Fruits of the Forth …
Having spent a fair bit of my childhood in Fife, I associate the name ‘Forth’ with the body of chilly water which separates the peninsula from the Scottish capital, but I’d forgotten about the Forth Hills in Lanarkshire, which we now discover have given birth to a rather agreeable small batch gin.
As with a number of the distillations reviewed here, we learned about the existence of Drovers Gin thanks to our well-travelled friends Bill and Lesley, who brought us back a sample from a trip to Gleneagles. They weren’t there to play golf this time, though the crisp and well balanced 45% distillation is definitely ‘above par’ in terms of its performance on the palate.
Apparently the Wee Farm Distillery is the first such micro facility in South Lanarkshire, and represents a one woman enterprise, in the person of Jenny McKerr – that is if you don’t count Morag; her trusty still.
The spirit business was added to the farming responsibilities when the first batch was produced in May 2018, which sold out in just a few days. Since then – if she’s not taking care of her livestock – Jenny has been producing further infusions on a weekly basis to keep up with demand.
Ms McKerr describes Drovers as celebrating Scotland’s rich agricultural heritage, though she does not specify which ingredients are indigenous: though you’ll find plenty of the heather and nettles growing across Scotland.
However, my Grandma Meechan, who lived all her life North of the Border, claimed that they had grown any type of fruit you could name “on the south wall in Kelty” when she was a girl, so I suppose we shouldn’t rule out the orange or any of the spices. The latter include coriander, cardoman and pink peppercorns as well as cassia, orris and liquorice; with angelica adding a touch of sweetness.
Intriguingly, the Wee Farm Distillery also finds the space to offer one of the biggest selections of gin liqueurs we have come across; selling at £22 for a 50cl bottle. Examples of the 30+ flavours available include Spiced Plum, Mulled Bramble, Cinnamon Orange, Apple & Cinnamon and that sweetie shop favourite, Mint Humbug. Plus one fruit listed I do remember being abundant during Fife’s relatively short summer: Raspberry.
And the recommended serve? Well on her website Jenny McKerr suggests that with all the spices, Drovers Gin is an ideal accompaniment for a juicy Scotch steak, though we thoroughly enjoyed ours with ice and a piece of pink grapefruit while we munched Cheddars and pondered the missing apostrophe.