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Get your glow on with some spicy gins this summer

By Chrissie Fairclough

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Downpour gin.
Downpour gin.

This summer we’ve noticed a rise in popularity of spicy, peppery gins.

It seems the absence of a heatwave is driving us to create our own internal glow! As commonly used botanicals include coriander seeds, cardamom, cassia bark and cinnamon, there’s a mild spicy note to many brands worldwide.

But IMHO if you’d like to crank up the heat – go Scottish. We may not do a hot summer, but when it comes to a warming gin, we’ve nailed it.

Just looking to turn up the heat a little? Then make it the recently released Downpour Gin, a beautifully packaged offering from North Uist – the first gin made on the island.

Using a high volume of wild botanicals to give big, bold flavours, the blend of spices and peppery wild Hebridean heather in a 46 per cent spirit is definitely on our hot list. Serve with classic tonic and a slice of orange.

Indian Summer Gin from Huntly, Aberdeenshire, makes use of one of the world’s most costly spices by weight – saffron. The pricey spice is infused into the gin, which gives it a golden hue, while orange peel and pink peppercorn botanicals impart intense, sweet and subtly earthy notes. Serve with a splash of tonic and a sprig of mint.

Drovers Gin contains locally foraged thistle and heather, botanicals known to give a peppery finish. Throw pink peppercorns and allspice in the mix and you have a real palate-tingler from The Wee Farm Distillery in South Lanarkshire. Created with food pairing in mind, we say serve with Steak Diane.

Darnley’s View Spiced Gin from Wemyss Malts in Kingsbarns, Fife, explores a range of warming botanicals from Africa, Morocco and China, including cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve with ginger ale for an extra spicy treat.

Chrissie Fairclough is tastings director for Gin Club Scotland, which runs touring and distillery-based tastings, as well as offering tasting kits for people to run their own events.


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