scottish Highlands in July or August.

In that case, your GIN remains IN PERIL.

For some reason so far under-researched by academia, any flying insect whether microscopic in size but mighty of tooth (the Scottish Midge), or clearly-visible-even-to-the-myopic, and whine issuing winged demon (the mosquito), will take the straightest of straight lines to any carefully clutched alcohol in the area, even though it knows it will not survive the encounter.  Perhaps, after distributing daily misery as its single raison d’etre, this invertebrate hari kari is a fitting end to a desperate life, but why oh why does it always choose my GIN!

FORTUNATELY

The midge hood is a thing.  It does exist and it is generally sufficiently voluminous to slip an elegant copa glass within and enjoy your fabulous Scottish Gin and Tonic, or lemonade, or whatever you fancy, while laughing in the faces of those six leggedy insect foes. (Clearly not all at the same time or you’ll choke, silly).

AND

There’s always an upside and I’m saving it to the end.  NONE of your mates will want to be seen with you wearing that ridiculous hat, so THERE’S MORE SCOTTISH GIN FOR YOU. 

RESULT!!

Image of Highland Cow with a wonky horn

 1. An ‘Arbikie’ is the traditional dwelling place of the wild Scottish Haggis.  Usually well concealed on a north facing mountainside, and always constructed after several months of negligible rainfall. It’s carefully positioned to allow the rear of the haggis to protrude slightly, clearly indicating that the beast is at home, while protecting the bill from the prevailing weather.

TRUE/FALSE?

2. ‘Drookit’ as in ‘Drookit Piper Gin’ (Pixel Spirits, Ballachulish) is an old Scots word for tuneful or melodic.  As regular visitors to Scotland will know, even players new to the bagpipes are easily able to produce soothing melodies which will draw listeners in from near and far.  Drookit pipers are always happy souls, with a cheerful demeanour and a smile for everyone.

TRUE?FALSE?

3. Lochaber, is the cry given (like ‘fore’ in golf) when a chaber (sometimes spelled caber), is tossed with insufficient effort to turn 180 degrees.  Pronounced ‘Low Caber’, it warns bystanders to stand clear before they are driven down like human pegs into the soft peaty soil of the Highlands by the errant and dangerous pole.

TRUE/FALSE?

4. Whitetail Gin is named after the largest of Mull’s native squirrels.  Not thought to be completely albino, many display a striking white tail especially when winter temperatures drop below freezing for several days at once.  Scientists are working to disprove the theory that the tails are simply frost covered, and as they are enjoying the fine local gin so much, this research may take some years to complete.

TRUE/FALSE?

Answers (no cheating now)😉

One point for each correct answer:-

1.A         FALSE

Arbikie is the gorgeous gin carefully distilled by Kirstie Black at Arbikie Highland Estate in Angus using local botanicals to echo the coast and lands of its region.

If you thought it was a Haggis Hoose you’re a numpty fair and square.  Sorry, none intended.

2. A        FALSE

Drookit is an alternative term for ‘half-drownded’, (or ‘very wet indeed’ if you went to posh school).  Everyone knows that Pipers sometimes have to stand out in all weathers, so occasionally becoming drookit is all part of the job.  That’s not to say it makes them happy smiley people though.  In fact, I’d be tempted to avoid a drookit piper until he’s dried out a bit, except for the Gin that is.  Drookit Piper Gin is great when it’s pouring! (See what I did there?)

3.A         FALSE

Lochaber is in fact a region of Scotland.  You may not have studied the maps recently, but you can’t have avoided the Proclaimers ‘Lochaber no more’ even if you missed Allan Ramsey’s 1724 version?  When a caber is incorrectly tossed there are usually several utterances forthcoming from the tosser, but none of them are repeatable here.  It is worth giving them a wide berth though, if only to avoid the horrid knifey things they wear on their boots for grippage.

4.A         FALSE

Whitetail Gin is produced on the sub-tropical island of Mull.  Honestly, there are palm trees in abundance, and enough gorgeous sandy beaches to make the Caribbean jealous.  And it’s much easier to get to.  Calmac throw in a lovely cruise from Oban, or from Fishnish if you prefer place names that make you giggle.

So, as the weather would suggest, there’s little chance of seeing a frosty tailed squirrel on Mull, and instead the skilled makers of Whitetail chose the local Sea Eagles as their inspiration.  So, don’t search the trees, but turn your eyes to the skies in case one of these ‘flying barn doors’ comes your way.

SCORING

Zero out of Four:             

Console yourself that we are here to help you and that you have found us. Now back to your therapist.

One out of Four:

Every journey starts with a single step.  Well, leap into your Louboutins lovely because you’ve got a long road ahead of you.  Still, they say that happiness is not the destination, it’s the journey, and yours will take you to some amazing Scottish Gins.  And never forget, you’re not stupid, you’re special.

Two out of Four:

You’re a trier and everyone loves those, but you have WORK TO DO. Spend much more time exploring Scotland and its amazing gin at every possible opportunity.  We prescribe at least six visits to Scotland per year until you show signs of improvement and to cure your desperate knowledge gaps.  If you can’t physically get here, do it through A I.  ie Pretend you’re clever whilst drinking Scottish Gin.

Three out of Four:

You are the Scottish Gin equivalent of an A Grade Student.  Well done!  However, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it, so maintain those knowledge levels by regular trips to explore Scottish Gin and imbibe data (in liquid form if necessary).  Use your expertise to encourage others to join you.  You will be rewarded.  You are Ginspired.

Four out of Four:

Ginspired Ginius at work! What you don’t know would fit in a Copa Glass with plenty of room for ice and several garnishes.  You are Ginvincible!

It is now your destiny to spread your knowledge and passion for Scottish Gin throughout the gin drinking world.  Share your expertise and a little of your gin with your friends and family and they’ll be intoxicated by your sparkling brilliance. 

Congratulations. 

You and I can now be friends.

A passionate tale to delight you and your taste-buds.

The majority of new businesses grow out of a great idea, a perceived gap in the market, or simply to take a skill to those who wish to buy it. But the Gin Thistle in Auchterarder, is fundamentally (and passionately) different. 

Stuart Bryce owner of The Gin Thistle

Stuart Bryce has worked in hospitality all his life. He has developed a passion for introducing people to the products and experiences he most enjoys. That passion is manifest in The Gin Thistle.  Stuart explains that he’s relished the huge expansion in the range of craft and small volume gin being produced in Scotland in recent years. Nothing gives him greater pleasure than delighting customers with his discoveries.  Creating those ooh and ahh moments, when a carefully crafted cocktail just hits the spot, is what makes him tick.   Even customers who haven’t developed a love of gin are being ginspired by Stuart’s use of alternative mixers, beyond tonic, making gin really shine for them for the first time.

Despite launching during the challenging days of the pandemic, strong local support and oodles of repeat business have demonstrated that his passion is well founded, and well worth sharing.  The signature Cocktail Trees bring a collection of a dozen gin-based creations to your table.  The idea is to share of course, but among how many?  Well, that’s entirely up to you!   

The Gin Thistle is stylish yet family, and dog friendly too. Serving light lunches and snacks Tuesday to Saturday, from late morning. It makes a great place for drinks with friends, celebrations, or to indulge yourself for absolutely no reason at all. 

You’ll soon find yourself sharing Stuart’s passion for the finest customer experiences. Perhaps even oohing and ahhing yourself, as you sample his exquisite cocktails made from the very best Scottish Gins! 

Why not make an overnight or a weekend of it? There’s so much to see and do in this easily-accessible part of Scotland, there’s really no excuse not to!

Gin Distilleries – well of course that’s where we would start planning our weekend wouldn’t we, and there are six gin producers within 90 minutes of here, offering everything from gin schools to tasting sessions. Explore the selection here:

Once you’ve decided which gin maker you’d most like to meet, make a day of it by combining local attractions. Stirling Castle is just 30 minutes away and has such a special role in Scottish history, it’s a must see while you’re in the area. Blair Drummond Safari Park is 25 minutes away and it’s smaller but charming neighbour, Auchingarrick Wildlife Centre, near Comrie, is also close by. The Trossachs National Park is a lovely 45 minute drive away, with mountains, lochs and wonderful walking to be enjoyed. Dundee has so much appeal, not least it’s local gins, but of course the V&A is there, alongside RRS Discovery, the Antarctic Explorer vessel, just 45 minutes from Auchterarder.

When you have a plan, you’ll need to book some accommodation. You might need two or three nights to get everything done! Local recommendations are Daisy Lodge B&B, Cairn Lodge Hotel, Auchterarder House Hotel, Auchter Lodge, and of course Gleneagles Hotel and resort, if you’re planning to push the boat out.

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Celebrating Mother’s Day is always a special time in the year. Recognising our amazing Mums and mother figures. Remembering those who are no longer with us but make us smile at the thought of them.  Mothers come in many different guises and here at Ginspired we recognise that the same Mother’s Day gift is certainly not ‘one size fits all’.  Therefore, in an attempt to cover all bases, Ginspired have outlined some unique gift ideas for Mother’s Day. Why not give a truly Ginspired Gift this year, with our ‘Gift Guide for Amazing Mums & Matriarchs’?

The Perfectionist Mum

Perfectly Perfectionist Mum, strives for just that.  Perfection in every aspect of her day. From her little cherubs looking immaculate, being on time and homework done, to the house being ship-shape, dogs groomed and the menu planner complete on the fridge.  Finding gift ideas for the perfectionist is not the easiest. Do not despair, Ginspired has put a collection together below that might just hit the spot.

DM Executive Travel

Treat your mum to a chauffeur driven tour to some of the amazing Scottish film locations, or head off for a luxury tour of Skye, a clans and castles tour or speak to Daniel at DM Executive travel and organise your very own bespoke tour with your mum. She will be delighted that the driving is taken care of and the itinerary is in hand.

Moray Firth Tours & Transport

Moray Firth Tours & Transport provide their service around Moray, Speyside & Highlands. Catering for small groups up to 8 people it would be an ideal treat for Mum and her besties. They can provide bespoke trips, whether you wish to spend a few days touring Moray Speyside or a few hours tasting some nice whiskies or gins.  Organised, professional, and perfect for the perfectionist Mum.

Speyside Executive Hire

The award winning series of Outlander had many of us glued to our screens. So if your Mum was a huge fan why not book Speyside Executive Hire’s Outlander Day Tour. Get picked up and dropped off at either Inverness or Speyside and re-visit the Outlander scenes, such as Clava Cairns, Culloden Battlefield, Castle Leod and Loch Ness. A well deserved and ‘scheduled’ stop for lunch where I am sure their will be plenty of Scottish Gins to choose from.

The Competitive Mum

The Competitive Mum likes nothing more than to be winning at life.  Whether it is helping with that school project which ends up looking like a Frank Lloyd Wright creation, or lining herself up at the school sports day, for the ‘friendly’ mums race, eyeing up that finishing line with true grit and determination in her eyes.  We love the competitive streak in this mum! Check out some gifts that she can enjoy being the best at.

Darnley’s Gin School

Based in Fife in the central belt of Scotland, Darnley’s Gin School is where you can come and try your hand at being a Distiller. With guidance from their Gin School team you will explore your botanicals, take charge of your copper still and bottle and label your creation which you can take home and enjoy. Order more of your bespoke gin, as the team at Darnley’s keep your recipe on file so you can place an order for more of your bespoke gin. Private bookings are also available.

Pixel Spirits Distillery & Spirits School

Pixel Spirits, near Fort William and Glencoe was one of the the first distilleries in Scotland to offer full distillation courses. Equipped with traditional copper pot mini stills, here you can learn the art of distilling using your own mini still and develop your unique and personal recipe for an uber small batch gin. A full bottle of your own creation will then be yours to take home and have pride of place on your gin shelf, as of course it will be the best. 😉

Isle of Skye Distillers

Get hands-on and learn the traditional art of distilling under expert tuition and take home a 70cl bottle of your own gin! Alistair (our Master Distiller) will take you on a journey to create and distil a unique gin of your very own.
Alistair will guide you through every step, from personally selecting your botanicals to running your own individual miniature copper pot still. This unique experience is perfect for those of you who enjoy a G&T now and again, through to passionate gin lovers.

City Of Aberdeen Distillery & Gin School

The City of Aberdeen Distillery is in the heart of the city within an impressive railway arch. The first distiller in Aberdeen for nearly 80 years. There are Gin experiences to suit every budget from their Discovery Tour, Gin Tasting Masterclasses or the Gin School Experience, where you can really show off your true distilling potential! City of Aberdeen Distillery vouchers are also available as are virtual group tasting experiences if you are looking for something to do at home.

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The Gin Mum

Now here at Ginspired we know quite a few ‘Gin Mums’.  The name bestowed upon these mums is pure and simple – for their love of gin and gin accessories.  The Gin Shelves they have created are to be admired.  With alphabetically organised shelves, garnishes chopped to perfection and the right glass for each tipple, these mums are on the lookout for the next limited edition, the next new release or unique bottle, to stand pride of place on that empty shelf that must be filled.

Kinrara Gin

Kinrara Distillery is a Scottish craft gin produced within the beautiful landscape of The Cairngorms, just outside the town of Aviemore. The Award winning Kinrara Gin Artist Editions ‘Ginny’, ‘Struan’ and ‘Freya’ are gorgeous bottles featuring the artwork of Kat Baxter. This Artist Edition Miniature Gin Giftset features 3 of the handcrafted Highland Gins. The perfect luxury look addition to the Gin Shelf.

Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin

The new Orkney Distillery & Visitor centre is home to Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin. Steeped in Orcadian history its gins reflects its Norse ancestors and pays homage to the proud seafaring heritage of Orkney. Following the success of Beyla, which uses Orcadian honey as an ingredient, they have partnered with Sheila Fleet jewellery, who created a beautiful and exclusive Bumblebee pendant in soft pink enamel, and each gift set is supplied with a pack of Sheila Fleet wildflower seeds so that you can enjoy your local bees too! This would be a perfect gift for any Gin mum. A stunning bottle for the gin shelf, a beautiful necklace, and over time she can relax and enjoy watching the beautiful bumble bees in her garden

Shetland Reel

Treat your mum, auntie, best friend, or whoever is the extra special female in your life with a bottle of our ever popular Shetland Reel Filska, bursting with grapefruit zing and a warming finish, or our recent Shetland Reel Lemon Fest special edition bundle which includes a bespoke Lemon Fest candle made locally in Unst by handmade soap company, Mella.  Get 20% discount with no code required and order before 10am on Friday 18th March to ensure delivery on time for mothers day”

North Uist Distillery

Family run North Uist Distillery on the Outer Hebrides is home to the Downpour Gin rang,e and their soon to launch Nunton Whisky. You will be forgiven finding it hard which one to choose from, the Scottish Dry Gin or the Sloe & Bramble gin? Well North Uist have it covered and have a Downpour Mini Gift Set, ‘Drenched in Island Flavour’ A great set to enjoy with your ‘Gin Mum’ on Mother’s Day.

Cushiedoos Tonic

This Gin Mum prides herself in having the latest Gin, garnishes, glasses and of course the best of tonics. So if she has every gin she could possibly desire why not get her some Cushiedoos? Cushiedoos tonic uses locally sourced botanicals, soft carbonated water and is also quinine-free so that it does not overpower your spirit. Through their “Buy 1, Get 2 Tree” trade initiative, they pledge to plant one tree for every twelve bottles of Cushiedoos tonic water sold, mixing their passion to help climate change as well as amazing tasting mixers. Cushiedoos latest launch is their new Pink Grapefruit & Rosehip soda.

The ‘Up-to-the-Minute’ Mum

Are you the ‘Up-To-The-Minute’ Mum? Likes to go to unique places, cool cocktails and dome dining.  In the know about the latest places to be seen. Bars that have just opened. This cool character loves a unique and well thought out gift.

The Gin Thistle

Based in Auchterarder, near Perth, central Scotland The Gin Thistle is a friendly and welcoming bar with a great collection of Scottish Gins.  The Gin Thistle is family run and serves tasty food, cocktails and is dog friendly too. This ‘Up-to -the-Minute’ mum will want to go here and check out the amazing food. Also those Fab’Ulous Cocktail Trees!! Gin tastings and private hire of the venue are possible too.

Heads & Tales, Edinburgh

A true hidden gem in Edinburgh, this gin bar enjoys experimenting with different gins to create fantastic cocktails and classic G&T’s.  A unique venue with 2 Edinburgh Gin stills Flora & Caledonia that you can admire while selecting a bespoke cocktail from the menu. Too many to choose from? No problem, just ask the mixology-passionate bar tenders and they will help and maybe even make something just for you! Get your camera ‘Insta’ ready! There are very popular Gin Master Classes available and booking is essential.

Red Bus Bistro. Edinburgh & Glasgow Bus Tours.

Something Different? We have it covered. Jump aboard the Red Bus and enjoy a unique experience while seeing the sites of Edinburgh or Glasgow. Red Bus Bistro, is a quirky vintage London bus/restaurant touring the wonderful cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, on a daily basis. Whilst tucking into the food you can enjoy a tipple of your choice, whether it be one of our vast range of malt whiskies, a chilled glass of bubbly or one of our signature gin pots, the choice is yours. A great way to see either city and their landmarks.

Overnight Package at Peebles Hydro – Gin Distiller Experience

At 1881 Gin we don’t just produce a fantastic range of gins, we encourage others to produce their very own. Our gin school is a hands on visitor experience including something to eat, some sampling and a tour of the distillery – then on to the exciting bit – making your very own personalised gin on a small scale copper still. Why not book an accommodation package then no one needs to be the designated driver.

My Amazing Matriarch

Whether you are a mum, auntie, granny, that friend we all call ‘Auntie’, carer, even your teacher. Having a strong role model means more than sometimes we care to admit. So this Mother’s Day shout it from the roof tops, and let them know how much they mean to you. Treat them to something extra special this year. Something that you can both enjoy and spend some much missed time together. Below are some ideas to do just that.

Meldrum House, Aberdeenshire – Dome Dining

Nestled into 240 acres of stunning Aberdeenshire countryside, Meldrum House combines centuries of history with the latest in luxury. Treat your own ‘Matriarch’ to the private dining dome experience in the grounds of Meldrum House Hotel. Each dome is named after the stars and can accommodate 6-12 people. Stunning views across the estate and golf course. This is definitely one to remember.

Dowans Hotel, Aberlour, Speyside

A family run hotel, the Dowans is a little slice of luxury in Speyside. Book a stay in one of the beautiful, elegantly styled en-suite rooms. Enjoy dining in the a la carte restaurant, ‘57’ or relax in one of the two bars; The Still, stocked with over five hundred single malt whiskies, or the MBar, with a great selection of beers from the micro-breweries hereabouts such as Spey Valley, WindSwept and Speyside Craft Brewery. Oh and don’t forget the fine range of Scottish Gins and Scottish Gin cocktails that are also delivered with great skill by the Dowans team.

The Gin Spa, Glasgow

The Gin Spa in Glasgow is the first ever gin inspired botanical day spa. Combining superb customer experiences and indulgent, bespoke spa treatments and of course gin!. This is a unique experience unlike any other and with a great selection of experiences and packages to choose from.

Maryculter House Hotel

Steeped in history, Maryculter House in Aberdeenshire on the banks of the River Dee is luxury lying in wait. Why not treat your ‘Amazing Matriarch’ to the ‘Spring into Summer’ Package. The ultimate Spring getaway to relax, unwind and indulge in the beauty of Maryculter House Hotel. Stay between the 1st March 2022 – 30th April 2022 and enjoy overnight accommodation with full Scottish breakfast, bouquet of fresh flowers and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc to share. What’s not to love!!

Shoogle Gin

A family crafted Scottish Gin. Shoogle Gin was a born in Glasgow by a family passionate about spirits. ‘Family is at the heart of everything we do at Shoogle Spirits. Three generations of family are involved in every part of producing and distributing our award winning gin, with each one of us taking great pride in producing a premium craft spirit that others enjoy.‘ As well as their ethical product, the carbon neutral spirit is fundamentally about their family bonds, which makes it an obvious choice when choosing a gift for the amazing matriarch in your life.

We hope you got some Ginspired ideas of what to get for Mother’s Day this year.

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‘Ginning’

Roses are red, Violets are blue, My gift is Scottish Gin, To share with you. ❤

Scotland is renowned for it’s distilling background, especially when you think of Whisky. But what about the Scottish Gin producers. With well over 150 producers in Scotland you are spoilt for choice of which one to buy your beloved. Check out our Ginspired gifts & Dreamy Days Out suggestions below.

LinGin Berry

Image ©Linlithgow Distillery

Linlithgow Distillery latest release is their LinGin Berry Gin. An unsweetened pink gin, the perfect Ginspired gift for your valentine. Check out their website for more Valentine inspiration as they have a great selection of gift options available for starting from £15.00. Each includes a LinGin branded Tumbler and LinGin Raspberry ganache chocolate bar!

The Dundee Gin Co.

Image ©The Dundee Gin Co.

The ‘Heavenly Hamper’ from The Dundee Gin Co.

Choose from any of the delicious gin liqueurs, ready to mix with a mini bottle of prosecco as well as four handmade, bespoke chocolates filled with Dundee gin, made by a local chocolatier. Order now while stocks last.

The Isle of Barra Distillers Ltd

Image ©The Isle of Barra Distillers Ltd

The Isle of Barra Distillers have produced a limited production Rhubarb & Heather Gin Liqueur. This beautiful bottle has a hand dipped wax seal and is literally Sealed with a Kiss – Stamped by Hand with Love. A perfect Ginspired gift for your someone special.

House of Elrick Gin

Image ©House of Elrick Gin

House of Elrick Gin based in Aberdeenshire have a range of premixed cans, making it the perfect picnic partner for Valentines Day. Or why not celebrate Galentine’s day and get the girls together for a catch up. Whoever you choose to celebrate with don’t forget to order a case of pre-mixed cans online now

❤ Ice & Fire Distillery

with J.A. Mackay Hamper

Image ©JA Mackay

The Ice & Fire Distillery in Caithness and J.A Mackay in Thurso have come together to offer this rather lovely ‘Pinky’s Gin Valentines Hamper’ With heart bottles and full of sweet treats, this will definitely earn you some brownie points.

Orkney Gin Company

Image ©Orkney Gin Company

With Orkney Gin’s Mini Mikkelmas Valentines gift box, you have Valentines day all wrapped up. Included in the hamper is a hand-made warming spiced Mikkelmas candle, crafted by another of the island’s small businesses, Moonshine Candle Co. You will also receive a tasty forest fruits craft chocolate bar made by Chocolate Tree These lovely treats are presented with a Mikkelmas botanical card gin mats (designed by Hackney and Co.) in a kraft gift box decorated with romantic red heart confetti. Orkney Gin will even take the hassle out of gift wrapping and can add a ‘special note’ which will be hand written.

Pickering’s Gin

Image ©Pickering’s Gin

Pickering’s Gin Valentines Day shop is now LIVE! Some of the options to choose from are the Strawberry & Black Pepper Gin, Sloe Royale gift pack or the Perfectly Pink Prosecco Pack. You will be sure to find the right tipple for your beloved.

‘Staying’

Roses are Red, Pink, Yellow, Blue. Let’s enjoy a stay in Scotland, Just me and you. ❤

Now that it is slightly easier to get away why not treat your Valentine to an overnight stay. Relax, unwind and enjoy being away and make these most of a change of scenery. And what fantastic scenery you will see.

Crescent House, Edinburgh. A boutique Bed & Breakfast.

A boutique Bed & Breakfast, Venue & Event Space. A Georgian Arthouse in an A listed Crescent, located in Edinburgh’s world famous New Town. The neighbourhood benefits from a vibrant shop and restaurant scene, close to the exciting Broughton Street and the new and dynamic St James Quarter. Launched in 2018 by Scottish Artist Michael Worobec and his husband Paul Skrgatic. Given a refresh and a restyle in 2021. Art and style carefully curated to make for an enchanting space. Included in your stay is the Crescent House signature “Buddha”, continental breakfast.

Saplinbrae Hotel & Lodges in Aberdeenshire

Image ©Saplinbrae Hotel

Originally a coaching inn, Saplinbrae Hotel and Lodges nestle in the stunning scenic northeast Scotland near the village of Mintlaw. It showcases the best in relaxed dining and living. Bedrooms that have traditional character which is rooted in the history of the area and locally sourced ingredients for their all day dining, Saplinbrae is a place for guests and locals alike to enjoy beautiful, honest food, relaxing by the Buchan countryside. Book a stay for you and your one and only.

Hideaway Under the Stars

Image ©Hideaway Under The Stars

Hideaway Under The Stars is set in its own wee slice of Scottish paradise in Moray, Speyside. A totally unique holiday home filled with charm, beauty, and a generous sprinkling of natural magic! Spend quality time  immersing yourselfs in the natural world, far away from the stresses of daily life. The round shape gives you a sense of being “hugged” perfect for a Valentines treat or for that matter an ‘anytime’ treat.

‘Doing’

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Fancy a yachting experience? Me too! ❤

Visiting Scotland is an experience in itself. With stunning mountains, spectacular coast lines, friendly folk and an abundance of things to get involved in. Below is some Ginspired ‘Dreamy Days Out’ to wow you true love.

Flamingo Yacht Charters

 Flamingo Yacht Charters offer a fleet of quality yachts based on the West Coast of Scotland — one of the best sailing locations in the world. Explore the Firth of Clyde and the Hebrides by yacht; sail to the Islands of Arran, Mull, Islay and Skye and navigate around the Mull of Kintyre or through the Crinan canal and beyond. A sailing holiday truly is the best way to experience the rugged beauty of Scotland’s West Coast. Now that would be quite a Valentine’s gift to remember.❤

Lost Loch Spirits – Valentine’s Mini Spirits School

Surprise your significant other, best mate or single pal and together you’ll discover the art of distilling. Guided by the expert team at Lost Loch Spirits in Aberdeenshire you will be using individual copper stills & the intriguing Wall of Botanics – with plenty of tastings from the bar.  Included: 🧡Tour of the distillery 🧡Use of the Lost Loch Wall of Botanics 🧡 Provision of all base alcohol 🧡Shared use of a small copper alembic still 🧡Complimentary drinks (soft & alcoholic) 🧡Complimentary Lost Loch glasses 🧡50cl bottle of your product with your own label. = A Happy Valentine!

Crossbill Distillery, Gin School & Shop

Crossbill Distillery, Gin School & Shop is based in the legendary Barras in Glasgow’s East End, where they distil a range of award-winning, Handcrafted Scottish Gins. Crossbill’s hugely popular Gin School would make a special Valentines gift for any gin enthusiast, where guests can distil their own unique creation to take away and enjoy. Equally why not begin your the start of your enthusiasm for Scottish Gin together.

Just Being…

‘To be present in every moment of your life’.

More than ever people are taking stock of what really matters in their life. With the restrictions over the last couple of years we have maybe rethought priorities, and made the effort to ‘just be’ with the people we love. Why not share with the one you love, your friend, family member or your bestie a trip around the Clyde Islands, and enjoy every moment.

Click on the images, and start your #ScottishGinAdventure

An island gin awaits, just across the water.
The lovely Isle of Bute is changing and ready to welcome you back with a Scottish Gin!
Well known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’ and for its array of wonderful food and drinks, Arran is a very popular destination.
There’s no need to leave Scottish shores when you’re searching for the exotic and luxurious.

There’s no need to leave Scottish shores when you’re searching for the exotic and luxurious.

With palm trees aplenty, Gothic Palaces, tales of pirates, ship wrecks and even a crocodile. All this, as well as some delicious Scottish Gin. The islands of the Clyde offer so much to visitors, and are yet so easily reached.

The beautiful Clyde Estuary.

So put your passports back in the drawer, cancel the airport parking and forget roaming on your mobile. Go west this year instead.

This area is sailing heaven. The stunning Kyles of Bute are a largely undiscovered array of tiny inlets and islets. Lush greenery, tiny castles and more history than you could throw a Viking at. You might not think sailing is for you, but the good people of Flamingo Yacht Charter might well be able to change your mind.

Based at Largs on Ayrshires sunshine coast, Flamingo offers so much. You can join a fabulous day cruise with a double measure of the Isles of Cumbrae (Great and Little). As well as a couple of large gins at the delightful Isle of Cumbrae Gin Distillery too.

If a longer sailing adventure is more your thing, why not join one of their overnight cruises up the Clyde Estuary. Among the stunning Kyles of Bute, looking for wildlife as you go and getting to know your fellow sailors. Spend the evening at luxurious Portavadie, and enjoy the spa, infinity pool ‘the pool with the best view in Scotland’, and have dinner in the award winning restaurant. Overnight onboard the luxury yacht and in the morning to Arran and Lochranza Whisky Distillery.

If you see yourself as a budding skipper, why not book a week for you and the whole family with a captain who can double as your instructor? While the family enjoys their customised cruise around the beautiful West Coast of Scotland, you can learn the ropes of navigation and everything else you need to earn your ticket. If you have older children, why not get them involved too? Come for a holiday, leave with a new hobby and a qualification!

Memories are Priceless

But if like me you just like the idea of a dreamy holiday where you can follow the weather, and be carried there by the winds? Of empty beaches and wildlife encounters and the freshest of seafood to enjoy? If so, why not charter a yacht along with a skipper to handle everything? No airports, no quarantine, no transfers, in fact no one at all, except the lucky few you invite along.

It’s not cheap, but the memories will be priceless.

The lovely Isle of Bute is changing and ready to welcome you back with a Scottish Gin!

My first visit to the Isle of Bute was over thirty years ago. Via the ferry from Wemyss Bay, alongside my then boyfriend, who had lived in Port Bannatyne as a small child.

I was struck by the splendid architecture of Rothesay’s Pavilion. The manicured Winter Gardens, the opulent designs of the merchants’ seafront villas, and the beaches; miles and miles of sandy beaches. I wasn’t to know that I’d come again, several times, to re-visit this lovely island and discover its Scottish Gin!

Early Years

Checking out the Port Bannatyne Primary School alongside one of it’s alumni, who quickly clocked how the scale of it’s buildings had changed. Pretty much in direct correlation with his own. Only in the opposite direction! A four year old boy, walking hand in hand along the beach to school with his mother, had found the entrance archway somewhat more imposing than the six foot three inch boyfriend who now had to duck his head to enter.

In many ways Bute is that boy, and that man. It has a scale and grandeur of somewhere much larger, and yet it is really quite small. Of course, a top end resort in Victorian times, when more really was more. Pre-war, it had to expand to accommodate the contents of up to 100 steamers every summer weekend, bringing holiday makers from the mainland. No wonder it has big ideas.

A Tale of Two Campers

Thirty years ago it was looking a bit tired. Many of the houses needed a lick of paint. Several shops were empty. Holidaymakers just weren’t including it in their plans, now that cheap flights to southern Spain were on offer.

Our own holiday budget at that time ran to a curry from a harbour front establishment, then a late night ninja crawl along the back of the beach at Ettrick Bay. Our goal was to pitch our tent among the sand dunes, and hopefully escape having to pay for the privilege.

Whistle A Happy Tune

The mission seemed to be accomplished until dawn broke. With a howling gale and torrential rain and some council workers walking in our direction. Presuming they were about to extort huge amounts of fines from our meagre stash, we collapsed the sodden tent, gathered everything up in our sleep-deprived arms, and ran back to our car. Once the coast was clear, we set up our primus in the lea of a building next to the car park and waited for the kettle to boil.

Imagine a pair of soggy, bleary eyed, hungover and skint romancers. Amazing to think that we progressed to a happy marriage. Even more amazing at the time was that just as our kettle started to whistle happy tunes, a great clattering noise cut through the howls of the wind. We came to realise that our shelter was actually a tea room, just opening it’s shutters for the day! How they laughed. But for us, we would have spent our last pennies on a hot bacon roll and a cup of tea in a warm room. Bliss.

Light and shade they say. You have to experience the lows to appreciate the highs, and gosh, that cup of tea was braw.


Mount Stuart

We returned to The Isle of Bute on holiday with our young son a few years later. This time with a little more cash in our pockets. We visited Mount Stuart for the first time, and what an introduction.

Built by the 3rd Marquess of Bute it’s a Gothic palace celebrating astrology and astronomy, in acres of Italian marble. A notable collection of exquisite art works and an attention to every tiny detail, make it an absolutely breathtaking residence, even to the day visitor.

It boasts one of the first domestic telephone systems. An early lift and what is thought to be the world’s first heated indoor swimming pool. But then the Marquess was reckoned to be the world’s richest man at one point, so why not?

The Marble Hall at the centre of the house is blessed with an ever changing colour scheme as the sunlight circles the house and shines its rays through the array of stained glass, projecting jewel like colours onto the polished stone. It’s truly magical, and in direct contrast to the simplicity (in colour anyway) of the enchanting white marble Chapel. Find out more here.

Beaches, Castles and Ancient Remains

I was fortunate enough to return in a different guise a few years later still, as a generous PR budget allowed me to hire Mount Stuart for a corporate event. Moving in after the crowds of day guests had departed, and transforming this Palace into a backdrop for a brand launch for 14 people, allowed me to understand the impact it must have had on every visitor fortunate enough to be invited to stay. Certainly it worked for our guests, and we were able to repeat the event a second time, with similar success.

Leaving Mount Stuart and it’s expansive gardens and woodlands behind, the island enjoys a selection of sandy beaches. Stravannan Bay, St Ninians, Kerrycroy, Scalpsie Bay, Port Bannatyne, not forgetting our original find at Ettrick bay of course.

Castles, ancient remains, seals galore, and the West Island Way to explore, which is gentle enough for occasional walkers to conquer with confidence.

Ettick Bay, Isle of Bute

A Food and Drink Revolution

Rothesay is discovering itself all over again with a new wave of food and drink producers to complement the long established MacQueen’s Butcher and Ritchie’s Fish Smokery.

There is now a Syrian Restaurant as a result of Bute opening it’s doors and its hearts to a group of Syrian refugees several years ago. Add the mix of ice cream shops, traditional pubs and fish and chips as well as the American diner, and you may need to hire an e-bike from Bike Bute to work off some of those calories.

One of the island’s most refreshing new offerings is Isle of Bute Gin.

Created in small batches in the heart of Rothesay using a traditional copper still, the range of gins made here include gorse and oyster shells as well as a whole range of botanicals sourced on the island too. Their Gin Garden also offers snacks to accompany the gins, and is open Tuesday to Sunday. To book or buy online, click here.

Where to Stay

You’ll need somewhere to rest your head after a full immersion in the Gin Garden, and there’s no shortage of options. From stately hotels in the heart of Rothesay, upmarket B&Bs in some of the nearby villas, to glamping pods and self-catering cottages. Some of which are in the grounds of Mount Stuart and include full access to the gardens. There’s even a conventional camp site at Roseland, if you don’t fancy mimicking our early Ettrick Bay adventure!

For a full range of places to stay check out Visit Bute.

Getting There

The traditional route to Rothesay is across the water from Wemyss Bay, (timetable here) There is a longer more scenic route up Loch Lomond, through Arrochar, and down the shores of Loch Fyne. This will bring you to Colintraive and the delightful Colintraive Hotel. It’s well worth stopping for a pint, a G&T, a meal, or even an overnight, before starting your Bute adventure afresh with the very short ferry crossing to Rhubodach, just 7 miles north of Rothesay. Timetable here.

But there’s no shortage of fine Scottish Gin to enjoy

Well known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’ and for its array of wonderful food and drinks, Arran is a very popular destination, for quick breaks and longer holidays alike. We think however it offers plenty to do during the shorter days too, especially now there’s Arran Scottish Gin.

Getting here takes around 2 hours door to door from central Glasgow, equally split between road and ferry journeys. For me, the minute the ferry is boarded is when the holiday begins. It’s always a thrill to walk or drive onto the shifting decks. Knowing that you’ve left one world behind and will soon step foot on another. You could call it the Narnia effect perhaps!

Several ferries per day but always book in advance and allow 30 minutes check in for cars. Book Here.

It’s All In The Planning

The key to planning a winter break is to channel your inner pessimist. If you assume that the rain’s going to persist it down, that the wind’s going to try it’s best to blow your hat off, and that your fingers and toes will be constantly numb, you’re unlikely to be taken by surprise. But, if the dawn brings tentative sunshine, the breezes are zephyr like and barely tickling the tree tops, and your fingers can face the world without gloves, what a bonus, what a delight!

The Scandanavians have a word for it – hygge (pronounced hugh gur), but the Scots have been doing it for years. That is, creating warm, cosy, safe spaces to enjoy, even on the chilliest days of early spring.

Remember Billy Connolly’s proclamation ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes’? Well, that’s just the point: it’s not about trying to sunbathe in January. However how does a chair on a beach sound, if you can be snuggled up under a warm cosy blanket, close to a crackling bonfire, with gin cocktails delivered to your side at regular intervals? Now we’re talking right? So, in the radiant glow of the flames, you’re sipping on Isle of Arran Gin and counting the stars. Deciding whether tomorrow should consist of a mountain ascent of Goat Fell, an explore of Brodick Castle’s Country Park, or an otter search perhaps. Or maybe, another visit to the Beach House as you’ve still to sample the Kir Royales made from their very own Cassis…….. decisions, decisions.

Even if the stars are sheltering behind rain clouds, the Isle of Arran Gin Beach House still obliges with a warm fire and comfy seats and those cocktails again! It’s a welcoming, relaxed and charming place to spend a few hours. Sampling the wares, enjoying the atmosphere, and deciding which bottles to take home to share with favoured friends. Who needs sunshine anyway?

Image Credit Arran Botanical Drinks

If you do step away from the shoreline, Arran has plenty to offer in all weathers. ‘After the Rain’ is not just the signature scent of Arran Aromatics. A cottage industry which has grown into a very recognisable brand. Visit them and explore the full range of products. All named after Arran’s wild places, and right next door to Arran Gin. After the rain is also the perfect time to see some of the island’s waterfalls. The double falls of Glenashdale have a gravity-defying viewing platform, so a walk to them also qualifies as an adrenalin sport!

If food and drink is your thing, you’re definitely in the right place! Taste of Arran was established to showcase the produce from this place, and there is so much of it! Arran Brewery, Arran Dairies, The Island Cheese Company (inc Bellevue Creamery) and Wooleys Bakeries in both Brodick and Lamlash. You can visit each one individually, or sample them together in the Taste of Arran shop in Brodick. Don’t forget the Arran Butcher, the brand new Lagg Whisky Distillery and Arran Whisky Distillery at Lochranza, currently celebrating 25 years. As well as Isle of Arran Gin of course. Quite a collection!


Outdoor activities include horse riding at beautiful Sannox or Cairnhouse Stables. Both offer rides just for children at present, but keep in touch as things are changing all the time. Cantering along an open beach on a Scottish island, whatever the weather, must be on many bucket lists, including mine. There are also knowledgeable local guides who can take you on either low or high level walks, perhaps to view wildlife on land or along the shore. Arran’s native animals are often more easily spotted when the landscape is quieter, or the weather restricts their time to hunt or graze, so winter can be the perfect time to see them. Contact Lucy, at www.ArranWildWalks.com for more information.

Another way to see the island’s less accessible charms is within the go-anywhere all-terrain Mogabout. It resembles something from a sci-fi movie, but can carry a family group in style, and once Covid retreats, up to 16 passengers sharing. Hired by the trip or the day, every route is tailored to the exact wishes and needs of each group. Typically, a drive out into the forests, with waterfalls, Neolithic sites, viewpoints (tea and coffee stops built in), and perhaps finishing with a distillery once the daylight starts to fade. Leave the driving to someone else, discover Arran’s hidden places, and have a futuristic adventure into the bargain. Contact Alex on 07799 555287 to discuss your own itinerary.

Image Credit ©Mogabout

If two wheels is more your thing, the guys at Ride Arran can help you. Fully qualified instructors, they tailor each experience to your needs. Everyone from a complete novice to a champion will enjoy this one! Bike hire is available in Brodick and Auchrannie if you didn’t bring your own. Choose from a 3 hour or 6 hour experience if you think your legs can take it!

Where to stay? Hotel or self-catering? Well, if Scottish hygge is the theme, then a warm hotel welcome from the team at the locally owned and family run Douglas Hotel in Brodick offers everything you’ll need. They’re dog friendly in certain rooms, so book yours by contacting the friendly team on stay@thedouglashotel.co.uk. There’s also a special offer running right through until March 2021 for a minimum 2 night stay. Dinner is included and rates start at £109 (per room) per night, so DBB for 2 for 2 nights for £218. Can’t be bad.

There’s also a range of self-catering, B&B and guest house accommodation listed on www.visitarran.com You can book online there too.

An island gin awaits, just across the water

Less than one hour by train from Glasgow, and around two from Edinburgh, getting to the Jewel of the Clyde, or Great Cumbrae , couldn’t be easier. It makes a perfect destination for a short break or even just a day trip. You don’t even need your car!

Neither will it break the bank. A full rail return from Glasgow costs less than £20. Add the ferry (£3.40) and a brief bus fare, and you’re on one of the Clyde’s prettiest islands. With lots to see and do, even if the weather isn’t at its best.

Cumbrae has been inhabited since the 5th Century, and played a part in subduing Clyde Smugglers in the 1700s. It was a favourite for holidaymakers in the 40s, 50s and 60s as they headed ‘doon the watter’. Recently the island has seen growing numbers of visitors who enjoy the peace and quiet, spectacular views, and a gentle pace of life. People talk of a feeling of relaxation slipping over them as they head out on the 8 minute ferry ride from Largs to the Cumbrae Slip. Isn’t that something we could all use just now?

Welcome to island life.

Once on this island of 1000 bicycles, (and three bicycle hire shops) there’s plenty to occupy come rain or shine. First stop has to be the Isle of Cumbrae Distillery. Locally produced ‘Nostalgin’ has proved so popular that the island ran out of tonic when it was first released in September 2020! Don’t worry though, there’s plenty to go around now, and Nostalgin is widely stocked in pubs and bars across the island.

A Friendly Bunch

Do pop in to the shop and visitor centre by Millport’s harbour. Sit by the roaring log fire, chat to the all-female team of founders, and enjoy a sample of this delicious gin. Make sure you buy at least one bottle to take home with you. There’s mail order too if you don’t want to carry it. Tours can now be booked online too. Enjoy being the first of your friends to sample one of Scotland’s newest gins, and don’t forget how much they’d love a bottle as their Valentine’s or Galentine’s gift this year!

If your tooth is sweet and your appetite bolstered by the cooler days and longer nights, you’ll need no persuasion to visit Brewbakers of Millport. Here Johanna produces amazing chocolates, bread, cakes, quiches, biscuits and any manner of treats. Including, Nostalgin infused chocolate truffles! Now how can you miss those? They would make a perfect Christmas gift too.

Isle of Cumbrae Gin with bramble and orange chocolates.

Golfing, Biking and Eating

If you need to burn off some of those delicious calories, Cumbrae has its very own James Braid designed golf course, Millport Golf Club. Hiring a bike and cycling the 10 mile or so perimeter road is also a popular pastime on a bright sunny day. Some of the bikes available come with three or four wheels, or try a tandem. (Sit at the back and no one knows you’re not pedalling, just eating more truffles!)

Perhaps you prefer to stay on your own two feet, in which case a short climb to the Glaid Stone will reward you with views all around on a clear day, and keep you warm into the bargain.

On days when the clouds are also visiting Cumbrae, leave them outside while you visit the beautifully restored Garrison House in the centre of Millport. Built in 1745 it’s now home to a museum (free admission) telling stories of Cumbrae’s past as an anti-smuggling station. It also has a model railway on display, a craft shop and a café. Truly something for everyone. The UK’s smallest cathedral, The Cathedral of the Isles, is also in Millport, and provides retreat-style accommodation for visitors too.

The Newton Bar
Copa Glass icon
Frasers Bar

When hunger bites, both the Newton Bar and Frasers Bar offer good pub food and also Nostalgin (with plenty tonic back in stock!). So, complete your day with a hearty meal before heading back to the ferry and your return to the real world. Or stay overnight and enjoy more island life tomorrow. Those truffles are very moreish after all!

2022 is well underway and Burn’s Night is just around the corner. With that in mind we thought we would share some of our Scottish Gin suggestions to rival any Whisky, for your ‘At Home Burns Supper’ this year. 

Traditionally toasting Robbie Burns with a ‘dram’ of Whisky, and for the true Scots among us, usually neat, we thought we would come up with some Scottish Gin suggestions for all you ‘Lads & Lassies’ out there who want something different this year.  A break from tradition maybe? However, we think you will be Ginspired by these Burn’s Night Scottish Gin suggestions.

Avva Scottish Gin

Avva Scottish Gin is located in the old Cathedral City of Elgin and the famous distilling region of Speyside. Launched in October 2016 Avva Scottish Gin have gone onto produce an award winning portfolio of spirits. Their latest limited-edition release has been ‘The Forgotten Cask’ with only 50 bottles being produced. Read the story of how the ‘wee bit more than a wee bit’ was found, creating this rare bottling. A unique opportunity to buy a limited edition, numbered bottled with a matching numbered presentation case. A perfect centre piece for Burn’s night supper.

Pixel Spirits Distillery & Gin School

Pixel Spirits is a Scottish gin and rum distillery set in the scenic grounds of Loch Leven Hotel in North Ballachulish, West Highlands. A small batch distillery, with bottling and labelling by hand. Some bottles are even individually numbered and signed by Craig, the Master Distiller! Pixel Spirits Oak Aged Gin is extremely rare. However with only 7 bottles ever made in the 1st batch, you’ll need to be quick to impress your Burn’s supper guests!

Linlithgow Distillery

The team at Linlithgow Distillery matured their LinGin in a Glen Moray whisky butt originally used to age bourbon. The end result, LinGin Cask Aged Gin. With golden caramel hues and a balance of vanilla and caramel, perfect over ice. Ideal for a Burn’s night toast.

Lassies Toast Gin, Dunnet Bay Distillers

The title for the most northerly mainland Distillery in the UK belongs to that of Dunnet Bay Distillers, producers of the award-winning Rock Rose Gin.  We all strive to make our Gin shelves that little bit different and have a variety of expressions for just the right occasion. Why not fill that space on your shelf with the Rock Rose limited edition ‘Lassies Toast Gin’. This gin has been inspired by the Moorland Tea that Robert Burns is rumoured to have enjoyed in his time.  So, come on all you Lassies (& Laddies) order a bottle online in time for Burns Night.

DeliQuescent

DeliQuescent specialist Microbatch Spirits are crafted in the Scottish Borders and infused with fresh botanicals, fruits and flowers.

Specialising in Microbatch gin and fresh cocktails, DeliQuescent is home to the World’s First Haggis Gin!

Descibed as ‘Unexpectedly braw’! Perfect neat, no ice. or alternatively… try with Scotland’s other National drink’ Irn Bru… Definitely a Scottish Burn’s Night essential!

Don’t Forget The Tonic!!

A match made in heaven – G&T, Gin Tons, Gin & Tonic! Sometimes the humble tonic is under estimated. But the mighty tonic makes up 3/4 of your heavenly drink so is worth shouting about!

Walter Gregor’s Tonic Water – Making small batch tonic waters in Walter Gregor’s former parish of Pitsligo in Peathill, Aberdeenshire. Environmentally conscientious their packaging is made from 100% cardboard and fully recyclable so no need to worry about excess wrapping when signing up to their subscription boxes. This months subscription box is the January Totally Tonic box. Showcasing our Limited Edition Scottish Neep Tonic Water. 3 x Scottish Neep Tonic Waters, 200ml each3 x Original Tonic Waters, 200ml each. A definite for your burns supper!

Cushiedoos Tonic – A blend of healthy botanicals & NO quinine. Described as a ‘tonic for those who hate tonic waters’ As well as having no ‘naughty’ ingredients, Cushiedoos successfully launched their ‘Campaign Against Carbon’ campaign. With the “Buy 1 get 2 tree” initiative’ every 12 bottles of Cushiedoos bought they will plant one tree. So not only do you have a cracking tasting Scottish G&T in hand, you are also doing your bit for the environment. Win, win!

Love Tonic – A tonic that does not mask the flavour of your spirit, only enhances it. A quinine free tonic that can enhance your favourite spirits. Try it with gin, vodka, whisky, tequila or rum and prepare to fall in love with Love Tonic.

So whatever tipple you choose to toast the haggis, make it Scottish. Check out our Gincyclopedia for other Scottish Gin ideas. Buy direct online, and have them delivered right to your door step.

Slàinte Mhath!

This is a ‘Gift Promise’ to plan a Ginspired Getaway adventure in Scotland.

Whether we plan an afternoon out, a cheeky getaway or let our inner distiller run free with a Gin School Experience, the best gift will be the memories made.

Use the Ginspired Blog, ‘Christmas All Wrapped Up’ for Ginspiration and use the links to book directly.

🍸 If we need more Ginspired Ideas for our Gift Promise we can check out the helpful hints and tips below. 👇

How To Be Ginspired

Check out Ginspired Scotland Region by Region and see which each has to offer.

Book accommodation direct. Use links for the latest updates and information about your stay.

Book activities direct such as Gin School Experiences, Gin Distillery Tours, Castle Visits, even Bungee Jumping if it takes your fancy

Make your own itinerary or choose from some of Ginspired Scotland’s ready made ones, ranging from day trips to longer getaways.

Remember, you can create your own Itinerary for FREE using the Gincyclopedia and plot all your stops; accommodation, distilleries visits, restaurants, places of interest even where your going to shop!

Once you have selected all your stops, you can view your completed (and perfect) itinerary on the map. You can also view the directions, email to one another and print out the road directions to take with you.

Gindulge in Advent this year and treat yourself to one of the many Scottish advent calendars that are available to drink buy!

Ginspired have chosen a small selection from around Scotland that would make the most fabulous addition to your December! So Gindulge in Advent this year, support local and best of all you might just find your new favourite.

Chocolates of Glenshiel – £28 plus Free Delivery

Behind each door is one of our deliciously unique chocolates, handcrafted here in Glenshiel using the very finest Scottish ingredients. Treat yourself or someone special to an indulgent taste of Scotland this festive period.

Images ©Chocolates of Glenshiel

The 12 LoneWolf Gins of Christmas – £39.95 plus Free Delivery

The 12 LoneWolf Gins of Christmas is back. Every year our distillers get to experiment and create new flavours and twists on our flagship LoneWolf gin..

Images ©Brewdog

Pickering’s Gin

Pickering’s Gin brand new flavoured gins for you to get acquainted with over the festive period. Don’t forget about the ever popular Pickering’s Gin baubles!

Images © Pickering’s Gin

Eden Mill 12 Gins of Christmas – £75

Eden Mill’s luxury 12 Gins Of Christmas gift set comes beautifully presented in a brand new-black and copper presentation box with illustration details. The set contains a band of twelve full strength gin miniatures in their bespoke sustainable glass bottles as well as two bespoke Eden Mill gin glasses!!

Images © Eden Mill

City of Aberdeen Distillery, Personalised tasting Box – £29.99

A tasting box containing 5 miniatures (each wrapped in tissue), two distillery drink mats and a distillery leaflet. 

This tasting box is personalised with your special own message!

Images © City of Aberdeen Distillery

Solway Spirits Monthly Subscription Box – From £7 a Month

Solway Spirits offer a monthly subscription box so you could treat yourself or someone special to a monthly delivery. Each delivery consists of 1 x 5cl Solway Spirits GIN, 1 Mixer plus tasting notes & serving suggestions. Each year there will be 12 different Solway Spirits Gin to sample, nothing will be repeated unless requested.

Images © Solway Spirits

GinPin – Series 1 – Ultimate Collection (5 boxes per month) £62.50 Per Month

Subscription GINPIN

Secure the complete Series 1 with a 4 month subscription from as low as £6.99 per box. A set of 5 BOXES per month for 4 months, spreading the cost along the way. Cancel any time. Each month you will recieve 5x GINPIN’s, 5x Coasters/Map Pieces and 5x 5cl Gin’s which are optional.

Images © GinPin

Ginspired Scotland – Taste The Adventure Tasting Pack

This makes for a great way to spend a cosy winter evening with your favourite Adventurer. Plan your next trip to Scotland sip by sip!. Each pack contains 5 x 50ml samples of the gins featured (enough for two good measures) plus Scottish Tonic and the Travel Guide full of hints and suggestions for Route.

Images © Ginspired Scotland

GIY ‘Gin It Yourself’!

With so many Scottish Gins to choose from, it may prove tricky to select the perfect Advent Calendar to gindulge in. So why not make your own. Below is a selection of Gin brands now producing miniature bottles. So pick and mix until your heart is content and experience Scotland sip by sip.

Image ©Gorgeous Scottish Gin
Gorgeous Scottish Gin 10cl.
Image ©Persie Gin
Persie Gins are available in 3 sizes. 5cl miniature, 20cl snack size & 50cl standard size.

Image ©Linlithgow Distillery  
LinGin Colours gift set contains a 50ml miniature of each of the four LinGin Colours flavours – Lime, Coconut, Yuzu and Raspberry.
Image ©Pilgrim’s Gin
Pilgrim’s Gin range available in 5cl miniatures with swing tops.
Image ©Darnley’s Gin
Darnley’s Original gin and Spiced gin are available in sizes. 5cl &, 20cl sizes. Navy Strength Spiced gin available in 20cl.

Image ©McLean’s Gin
McLean’s Gin available to buy in trio 20cl gift packs. Choose from Classic Trio or Colour Trio.
Image ©Isle of Bute Gin
Miniatures gift pack which include four 5cl miniatures of Isle of Bute Gin, the Isle of Bute Gin pin and two Isle of Bute Gin coasters.
Image ©Tobermory Distillery
A beautiful handcrafted glass bauble from Scottish company; Angel’s Share Glass filled with our delicious award winning Tobermory Hebridean gin. 

Image ©Glaswegin
Glaswegin Original or Raspberry & Rhubarb 5cl Christmas Crackers.

‘No gift is too small to give or too simple to receive, if it is wrapped in thoughtfulness, and tied up with love.’

If you’re lucky, you’ll have someone in your life who means more to you than you do to yourself. Someone who allows you to be you, and despite that, loves you anyway!

Sometimes, letting them know how much they mean to you gets forgotten. So this Christmas Ginspired Scotland has it all wrapped up, and is lending you a helping hand to select the perfect package for every type of special someone:

(Unless your special someone has four legs and fur. In which case we understand they do a great range of stretchy animals complete with strange internal noises, at your local pet shop).

Scan the QR code to to access to Ginspired Gift Promise to send to your loved ones this Christmas.

(Just hover your camera over the QR code and the elves will magically create a web link for you to click on. You’re then free to email or share it with your special someone/s)

So, is your best beloved one of these?

Appreciates the arts, music and culture, as well as some very classy Scottish gins?

If so, we recommend a couple of nights at the elegant Crescent House in Edinburgh. Add a relaxed perusal of The National Gallery or the Portrait Gallery, perhaps hosted by the hotel’s own artist owner. Top off the day with a tour or two. Check out Edinburgh’s finest Gin distilleries, say Pickering’s and Holyrood Distillery.

The Russian Ballet are performing Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet in early March at The Playhouse. You could dance your way into your loved one’s heart on tippy toes!

If you like to plan ahead, Edinburgh’s Jazz Festival takes place in July 2022. Held at a range of venues across the city. Would that blow your trumpet?

Double rooms at Crescent House start at £100

Sprinkles the extra frisson of thrill as their ‘life seasoning’ of choice? Probably loves the zestier Scottish Gins too.

Ideal for them would be a stay at the Shepherd’s Hut at Inshriach. In the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, this is off grid living at it’s purest.

The beautifully pure Inshriach Gin is also produced on the estate. Kinrara, Cairngorm, Byron’s and Daffy’s Gins are not far away either.

From here, there’s hiking and skiing in the hills. White water rafting, gorge walking, abseiling, paddle boarding, wild swimming, in the Lochs, and so much more for your brave soulmate to indulge (or plunge) into.

For you, there’s a woodfired sauna on site. Some lovely gentle walks, loads of fabulous gins, and a very comfortable bed to snooze in.

The Shepherds Hut from £74 per night

Needs a regular dose of Vitamin Sea to get those endorphins flowing like a spring tide?

Scotland’s west coast and islands are pools of perfect refreshment. Here, both saltwater and juniper based liquids combine, for maximum sensory satisfaction.

We tend to swim towards North Uist’s Downpour Gin, which as luck would have it, is poured at nearby Langass Lodge hotel. So while you feast on local seafood, your dooker of choice can frolic in the wild Atlantic beside endless pristine sandy beaches.

The beautiful island of Mull is well known for it’s wild life and wild scenery. The island’s favourite spirits are produced at Tobermory Gin and Whitetail Gin distilleries, and there’s nothing tame about either one!

Stunning seascapes at Calgary Bay and Bunessan. These match any views your Mermaid or Merman might yearn for, and it’s just as beautiful summer or winter. So whether it comes in a glass, or an ocean, start loving that clear refreshing Scottish liquid.

Colonsay is a tiny island but is HUGE in Scottish Gin! Home to TWO fabulous gins, and even a ‘Gin Lovers Retreat’, it really does punch above its weight. Discover Wild Island Gin and Colonsay Gin, while exploring the island itself. Kiloran Bay is not to be missed, and of course as an island outpost, the ferry trip alone will be a thrill for your briny babelicious to enjoy.

Langass Lodge Double rooms from £110

Think fresh flowers on the breakfast tray, stolen moments strolling through a fragrant garden down to the shore, tempting dishes to share and delight in, and learning something new together?

We’re dreaming of Kinloch Lodge on the unspeakably romantic Isle of Skye. Cuddling a Gin School experience together with Misty Isle Distillers in nearby Portree.

Whether surrounded by snow capped mountains, ice crystalled rockpools, and roaring peat fires, or endless summer days, walks on coral sand beaches and nibbling on wild strawberries, what can beat this, summer or winter?

If you want to show your special someone just how much they mean to you, this Skye will not limit you one bit.

Kinloch Lodge & Gin School, 3 nts DBB & your own gin from £720 pp

Not necessarily male, this tough cookie likes a challenge and the chance to prove their worth (often on Instagram). You quite often stand in awe as you witness their bravado, although sometimes you might sit down.

Encourage their inner Viking by setting up a voyage of discovery to new lands and horizons. Ensure you’ll always have someone to unscrew the tightest lids and remove the spiders from the bathroom.

Raise your game and your spyglass and point to the ancient Norse territories of Orkney and Shetland. Home to giant standing stones, legendary runic engravings, Viking palaces and fantastic Scottish gins. There is nothing to stop you pillaging a few to bring back to home turf.

Kirkjuvagr Gin even has a Norse name (say kurk-ya-var to impress someone). While Seaglass Gin and Shetland Reel Gin are easier to pronounce but no less delicious to drink.

If you have time, take the ferry to truly immerse yourselves in the seafaring experience. You can sit on deck and pretend to row if you wish, but it may get a wee bit draughty out there. The ferry from Aberdeen leaves at G&tea time, and arrives in Orkney just before midnight.

Spend a few days exploring all the history, landscape and wildlife of these fascinating islands, before re-embarking (no swords required, just a boarding card) for the overnight voyage to Shetland. From Lerwick on Shetland’s mainland, it’s a further two short ‘cruises’ to Yell (we dare you not to), and onwards to Unst. This is where Shetland Reel Gin is hewn from the landscape. Seek out the replica Viking Long ship and Homestead, try the gin in it’s northern outpost, and let them feel every inch the Warrior Crusader they really are.

Northlink Ferries from Aberdeen to Kirkwall from £260 return for a car & 2 passengers to Orkney, or add £170 to continue to Lerwick, Shetland

This preferred pal is not prepared to be pigeon holed. Open to anything, the only thing out of the question is predictability.

While we’d love them to be a pure gin enthusiast like us, they choose to keep their options open, and we rather love them for that. So, let’s deliver something they’ll love too, in any combination they could possibly wish for.

Ginspiration tells us that Scotland’s north east corner offers everything you need for this challenge. So, that’s where we’re sending you. Combine visits to Ginneries, Whisky Distilleries, and Breweries. Stay in gorgeous hotels, eat the finest local food, and admire the stunning land and seascapes, in an area often overlooked by mainstream tourism. Elgin’s Avva Gin takes it’s design inspiration from the glorious medieval Elgin Cathedral, while Eight Lands Gin is created in the shadow of the mighty Ben Rinnes, the tallest peak in these parts. So from city to mountains, along the route of the River Spey, we keep them guessing….

The Ginspired North East

It’s not just gin too, Avva creates some wonderful liqueurs and Eight Lands Vodka is also rather delightful (although clearly we prefer the gin). Just down the road is Caorunn Gin, and further towards the coast is Roehill Springs Gin, so you really are spoilt for choice and variety around here.

Whisky Distilleries abound, and one of the newest to open it’s doors to visitors is at Glenallachie, near Aberlour. A variety of different tour styles here hold something for everyone, even those who secretly prefer Scottish Gin (shush).

Newly re-designed visitor centres at Glenlivet and Cardhu Distilleries really are world class and unmatched anywhere. We recommend booking in for at least one while you’re here, and surprise your other half with an new twist on a traditional experience.

Lossiemouth is home to the Windswept Brewery, who’s little bar will tempt you with samples of its finest ales, alongside pizza and tapas if required.

Local Guides & Luxury Hotels

There’s a whole range of libations on this list, so we’d suggest booking a lovely local host, who can steer you to all of these locations and drive you safely back to your bed for the night. More in Moray, DM Executive or Moray Firth Tours are all excellent, and have a range of vehicles to suit your needs.

And for accommodation, well again, lots of choices. The luxurious Dowans Hotel in Aberlour puts you within walking distance of both Glenallachie and Aberlour Distilleries. There are a variety of camping options in Speyside if an alfresco experience appeals. Or in Lossiemouth Posiedons Inn and The Firth Hotel are both good and throw in sea views from many rooms. Elgin has The Mansefield Hotel and The Laichmoray Hotel, both of which stock a wide range of Scottish gins so you can continue the education of your travelling companion from the comfort of a bar stool.

Dowans Hotel doubles from £190 B&B, Poseidons Inn Doubles from £60 B&B & The Firth Hotel doubles from £59.99 B&B

These locations and many more are to be found on the Gincyclopedia.

This Christmas why not promise to plan an adventure in Scotland, with that someone special. Experience somewhere new, be in awe of the Scottish landscape, and be truly Ginspired by Scotland.

👆Click on the link and email or share the Digital Gift Promise with your someone special.💓

Plan it as a surprise or plan it together while tucking into the leftover turkey.

If you’re in luck, and follow Ginspired’s advice, you might get something in return. After all, life is the gift of nature, love is the gift of life, but a KISS is the gift of love. Get ready to pucker up…..

As COP26 descends on Glasgow, what can Scottish Gin do to help our planet?

Are you ready for COP26?

Unless you’ve chosen to self-isolate from all recent news, you can’t have missed that COP26 is about to land on Glasgow. Appropriately, Glasgow’s name translates to ‘dear green place’. However, these days ‘green’ has a whole new meaning. Can Scottish Gin play it’s part?

COP stands for Conference Of Parties, and what a party it will be. Not in the jelly and ice cream shindigs of Glasgow’s childhood memories. Nor in the Billy Connolly-ised ‘tuck a carry oot under your oxter and listen for the music from the tenement windaes’ kinda way. No, COP26 Glasgow will be a whole series of gatherings of the great, the good, the loud and the opinionated. Hopefully with a smattering of common sense and rock solid commitment thrown in.

So what is COP26 Glasgow likely to achieve?

Is our ‘dear green place’ going to deliver us a dear green world? One thing is guaranteed, it will bring the huge scale of the climate crisis right to the forefront.

I hear you sigh, and well you might. It will be hard to avoid the realities. Sea temperatures rising, ice packs melting, polar bears perishing, and coastal flooding, without feeling entirely helpless and powerless.

We’ll despair of our politicians and business leaders as they flannel away with their assurances and grand promises at Cop26 Glasgow. From experience they’ll wither to nothing once the votes are cast. Yet there IS hope. There IS power for us ordinary folk, (no pun intended). And of course there is Scottish Gin!

Now you might think I’m making light of it all, and I shudder that I might, but not at all. Not for a minute. We can all do our bit and we can all make a difference. As a matter of fact our Scottish producers are already being kind to our planet! Some are using green energy, others recyclable packaging, some use biomass boilers, or have changed to more efficient lighting. Others are caring for the world in different ways. Perhaps making their premises more accessible, supporting endangered animals or planting trees to off-set carbon emissions. Every bit of this is great, and we can all support them by recognising their efforts and buying their products.

Icon for Ginspired Travel Kindly

We’re so inspired, we’ve built a new campaign!

‘Travel Kindly’, using #TravelKindlyScotland, to encourage visitors to consider their impact on the planet when they make their holiday plans. Allowing them to choose Travel Kindly accredited businesses as part of their trip.

We’ll soon be launching an annual Travel Kindly award, but more to come about that soon…..

Below are some of our favourites. We’ve given each of these businesses a ‘Ginspired Travel Kindly’ accreditation. But please share with us any more examples you might have come across.

So, in order to save a polar bear or two, we can switch off lights & eat less meat. We can walk and cycle more. Let’s use electric cars and public transport while wearing an extra cardi. We can make that switch to renewable energy. Turn down the heating, and all of those things we’ll be hearing and reading about during Glasgow’s COP26. BUT, and best of all, we can drink Scottish Gin while we’re doing it. Now that’s my kind of party, and one we can all show up for!


Highland Region

Our site uses only low carbon mains electricity, most of which comes from the wind farm at Forss, so our distillery is fully powered by green energy. We’re pretty proud of that.​

North Point waste will soon be sent to the biomass plant right next to us, and our waste will be converted into energy for on-site car charging points and low carbon energy for the local community. It’s always nice to give back.​

Our bottles are made from recycled glass. Our corks and labels come from sustainably conscious partners and have carbon-free certifications. Being plastic-free was a deliberate choice and no single-use plastic components will be found anywhere in our spirit production. 

Image ©North Point Distillery

Our independent family-owned business provides much needed employment in a fragile rural economy. The distillery currently employs fourteen staff members to create and market its multi award-winning spirits and promote tourism in Caithness.

We generate our own electricity using solar panels on the distillery roof and Rock Rose Gin, is the first gin available in fully recyclable pouches that can be returned to Dunnet Bay Distillery, freepost via standard Royal Mail. Once at the distillery, the pouches will be passed on to be upcycled into new items.

Image ©Dunnet Bay Distillers

At Kinrara, we are very aware of our surroundings. We are fortunate to be based within the heart of the fantastic Cairngorm mountain range and national park.

The Cairngorms Mountain Rescue Team provides assistance to injured or lost persons in the mountains. The area that they cover includes the Northern Cairngorms, Ben Alder and areas of Monadhliath Mountains to the East Side of Loch Ness.

The team is made up entirely of volunteers who give their time freely to help those in need of aid in the mountains. 

Kinrara Distillery has chosen to support the CMRT as our nominated charity this year. This will see us donating  and supporting the team throughout the coming year.

Image ©Kinrara Distillery

Orkney & Shetland Region

Our products are truly handcrafted. Our entire production process is by hand, from the creation and distilling to bottling and labelling. We are proud of our values in our small, family-run business, ensuring we can operate in harmony with our surroundings in Deerness.

Our deer logo is also handcrafted; created and lino-cut by our designer, Caroline. This attention to detail has been carried through to the bottle labelling, with the designs being originally drawn and hand-cut.

We also stock our own range of Deerness Distillery merchandise, which has been sourced and produced by local businesses. Its packaging uses luxury recycled gift bags and ethical tissue paper. This is a testament to our commitment to the environment, and to supporting small local businesses similar to ourselves.

Logo ©Deerness Distillery

Argyll Region

The Islay Hotel is heated with ground source energy, with individual thermostats in every room as well as low energy light bulbs and dimmer switches. As a hotel we aim to reduce the consumption of fuel, energy and water by offering renewal of towels on demand as opposed to daily.

In our bar and restaurant we support local produce from Islay such as chocolates, marmalades and preserves, meat, dairy and fish from the Island as well as great produce from the rest of Scotland. Our kitchen is solely electrical with induction hobs which limit waste of fuels and excess heating.

We aim to recycle as much of our glass (brown, green and clear), paper, cardboard, organic and non-organic waste as possible. As a team our staff are aware of environmental efforts and receive regular instruction, information and training on relevant environmental issues.

Image ©The Islay Hotel

The Jura Community Shop is owned and managed by its community.  It is the only shop and post office on the island and is located in the main village of Craighouse. It is also the perfect spot for a blether and to catch up on island news.  

We were supported by the Big Lottery Fund and, with the support of our customers, became fully independent and sustainable by 2017.  As a community shop, all our profits will go back into supporting and developing the shop and other community projects.

We use Aquapak at The Botanist – a revolutionary product which has been made into a see-through “leave no trace” plastic bag, which literally disappears before your eyes. It is 100% water soluble, recyclable, compostable and biodegradable; causing none of the issues regular plastic does when we dispose of it. 

Our distillery’s commitment to the environment and wider community was one of the things which earned us B Corp status – a short hand for using our business as a force for good. It was our fellow B Corp company Finisterre, who helped develop the technology for these magic bags – which basically break down into water, carbon dioxide and ‘mineralised biomass’; a natural biological breakdown step of the carbon in the material into carbon dioxide and water. 

Image ©The Botanist

We replaced our two older boilers with a 150kW wood pellet boiler, which saves over 76 tonnes per year, the equivalent to boiling over 3 million kettles!  We’ve also  added a huge pellet store, helping to reduce the number of deliveries needed to our remote location.  We buy from farmers where the animals are born and bred on the property, never leaving until ready for the abattoir. All our seafood is as local as can be, with langoustines, lobsters, and crab landed in Argyll.

We use refillable pump dispensers in our main house lavatories, reducing plastic bottles to landfill by 97%. We have 90% low energy light bulbs and radiators with thermostatic valves, as well as light sensors in many areas. Toilet cisterns are replaced with smaller dual flush cisterns. Old linen is recycled or goes  into a charity textile bin at Kilninver School. Towels are used in the kitchen or for cleaning. Kitchen vegetable waste is recycled to our own compost pens.

Look out for our bat box in the woods. We had to re-house a colony of bats there after a storm blew their previous home away! They are happily settled now. We engage local tradesmen for our building work and restoration projects and we recently installed our first E-car charge point.

Images ©Loch Melfort Hotel

Central Region

We now have a fully recyclable glass bottle, and isn’t it beautiful!

At the start of the COVID­­-19 outbreak, there was a national shortage of hand sanitiser, we wanted to do our part to help the community. We started to produce sanitiser and took the conscious decision not to sell it to anyone, this was a donation, we felt that in times like these no one should be profiteering.

Image ©McQueen Gin

Pitlochry Festival Theatre is a not-for-profit theatre. We are committed to helping to reduce the impact of our activities on the environment by using recycled products wherever possible, minimising litter onsite and reusing as much of our waste as possible. We also recycle the materials used to create our stage sets.

Image ©Visit Scotland

We are fully committed to selling produce from local and Scottish suppliers. Our location, to the south of the Sidlaw Hills, serves up a plentiful bounty of nature’s larder.  From our famous Rooster potatoes to the juiciest berries from the Carse of Gowrie , we pick and choose only the finest in season fruit and vegetables and offer them directly to you.

Every product is tried and tested to make sure it meets our high standards – after all we want you to love our products as much as we do.

So if you’re looking for a farm shop that really shouts about great local produce, and great personal service with a smile – then you’ve come to the right place.

Photo of Pitlochry hydro dam

As part of the SSE group we are committed to being a sustainable, responsible and environmentally friendly organisation. We are proud to have been awarded a Green Tourism gold award! Come and see us soon.

Image ©Visit Scotland

Edinburgh & The Lothians Region

Old traditions die hard. Here at Bloodline Spirits we are following in the footsteps of our forebear Andrew Usher and his descendants. He was a lover of the arts and gifted Edinburgh the sum of £100,000 to erect a great hall for music, theatre and performances to be held. Although Andrew sadly died before its completion in 1914, the impressive Usher Hall remains one of Edinburgh’s main venues for the arts today. His brother John meanwhile helped establish and fund the John Usher Institute of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh. For this generosity, he was made a baronet in 1899.

The family continued to make vast donations to local hospitals and charities. Sir John’s son, Robert, the second baronet, purchased Hallrule House near Jedburgh, so named from the River Rule that runs through the estate. The name lives on in our Rule Gin

Image ©Rule Gin

OUR NEW ‘BRIDGE TO HOME’ SERVICE IS BACK

We are using suppliers, such as Shaws Fine Meats, I. J Mellis cheese,  bread from Breadwinner Bakery,  fish from Welch’s Fishmonger.

Our  ‘B to Home’ service is a way for us to work with our suppliers and the community to provide a ‘shop’ and to reduce the amount of trips made by you to the supermarket.

Image ©The Bridge Inn at Ratho

Secret Garden Gin image for COP26 Glasgow

Our labels are 30% grass and 70% FSC-certified virgin pulp. Manufactured without chemicals, they require 97% less energy and 99% less water. This results in 75% CO2 savings. Our glass bottles are widely recycled. We use biodegradable viscose shrink bands to seal our bottles. Our shipping materials are paper which is FSCS approved and recyclable.

In our garden we use no chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides. It is completely sustainable as well as self-sufficient. This is also known as permaculture.  

All the botanicals in our gardens are hand-harvested, this helps reduce our carbon footprint. When soil is ploughed, it releases trapped carbon, therefore we limit digging in our gardens, so not only are we keeping the trapped carbon in the soil, but we are also actually capturing more. We use completely organic compost, so no chemicals touch our soil.

In the garden, we limit our plastic consumption to only using recyclable plastic pots and offering discounts when these are returned. We have planted over 8,500 trees and juniper which encourages wildlife, carbon capture and soil health.

Since the start of our journey in 2012, we have always had bees at the centre of everything we do from bee keeping courses, educating school children, and harvesting our honey from our hives. Liberty, our co-founder, is also a trained beekeeper and looks after our 30+ on-site hives.

Images ©Secret Garden Distillery

COP26 Glasgow Red Admiral Gin image

The Red Admiral Gin is made from start to finish by hand, bottled and labelled in East Lothian by Bob, our Head Distiller, and the rest of the team. 

We also work with a network of Social Enterprises around the country to help put together the final part of the packaging process and to send to our customers.

Butterflies are a symbol of conservation and our hand drawn images on the labels are as a tribute to the Naturalist John Muir who was from East Lothian. He was the father of National Parks in America and an early founder of the conservation movement.

Soon, we will be adding a little sachet of Wildflower Seeds onto our bottles so we can plant these at home to encourage the activity of Butterflies, Bees and other pollinators.

Image ©Edinburgh Preserves

Glasgow & The Clyde Region

Cumbrae Distillers image for COP26 Glasgow

T

As Isle of Cumbrae Distillers prospers, an indicator of our success will be our ability to create employment and training opportunities for our young people in Millport;  employment is one of the biggest challenges that hinders Scottish island development and sustainability. In the buildout of the company, we also plan to engage with business and tourism schools at Scottish colleges and universities,  to provide internships for students interested in future opportunities in the distilling business.

We are proudly committed to sustainability and to ensuring our products and packaging are chosen deliberately and responsibly. As members of the island’s beach clean team, we know first-hand the impact that plastic has on our beaches and wildlife and are committed to conducting our business in a socially responsible and ethical manner, protecting the environment and benefiting the community.

Image ©Isle of Cumbrae Distillers

COP26 Glasgow image for Glasgow Gin

At Glasgow Gin, we regularly receive requests for sponsorship and products to be raffled off for charity.  While we know every cause is worthy, it’s simply not possible to help everyone. So instead, we’ve chosen to support a single charity that’s close to our hearts – Guide Dogs Scotland.

We know you’ll understand that by focusing our efforts on just one cause, our donations will have a more significant impact. That’s why we’re supporting the charity’s puppy scheme, helping them to train a dog and transform the life of someone living with sight loss.

Our puppy, named Duke (what else!), was born on 1st December 2020 along with his siblings Gorby, Jamie, Ludo, Theo, Bill, Sylvia, Lucy, Hazel and Marnie.

Image ©Glasgow Gin

Pentland Hills Gin image for COP26 Glasgow

It’s all about a bit of give and take…

Where we can we will grow our own botanicals, we will use water that rises on our land and power the systems that we use through our solar and other renewable power supplies.

The amount of juniper trees to be found in Scotland has been reducing over time and since 2015 has been struck by a pathogen which often causes the death of the tree. We have begun to replant our land with juniper trees with the aim to provide a sustainable supply of juniper berries to go into our gin.

Our aim is to use, or reuse much of the gin making material as possible, for example the tails of the distillation process is used to make soap. We also intend to offer a service where you can return your empty etched bottle to us (along with the packaging) and we will return it to you refilled with our gin!

Image ©Pentland Hills Gin

COP26 Glasgow image of Shoogle Gin

The community we work and live in motivates and inspires us, reinforcing our sense of family and prompting us to consider the impact we have on the people and places around us.

Starting our life in a rural area gave us an appreciation for the environment around us and how it is affected by everything we do.

We’ve built Shoogle Spirits from the ground up to be as environmentally conscious as possible. Our glass bottles are sourced within the UK to limit transportation, our closures are natural wood and cork, and our packaging is all fully biodegradable. Used botanicals are composted for use in growing herbs in our home garden and we recycle water used in production as much as we reasonably can. We’ve even switched to an electric vehicle to help us in our mission to be carbon neutral.

We recognise though that there are some things we have little control over or cannot reduce our impact any further. This is why we’ve worked with a third-party organisation to help us gain our carbon neutral credentials, sponsoring projects and initiatives that look at reforestation and environmental restoration the world over.  We are proud that Shoogle Gin is carbon neutral, and think it tastes even better as a result.

Image ©Shoogle Gin

North East Region

Balmoral Castle image for COP26 Glasgow

Balmoral Estate is committed to ensuring that it operates in a sustainable manner and has environmental policies in place, reducing its impact on the environment wherever possible and ensuring that the estate is maintained for all generations to enjoy.

Image ©Visit Scotland

COP26 Glasgow Walter Gregors image

We take our responsibility to the environment seriously. The prospect of adding more bubble wrap to landfill discouranged us from venturing into online deliveries. So we have thought out of the box, about the box.  Working in conjunction with our cardboard packaging supplier, we have developed our innovative delivery solution which holds our small glass bottles securely in place during transit.  This packaging is made from 100% cardboard and fully recyclable through kerbside collections. At the very least, it performs just as well as bubble wrap and for us, it is a game changer.

This philosophy stems from our approach that as farmers, we are custodians of the countryside. It is our responsibility to leave the countryside we farm in a condition fit for future generations.

Here on the farm where we are based, we work closely with the RSPB to maintain and improve the habitat for our large population of Corn Buntings. This is a small, native bird which nests on the ground whose numbers across the UK have been under pressure for a number of years. Through maintaining traditional farming practices, we host one of the largest populations of Corn Buntings in the UK.

Image ©Walter Gregor’s Tonic Water

Skye & The Western Isles Region

Barra Gin for COP26 Glasgow

SMALLEST CARBON FOOTPRINT

Our shipments leave only a small carbon footprint throughout its extensive journey from us to you. We utilise existing methods of public transport links to send our gin to the mainland and beyond.

Image ©Isle of Barra Distillers Ltd

COP26 Glasgow image of Misty Isle Gin

All Misty Isle bottles are made from glass and are recyclable. We check every bottle of Misty Isle before it leaves our distillery to ensure the highest quality.  Our shipping cases are fully recyclable. We utilise existing methods of mail delivery to reduce our carbon impact when dispatching orders. 

 Solar panels help power our distillery and we planted 50 juniper trees in our distillery grounds to help with our carbon reduction. 

We strive to use as many local and small businesses.  From printers to packaging suppliers. We stock various local and Scottish goods in our Island Shop as well as a varied collection of other Scottish spirits. 

Tommy’s Gin was created in memory of our late father Tommy Wilson.  Tommy served in the British Army during the Suez Crisis.  We take great pride in distilling Tommy’s Gin and with every bottle of Tommy’s Gin sold, we donate to local Military Charities.

Image ©Isle of Sky Distillers

Southern Scotland Region

COP26 Glasgow image of Selkirk Gin

Jane, in our team, has actively supported a variety of charities in the past, including taking part in the Moonwalk, volunteering to help the homeless, and helping with AIDS awareness projects.  The support she herself has received from the MS Society since her diagnosis made her determined to fundraise for them too.  This is how the 1953 MS Gin was born.  The 1953 is not only a truly unique and aromatic gin, the sale of each bottle contributes £10 to the MS society. 

Image ©Selkirk Distillers

COP26 Glasgow image of Kerr's Gin

We’re proud to be a zero waste distillery with all the organic by-product from distillation going to two local farms where it is used to grow plants (including some delicious tomatoes!). The organic by-product from those two farms goes back in turn to the barley fields – making for a circular economy within Borders farming with the distillery at its centre.

For the water which goes into the spirit, we draw from an underground lake deep beneath the site. The lake’s water takes between 50 and 70 years to filter down from the hills through the rock. Even if it never rained again (unlikely in the Borders!) the lake contains enough pure water to last the distillery for thousands of years.

Right outside our front door, the River Teviot offers a sustainable source of fast-flowing water – perfect for cooling the spirit as it comes from the stills, an important stage of the production process.

Traditionally celebrated with stacked high bonfires burning long into the night and skies full of colourful fireworks. The bangs, popping and whizzing echoed with the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ from the crowd watching on.  However, things are changing and as we are in the middle of COP26 this got Ginspired thinking about the environmental effects of the traditional celebrations, and what we could suggest as Bonfire Night Alternatives.

We are not saying don’t celebrate at an organised fireworks display, but maybe think about the effects on the environment.   Read on for some hints and tips that you could do instead. Maybe start new traditions within your own family, as well as looking after the planet.  Win, Win.

Make a Guy with the Family

Make your own mini Guy Fawkes scarecrow by stuffing old tights with newspaper and dressing it in shabby clothes and straw. Keeping the tradition of Bonfire Night alive…without the noise!

Biodegradable Confetti Canons

Why not try ‘petal canons’ or even ‘wild flower seed cannons’, to create a bang. Not only are you helping look after the environment, but you are creating wildlife habitats for years to come. These are widely available online.

Eco friendly Sparklers

I think everyone has memories of swirling sparklers and watching them shine in the cold dark night.  Keep that tradition alive with Eco wooden Sparklers.  Made of wood, the stick just burns away as it is being used and all the ash drops to the floor, all you are left with is a wooden handle, which can be recycled.

Bake Bonfire Cupcakes

Bad Girl Bakery
Loch Ness Gin and Tonic Cupcakes 

Treat your family and friends with some Bonfire Cupcakes.  Get all the family involved. 

Or for an adults only party why not make Gin & Tonic cupcakes to start the party off with a bang. Enrol the help of the Bad Girl Bakery who make these amazing Loch Ness Gin and Tonic Cupcakes.

Gin Infused Hot Chocolate

Image ©Pentland Hills Gin

Pair your bonfire bakes with a Pentland Hills Gin infused Hot Chocolate. Check out ‘Panzas winter warmer’ a rich, dark chocolate overload. You’re welcome!

The gorgoeus Panza is also proud to introduce their brand new FIREWORK GIN! It is is offered in a 50cl bottle at 45% abv. AND it’s available to be refilled once the last drop is done. CLICK HERE TO BUY

Image ©Pentland Hills Gin

Fireworks Cocktail

A fiery cocktail and a must for bonfire night is McQueen’s Chilli Negroni. Made with McQueen 5 Chilli Gin. A harmonious blend of five of the hottest chillies on the planet; Ghost, Carolina Reaper, Guajillo, Scorpion and Orange Habanero, creating a heat like no other gin.  Are you brave enough to taste the burn and do it anyway?

Click here to see the recipe.

Image ©McQueen Gin

Lots of Ginspired ideas and bonfire night alternatives of how to keep the celebrations alive without hurting the environment.  After all it is about the little steps. For more information on our Travel Kindly COP26 Campaign Click here.

#TravelKindlyScotland #TogetherForOurPlanet

With an Autumnal feel to the weather, the landscapes are gradually changing colour. The trees are turning beautifully orange, and red and plump Halloween pumpkins are arriving in the shops ready to be transformed into leering lantern faces.

2022 is Visit Scotland’s Year of Stories, which we are soon going to have plenty to say about! With that in mind the team at Ginspired have selected a few ‘Fables for the Fearless’ & ‘Calming Cocktails’ to get you right in the mood for Halloween, and to give you a sneaky peak at our Spirited Stories Collection!

Ghostly Glamis

Glamis Castle, the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, claims to be one of the most haunted historic houses in Scotland. So when visiting, make sure to keep an eye out for Lady Glamis, who is often reported to be drifting in mist around the clock tower. An unknown ghost in the ‘Haunted Room’, and a white lady who drifts along the corridors may also join you on your visit.

If that’s not enough to get you in the ‘spirit’ of things keep a look out for a long legged ghoul, known as Jack the Runner. Be careful in the courtyard, as sources have recorded a pale girl being dragged away by an invisible force. We will leave the giant in armour who looms over people in bed, and the re-enacted murder in the parlour, for another day!

If you are brave enough to visit Glamis Castle be sure to pop in and see the team at the Gin Bothy. They are a friendly bunch and not the least bit scary.

The Bothy Experience, home of the award winning Gin Bothy is nestled in the historic village of Glamis in Angus, just minutes from the gates of Glamis Castle. The Experience, like a bothy, is free to explore. The Bothy Beginnings room takes you through the Gin Bothy journey while the Bothy Tales room tells the story of Bothies across Scotland.

The Bothy Larder shop has locally sourced food, drinks, and carefully selected gifts, as well as takeaway hot and cold drinks, and treats from Bothy Bakery.

Click here for the Bothy Toffee Apple Cocktail Recipe. Featuring seasonal apples with a Halloween inspired twist.
Chilli Devil served with tonic water.
Image courtesy of The Gin Bothy.

Calming Cocktail No.1 – Black Thistle, Heather Empress

Over to the east of Glamis Castle you have Black Thistle Distillery. Their Heather Mist is perfect for cocktails. This shimmer gin will leave you spellbound.

You will need:

2 oz Heather Mist Gin

1 oz lemon juice

½ oz peach syrup

¼ oz violet liqueur

¼ oz simple syrup

3 lemon Twist


Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill it 3/4 with ice.

Shake until chilled, then fine strain the cocktail into a coupe glass.

Garnish with an edible flower, if desired. (make sure it’s not Deadly Nightshade!)

Cocktail recipe and image courtesy of Black Thistle Distillery, Brechin.

The Big Grey Man

Scotland’s spookiest mountain has got to be Ben Macdui in the Cairngorms. Not only is it the UK’s second highest peak but it also has a reputation for ghostly apparitions, particularly in winter.

Climbers high up on the mountain have often reported an eerie atmosphere, the sound of footsteps following them and even sightings of what has become known as The Big Grey Man.

One explanation offered for this is a phenomenon of reflected light which only occurs in very high places. This is known as The Brocken Spectre. In effect, it is the climber’s own shadow reflected back at them. This is why The Big Grey Man is often reported as disconcertingly copying everything the climber does. Sounds like a great excuse to try out your best Strictly moves and see what happens!

Cairngorn Gin range with miniatures, glasses and barware

In the shadows of Ben Macdui is the Cairngorm Gin Company. Nestled beneath the breath-taking Cairngorms in the Highlands of Scotland, it is one of Scotland’s newest micro-distilleries. Distilling and bottling the small batch premium spirit, they use only the finest botanicals and crystal clear water from the River Spey. Currently there are no tours available, but click here to buy it online.

Calming Cocktail No.2 – Bees Knees

With the addition of honey, this cocktail may help calm the nerves. We suggest using Caorunn Gin, Daffy’s Gin or how about Inshriach Gin all nestled within the Cairngorms National Park.

You will need:

50 ml Scottish Gin

20 ml lemon juice

1 tbsp. runny honey

Lemon twist, to serve


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.

Add gin, lemon juice and honey and shake until chilled. 

Serve in a martini, or coupette glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

The Gorbals Vampire

In 1954, gangs of children, some as young as 4, armed themselves with sharpened sticks, stones and penknives. They began patrolling the Southern Necropolis graveyard at night. The children believed that two schoolmates had been eaten by a 2 metre tall vampire which was said to have metal teeth and stalked the area. The fearless youngsters had come to destroy it.

Officials tried to keep the graveyard gates locked and guarded. Despite this, the children swarmed over the walls in search of the monster for several nights. The incident was blamed on mass hysteria caused by children reading too many scary comic book stories. And we thought computer games were always to blame…

Photo © Bradley Michael (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Crossbill Gin bottle with a Gin & Tonic ready to drink beside bottle

Just across the river Clyde is Crossbill Distillery. A great place to hide from any vampires that might be about. Crossbill Distillery, Gin School and Shop is a stop not to be missed. The hugely popular Gin School is where guests can distil their own unique creation to take away with them. The lovely gin is also available online. Click here to buy yours.

Calming Cocktail No.3 – Ellis Bewitching Butterfly Cocktail

The Ellis Bewitching Butterfly uses one of Ellis’s colour changing gins – the Ellis Butterfly Pea gin.

For this magical mystical cocktail you will need:


25ml of Butterfly Pea Gin

Top with 25ml Blue Curaçao 

Garnish with Lemon 


Grab a tall glass and fill with ice.  Add the gin.

Slowly layer your lemonade over the top and watch the Butterfly Pea gin change from Blue to Lilac!

Garnish with Lemon. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Cocktail recipe and image courtesy of Ellis Gin, Glasgow.

North Berwick Witch Trials

One of many persecutions of women during the late 16th Century, was the North Berwick witch trials. Over 200 women were accused of casting a curse on the ship carrying James the VI and his son home from Denmark. The accused were said to have gathered in a church in the town and summoned up a huge storm which almost sunk the ship off North Berwick. The trial took two years, and all those found guilty were burnt at the stake at Edinburgh Castle. The victims of the witch-hunting craze, are remembered with this memorial. (Spooky isles)

Photo © kim traynor (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Having your own slippers provided on arrival, a visit to NB Distillery encourages you to relax and enjoy your time there. No worrying about witches or other spookiness! You will get the chance to sample all of their world class spirits and a final drink of choice. A selection of canapés made by local chefs are served, and even include some NB infused foods.

Click to buy online

Calming Cocktail No.4 – Selkie Gin, Jack o’ lantern Negroni

You will need:

 Selkie gin

Edinburgh vermouth rosso

Edinburgh bitter


Pour the Gin, Vermouth and Campari into a mixing glass or jug with ice. Stir well

Strain into a tumbler

Fill the glass with ice, and garnish with an orange slice, using a blood orange when in season.

Cocktail recipe and image courtesy of Old Poison Distillery, Edinburgh.

Haunted road

Haunted castles and graveyards in Scotland yes, but had you heard about the haunted roads? Two brothers who were travelling along the A75 road from Annan to Dumfries, reported seeing some terrifyingly strange entities which appeared in front of their car. Phantom animals, an old man, and a woman who resembled a traditional witch were among the sightings. Their ordeal ended when they thought they were about to hit a white van speeding at them head on. However, just at the moment of impact, the vehicle vanished into thin air.

Another couple whose vehicle broke down on the A75 near Annan got more than a little shock too! They watched a pair of legs taller than their car run past them, disappearing into nearby woods with no body attached…

Solway Spirits Image

Solway Spirits is an award winning, micro craft distillery, located on the beautiful coastline of the Solway Firth in south west Scotland, with not a giant white snake in sight

All products are distilled, hand bottled and labelled here at the distillery, using the finest ingredients sourced from British suppliers. Call in at their shop where you can meet the team and sample before you buy. Or buy online here.

Calming Cocktail No.5 – Oro Gin, Honey Pot

A lovely honey and lemon cocktail. It is delicate and light, and perfect in front of a cosy fire. (black cat optional)

You will need:

50ml Oro V

25ml Lemon juice

25ml Honey Syrup

30ml Egg White (optional for the head)

Serve over ice, and enjoy.

Cocktail recipe & image courtesy of the Dalton Distillery.
Honey Pot Cocktail, with guest appearance from Coco, the Oro Distillery cat. To buy Oro Gin Click here.

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In parts of Scotland, October half term has always been known as the ‘tattie holidays’. Traditionally, kids and adults alike used to spend the time picking potatoes from the fields.  Earning extra money for the winter, the back breaking work done by hand was the way the holidays were spent.  No staycations, flying to exotic locations, or lying beside a pool. It was into the tattie fields, and into battle with whatever the autumnal weather threw at you.

The Finest from our Farms

With the introduction of modern machinery, whole fields of tatties can now be picked in half the time. We are very lucky throughout Scotland to be able to get the freshest of produce from the many Farm Shops spread around the country. 

Tattie picking is maybe a thing of the past, however you can certainly still enjoy some farm experiences. Maybe try your hand at fruit and berry picking. Definitely sample the many Scottish Gins where the botanicals are gathered on the doorstep of the distillery.

We have compiled a starter list for you to check out when you’re on your ‘Tattie Holidays’

Farm Experiences

Aberdeenshire Highland Beef

Take an exclusive tour around our working farm, meet our native breed, have the chance to photograph them, learn about their history and receive a delicious Highland Beef Tasting.

Spaces are limited so please book well in advance to guarantee your spot!

Tour duration: 1 Hour + Beef tasting and coffee/tea.

Bellevue Farm

Farm Tours take place around our farmyard as part of a group and last approx. 1.5hrs. Visitors have the unique opportunity to help feed the animals, collect the eggs and hear from the farmer about farming life. You can see what happens on a real working farm and hear how the routine changes throughout the seasons. Tours can be tailored to your individual interests, so let us know what you would like to learn more about or see!

The Wee Farm at Spring Croft

A small family hobby farm initially set up to become more self sufficient. There are goats, hens, bees, pet ponies, pigs, sheep, ducks and rabbits. Seasonal farm experiences are held throughout the year.

Scottish Gins

Arbikie Gin

Arbikie is one of the rare, sustainable ‘Field-to-Bottle’ distilleries in the world and the first single-estate distillery in Scotland to distill both white & brown spirits..

The Wee Farm Disitllery

The Wee Farm Distillery and Steak & Still Farm Shop are boutique, specialist food and drink outlets for homegrown and local produce based at Forth Mains Farm, South Lanarkshire.

Roehill Springs

Bottle of Roehill Springs Gin with a backgound of orange slices and a glass with a G&T

Roehill Springs Distillery is a small premium, artisan gin distillery based on the family-run farm at Newtack, Grange, Keith, Moray.

Cairngorm Gin

Cairngorn Gin range with miniatures, glasses and barware

Experience the spirit of the Scottish Highlands in a bottle; small batch, hand-crafted premium distilled Cairngorm Gin.

Farm Shops and Deli’s

Allarburn Farm Shop

Farm Shop where we sell our Allarburn Free Range & Barn Eggs, our Allarburn Vegetables and our Award Winning Wagyu Steak Pies & stock lots of other Fresh Local Produce & Gifts.

Netherton Farm

Prime scotch beef available from our family run farm situated close to Aberlour, Moray. All beef is from our own cows, born and bred on the farm. Grass fed and matured for a minimum of 21 days to maximise taste and tenderness.

Balliefurth Farm Shop

Selling high quality grass fed beef and lamb from Balliefurth farm. Also selling a wide range of other meat products and an extensive range of deli items, including oils and dressings, conserves and hampers.

Rothiemurchus Farm Shop & Deli

Superb quality, natural, and absolutely scrumptious, Rothiemurchus offers some delicious ingredients for your culinary creations and hearty home cooked meals. Whether you are looking for mouth-watering goodies for a dinner party or a personalised gift hamper, the farm shop and deli offers you a delicious array of produce.

Wark Farm
Soil Association Certified organic farm butchering and retailing meat from it’s own traditional breeds of British livestock.
Selling direct to people and homes in central Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen.
Monthly farm shop and monthly delivery direct to the door.

Louise’s Farm Kitchen
Where we specialise in bringing naturally good food from our farm gate to your dinner plate.

Finzean Farm Shop
Our shop stocks a wide range of local food suppliers. Home-reared beef, seasonal wild venison and game, locally supplied meat, vegetables and fruit, artisan cheeses, eggs, freshly baked bread, Finzean honey, preserves and ready-made meals are on sale with a wide selection of delicatessen and other food sundries.

Forest Farm – The Organic Dairy
Forest Farm is an award winning organic dairy, home to our small herd of happy organic cows who have the freedom to roam and graze on lush green pastures, just as nature intended!
Our certified organic farm is also home to Scotland’s first milk vending machine, established to provide our local community with the opportunity to buy milk from the cows they see grazing on their doorstep, as fresh as it can be!

Hattoncrook Farm Deli
The farm Deli opened in 2004. The main objective was to provide the best quality beef – our own pure Aberdeen Angus – and to compliment it with other quality products specifically sourced for a complete food experience.
There are other meats and game, cheeses and biscuits, wines and coffees plus a selection of preserves and chutneys.

Castleton Farm
The shop was open seasonally from June until October selling our own fruit and local meats, cheeses, vegetables and much more. The shop grew in popularity and in 2008 we opened our custom built Farm Shop and Café at the end of the farm road.

Peel Farm
There is now a coffee shop, Courtyard gift barn and farm shop, and luxury holiday accommodation. The aim is to offer fresh, local, food and to use as few food miles as possible. The Coffee Shop is quaint and cosy and offers indoor or outdoor seating.

Grewars Farm Shop
We are fully committed to sourcing as much of our products as possible from local businesses.
Every product is tried and tested to make sure it meets our high standards – after all we want you to love our products as much as we do.
So if your looking for a farm shop that really shouts about great local produce, and great personal service with a smile – then you’ve come to the right place.

Blairmains Farm Shop and Coffee Bothy
At Blairmains Farm Shop you will find a large selection of fresh fruit and Veg. Our aim is to source as much local and Scottish produce as the seasons allow. During the summer months all our soft berries are locally grown and you can really taste the difference.

Speyside Food Market
We now have a 24/7 food hub based at Elchies farm where our produce can be found in vending machines. Fantastic drinks machine & seating where you can watch the animals

Check out the Gincyclopedia for accommodation options to extend your day trips into a getaway.

Ginspired Scotland's interactive map showing destination points.

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This day trip starts and ends in Banchory (ish). Easily accessible from Aberdeen, Stonehaven, Braemar, or Alford. In fact, it’s just very accessible! As well as mixing up landscapes with a bit of history and art, it focuses on great food and drink. All with a real local emphasis.  Passionate producers, creative artisans, and beautiful scenery. So whether you enjoy it all on the day, buy something delicious to take home, or order some delectable comestibles online. Whatever your preference, discover the whole range of Deeside’s Delights, with Ginspired Scotland!

A short trip out of Banchory and crossing the Potarch Bridge over the River Dee will bring you to the Ballogie Estate and The Potarch Cafe.  A perfect place to begin your day, with some coffee and a homemade piece. You’ll be needing the refreshments if you try your hand at carrying the Dinnie Stanes across the bridge!  This feat was achieved by the redoubtable Donald Dinnie in 1860, when he carried both stones (together weighing 330 kg) across the 5m long bridge.  He was a serious strongman and athlete, winning many prizes and becoming a celebrity before we knew the word existed. Others have managed it since, but you’ll need to have had a mighty bowl of porridge to start your day this way!

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We recommend your chosen day for this trip is a Friday or a Sunday. The reason for this is that there are some pretty wonderful Scottish Gins made in Deeside. On these days you can get up close and personal with one of our favourites.  Eenoo Gin is made at Lost Loch Distillery, near Aboyne. On Fridays and Sundays at 12 noon, it’s usually possible to pre-book a tour, complete with lots of information, and some samples too.  Perhaps this will be your first visit to a gin producer, but you can come back for the full Gin School Experience once you get a flavour of this tasty topic. 

Standing Stones & Country Kirks

Stone Circle at Tomnaverie for Ginspired Scotland Royal Deeside day trip series.

Dragging yourselves away from Aboyne, head for some fresh air, and the remarkable stone circle at nearby Tomnaverie. No one can truthfully explain the reason for the shape and aspect of these stones, but note the ‘altar stone’ as it faces Lochnagar.  Perhaps the mountains were regarded as gods, perhaps it had to do with tracking the moon and the sun and the seasons, perhaps it was none of the above.  Perhaps we’ll never know, but it’s great fun to explore and hypothesise. You’re unlikely to be proved wrong after all!

Migvie Kirk cemetry as part of Ginspired Scotland Royal Deeside day trip series.

Coming back to the present day, yet remaining with one foot in the past, do drop into the gorgeous and very atmospheric Migvie Kirk.  It’s completely off the tourist path, but definitely worth a look.  Created as a tribute to his mother by the estate owner, what was once a small and simple country kirk is now a jewel of art and reflected light.  From the outside it offers little to give away it’s charms, but once through those carved oak doors, there’s a real sense of peace and refuge here.  Give yourselves a little time to settle and enjoy it.  This type of space is rare enough these days.

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Another great reason for a weekend visit to this part of the world is The Steading Bar in Forbestown, Strathdon.  Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays just now, it’s a wee gem. Surrounded by splendid mountain scenery, yet cosy and welcoming for guests.  A great selection of local beers, whiskies and gins of course, plus handmade pies and sharing plates of regional cheeses to enjoy. Just to keep you going!

If you’ve not had your fill at The Steading, Crathie’s Highlander Bakehouse will be sure to tempt your tastebuds. Great coffee, home bakes, breads and pastries abound.  Take some home with you if you can’t find room in your tum.  You’ll join a royal army of fans who are so delighted to find this bounteous bakery beside Balmoral.

By now you’re heading back east towards Banchory, but don’t miss a stop at the Cambus O’May Cheesery.  It’s open from 10 – 4.30, Thursday to Sunday, and as well as supplying you with their own cheeses to take away, they also have an onsite cafe, so you can sample the goods on home turf. If time is against you, why not buy on-line through the link instead. We can’t have you missing out after all.

Beautiful Banchory

To bring this delightful day to a close, we could ask you to choose one of two options:-  Either pop into the Strong Water Co. shop on Banchory’s High Street and pick up something tasty for tea (don’t forget the liquid to go with it – all the local gins are here!) OR book into The Cowshed, on the Raemoir Road (just past the garden centre), for one of their amazing dinners.  They are members of the Scotch Beef Society, so you can be sure they know their sirloins from their ribeyes.  If you’re anything like the Ginspired team though, choosing between two delicious offerings, just isn’t possible.  So why not have both?  Book dinner at The Cowshed and pick up one of The Strong Water Co’s Dine @ Home packs for tomorrow!

We hope you’ve had a delightful time in Deeside. 

If you prefer to spread it out over two days, that’s a great idea.  We would recommend accommodation at Tor Na Coille Hotel in Banchory, The Boat at Aboyne, and The Deeside Inn in Ballater. 

For a complete list of options check out the Gincyclopedia.

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Aberlour is one of Speyside’s loveliest small towns, and shelters in the lee of Ben Rinnes, Moray’s highest mountain.  It’s whisky ‘The Aberlour’ also benefits from Ben Rinnes as its water source, and its hard to travel far around here without the distinctive profile of ‘The Ben’ looking over you.

Trig Point at Ben Rinnes
Glenrinnes Distillery. Home to Eight Lands Organic Gin.

The south side of the mountain oversees Glen Rinnes, and the distillery it’s named for.  Here Eight Lands Organic Gin is created, yet another quality spirit this region can be proud of.  Productive arable farmland, fine beef and lamb, grouse moors and game shoots, plus the River Spey itself all contribute to a peerless area of food production and, as you might expect, an abundance of creative chefs all making the most of this bountiful larder.

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It’s a great excuse for a weekend away, or just a day trip if time is short.  Within an easy hour and a bit from both Aberdeen and Inverness, this peachy part of Moray is worth getting to know a little better.  We would suggest basing yourself at The Dowans Hotel in Aberlour, or one of the delightful self catering cottages nearby.  Daleigh Cottage at nearby Advie is gorgeous for up to 4 guests, and Woodburn Cottage within walking distance of The Ben has three double bedrooms. Both happily allow dogs too.  There are a collection of B&B’s, and some camp sites too.  Check out the Gincyclopedia for the full selection.

If you do choose to self-cater, Aberlour is perfectly packed with provisions!  Why not start at Walkers Shortbread shop on the High Street. This global brand began life here in Aberlour, and the main production plant is at the end of the town.  The shop offers a comprehensive range of their finest products.  After all, everything tastes better where it’s made.  Opposite the Walkers Shop is The Speyside Whisky Shop We say whisky, but it has a great selection of Scottish Gin too, as well as glassware and accessories.  Expert advice is on hand, and mail order is also available, so don’t be shy! 

Purchases, Pairings & Pure Deliciousness!

Just along, on the far side of the square is The Spey Larder, a lovely traditional delicatessen, with a completely awesome selection of cheese from all over Scotland and elsewhere.  Grab a selection to pair with your whisky and gin – both work really well (see our blog on food pairing here).  Coming out of the deli cross the road to S.A. Mackie Butchers shop to pick up something for breakfast or supper.   A few paces further down brings you to an irresistible art and gift emporium The Gallery in Aberlour & Spey Sport. I challenge you to reappear without a purchase.  I never have. Think ahead to the next birthday gift you’ll need to buy, and look for it here – you’ll find it!

Tight Lines

Aberlour also benefits from it’s proximity to the River Spey which borders the town to the north west.  Fishing beats break up the river banks. Fishers can be seen wading deep into the Spey from early February until mid September. 

These days any salmon that are caught are released. This is so that they can continue to reach the spawning grounds further upriver. Not before a selfie in most cases! The Spey is one of Scotland’s longest rivers, and the fastest flowing.  None of the water from the river actually goes into the local whiskies. The water from the nearby springs does, and many tributary rivers are used for cooling purposes and for the power that they generate. 

In the 18th & 19th centuries timber from the forests of Rothiemurchus and Glenmore was floated down the Spey to the shipyards of Garmouth and Kingston.  Thomas Telford’s beautiful bridge at Craigellachie was completed in 1814.

So, you have your accommodation, supplies, and some background knowledge.  But, what to actually do?  Well it won’t have escaped your notice that this is a spirited place!  Take your pick from Gin, Whisky, or even Vodka, and you will find plenty to be discovered. 

Travel In Style

At this point I should also mention some great local transport companies who will happily ferry you to and from your chosen victualler, in case you find the product as irresistible as the landscape.  Speyside Executive Hire, More in Moray, DM Executive, and Moray Firth Tours all offer a range of vehicle sizes, some with a guide, others without.  Click the links highlighted to learn more.

Whisky Galore

Aberlour Distillery is an obvious first port of call.  Some of the newest whisky experiences near Aberlour are to be recommended.  Open Wednesday to Sunday, by appointment, the hosts are passionate whisky people and the drams are pretty good too!

Image ©Aberlour Distillery Facebook Page

Several of the existing whisky distilleries have recently had makeovers, so even if you’ve been before, the tours are new and you’re sure to learn something fresh.  Cardhu Distillery is now welcoming guests into a previously private part of the site, as it connects more closely with  its giant Johnnie Walker brand, and The Macallan has a completely new distillery and visitor centre in a splendid architectural marvel on the hillside, overlooking Craigellachie.  One of our favourites is The Glenallachie Distillery, just a mile or so outside Aberlour.  It changed ownership recently and has just opened it’s doors to the public for the first time.  It’s independent, picturesque, and produces some award winning whiskies which are finding new friends all around the world.  We recommend a visit here.

Glenrinnes Distillery is also a newcomer. Producing fully organic vodka and gin in it’s modern distillery on the flanks of Ben Rinnes itself.  The water comes from a mountain spring and the spirit is produced from a mixture of wheat and barley.  Eight Lands is a London Dry Gin, and is making itself known in stylish cocktail bars.  Tours are available, so discover your stylish side here in Speyside!

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Of course many people come to the region to conquer ‘The Ben’.  There are two main options here: either you follow the main track from a small parking area off the ‘Beatshach, a small road linking the Spey Valley and Glenrinnes, or you go the other way!  Find the tall red chimney of Ben Rinnes Distillery (not open for tours unfortunately), and park at the ‘Ben end’ in a row of kindly laid out parking bays.

‘The Ben’

Follow a narrow path up between fields and through some old birch woods until the vista opens out to heather moors and the sandy track ahead to take you up the Ben.  You may choose to climb to the top, via the second summit at the northern end of the plateau, or take the base route. This follows the contours of the front of the mountain, crossing burns as it goes. 

This ‘low road’ is actually longer than the ‘high road’ above, but not as strenuous. The ups are matched equally by the downs, and none are overly long.  However, after a lot of rain the burns become a raging torrent, so it might be best avoided then unless you like to paddle? I prefer the low road.  You’re likely to see no one else and to see far more non-human life. Look out for grouse, partridge, red deer, buzzards, long tailed tits, and lizards on warm days, plus the occasional sighting of a golden eagle every now and again if you’re lucky. 

Of course there are also low level walks following the River Spey and the Speyside Way.  Take a tiny taste of it by walking from Aberlour to Craigellachie and visiting Thomas Telfords beautiful arched iron bridge as it crosses the gorge under the tree smothered cliffs above.  With it’s own sandy beach, you can get right to the waters edge for a paddle.  It’s roughly a 2.5 mile round trip back to Aberlour, or stop off in Craigellachie for a dram at The Copper Dog or the Highlander Inn next door.

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Once you’re done, you will have all those lovely whisky, gin, cheese, meat, and shortbread goodies to look forward to. Or enjoy a gorgeous meal of locally produced ingredients at your hotel.  What could be better?

We hope you enjoy your time around The Ben.  Why not link it to another nearby day trip?  Perhaps Elgin or Lossie or Forres to Findhorn?  There’s so much to see and do.

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The River Spey has been synonymous with two things for many years:  Whisky and Salmon.  This pocket sized day trip allows visitors to sample both, while keeping miles to a minimum, and still tasting the full flavour of this beautiful and unspoilt area. Don’t forget you can print out the ‘Speysider Showcase’ day trip to take with you on your adventure.

Craigellachie Bridge Image ©Visit Scotland

Although this adventure covers just a small area, I would heartily recommend an overnight stay, at least one!  This route starts and ends at the very welcoming Delnashaugh Hotel which would make a perfect base for this mini-Highland holiday.  Don’t be put off by the tricky name.  It apparently means ‘daffodil’, which is a charming reflection of this bright and cheery perennial!

The Delnashaugh is just off the A95, between elegant Grantown on Spey and Aberlour.  It’s in easy reach of Inverness, Elgin, and Aberdeen, and only just north east of the Cairngorm National Park too, so it has mountainous vistas, wooded river valleys, and all of the wildlife you’d associate with upland Scotland.

Image ©Visit Scotland

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From the Delnashaugh head almost due north to the tiny hamlet of Knockando, by crossing the mighty River Spey at Blacksboat, where the road also crosses the Speyside Way.  This long distance footpath celebrates it’s 40th anniversary this year, and plays host to thousands of walkers who enjoy its 65 mile length from the coast near Buckie in the north, right down to Aviemore at it’s south-western extent.

Whisky, Walking & Weaving.

Knockando for many years was the pint-sized base for the top two of Scotland’s best selling whisky brands; J&B Rare came largely from the eponymous Knockando Distillery. Whilst just a little further above the river, Cardhu Distillery produces the spirit base of each of the Johnnie Walker range.  Quite an accolade for a place with fewer than 700 residents!  For us though, our first encounter with Knockando (from the Gaelic Cnoc Cheannach, meaning Hill of Commerce) is at The Knockando Wool Mill

A lovely collection of historic buildings with modern additions, has roots back to 1734, where it was listed as a waulk mill.  Water from the burn behind it powered a wheel, and in turn would have powered the belts which drove the machinery. Still in use today to produce fine estate tweeds, soft cashmeres, and all nature of aspirational goodies. The poor state of the building was brought to public attention in 2004 as Scottish finalist, in the TV programme ‘Restoration’.  It didn’t win, but fundraising allowed the work to start. The Mill eventually opened to the public in 2012. 

So what’s the food and drink connection here?  Well, you’re right of course, but when the cafe’s open they make great scones!  The ghillies on the river wear the tweed made at this mill while they help their clients fish for salmon. And this is Knockando after all – home to two of the world’s great whiskies.  That must be a Speysider Showcase right there?

Drams & Scran

Talking of whisky, Cardhu has recently been re-invented, in terms of their visitor experience. As one of the Four Corners of Scotland Distilleries, all contributing to Johnnie Walker.  Book onto a tour and learn about the first distillery ran by a woman. Learn of all the family exploits as they progressed this global brand from the most humble beginnings?  It’s possible to choose from a selection of tour styles, dependent on your timings, your budget, and your level of interest.  There are also food offers to match the whiskies. So a dram and some scran it is!

Fairytale Castles Too!

Once you’ve followed the iconic striding man around Cardhu, why not take a gentler pace down to Ballindalloch Castle.  It’s a lovely fairytale Castle, built on a more modest scale than most, but beautifully situated close to the River Avon.  Legend has it that the 1540’s plan was to build much higher up, but the emerging structure was repeatedly brought down by mysterious high winds until a ‘demonic’ voice said ‘build it on the coo haugh’.  Clearly a man to listen, John Grant built it beside the river, and his descendants have lived there ever since.   The Castle itself can be toured, or if time is short, the walled garden and rockery are both lovely. Afterwards visit the coffee and gift shop, where the homemade cakes will surely become a highlight of your visit.

I would suggest that this concludes your day. Take the mammoth drive of oh, 5 minutes or less, back to The Delnashaugh Hotel.  A brief snooze, a dram or two to re-visit your daytime adventure, and look forward to the local delights featuring on tonight’s menu.

So for this trip, Speyside in the spotlight, showingoff some of it’s finest attributes.  We hope you enjoy it.

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Lossiemouth is probably best known these days for it’s bustling RAF base. Home to the Typhoon and Poseidon aircraft, and the northern Quick Reaction Alert facility, all protecting the skies of the United Kingdom from enemy threats.  On the ground however, it’s a far more peaceful place, with much to recommend it to visitors, however they arrive. So lets see where ‘Loving the High Life in Lossie’ takes us.

Food and drink lovers are spoiled for choice.  Here, it’s entirely possible to eat produce from the sea while looking out to sea, while paddling in the sea, whilst watching the boats in the marina! All washed down with a local beer or gin.  Oh we do like to be beside the seaside (at Lossiemouth!)

Lossie has two tremendous beaches. East beach however is currently waiting for it’s new access bridge to be constructed, so is pretty much out of bounds for now. Although it looks lovely from the ice cream shops along the Esplanade!  The West Beach is very much open though, and there’s plenty of room for everyone and their dog.  The further you walk westwards, the fewer people you’ll encounter. So be as sociable or shy as you wish, so long as your legs support you.  If you reach Covesea Lighthouse (pronounced ‘Cowsea), you’ll have done well, and will richly deserve to visit some of our recommended establishments to ‘restore’ you.

Relax & Re-Store

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Re-Store – is also the name of a Lossiemouth retailer aiming to reduce the amount of food packaging and waste, which we all are much more conscious of these days.  Describing itself as a ‘zero waste refill shop’, customers can refill their own containers with everyday items, while also picking up seasonal local vegetables and fruit, eggs, milk and bread too.  It’s a 21st century alternative to supermarket shopping.  Give it a go!

Scottish Gin with a View?

If you’d rather someone else cooked for you today, there’s plenty to offer here.  The Golf View Hotel’s restaurant overlooks the golf course and the West Beach.  There can be few finer sea views in Scotland. Added to a very varied menu choice, it’s sure to have something for everyone.  The Golf View’s sister restaurant is The Firth Hotel, down on the Esplanade, overlooking the East beach.  There’s a fabulous array of Scottish Gins at both establishments, so make sure you try something new while you have the chance.

Along beside the marina is The Harbour Lights café.  Here the menu features local ingredients from named suppliers and is a popular spot for coffees and lunches. Don’t miss their wide choice of cocktails, served with style.  Outdoor seating is available for the warmer days or those with furry friends. It’s a lovely location to enjoy your well deserved libation.