Living down in the depths of Devon where the internet is slow, and lamb prices are big news, I have to admit I had never heard of the Glasgow Distillery Company or its dry gin. In fact it took a cut-price German retailer’s recent promotion to make me aware that there were any gin producers North of the Border.
I mean I’ve been drinking their generally wonderful whisky since I was old enough to work behind a bar, and I’ve regularly heard Scots politicians on our regional news programmes pleading with Devonian monks from Buckfast Abbey to stop selling ‘Buckie’ wine up there. But gin, who’d have thought?
Well the bottle of hand-crafted Aquine Dry Gin we bought at the local Lidl earlier in the month has made me regret my ignorance. At 41.5% they’ve used the traditional copper still to good effect, while the selection of fresh citrus as well as rosehips and bramble leaf blends subtly with the juniper. As normal, I began by sampling the spirit neat and can agree with the producers that the effect is smooth on the tongue, while the bite at the back of the throat lingers long enough for you to wonder if the strength might actually be higher.
The maker’s serving suggestion is for a premium tonic over lots of ice and a piece of orange peel. While Celtic fans would presumably prefer a juicy slice of lime, we actually went for our current favourite of pink grapefruit, having painstakingly separated out two dozen segments and freezing them on a baking tray. I will offer my own tip here of letting the frozen fruit defrost for at least five minutes before making your drink, or the flavour doesn’t release until you’re half way down the glass.
it took a cut-price German retailer’s recent promotion to make me aware that there were any gin producers North of the Border
Finally I must mention the image featured on the Aquine label, for it is of the fabled unicorn: rearing up with its spiral horn towards an unseen threat. We are further told of a Scottish legend where a loch, poisoned by serpents, is purified again by the unicorn dipping its solitary spike in the waters.
The tale is a useful reminder that it is the chilly burns and bubbling springs abundant across Scotland that has enabled our northern neighbours to produce so many fine malts. I shall certainly look out for more of their gins now also.