How did I get into this gin adventure?
It all started back in my days of freelancing. And one of my editors commissioned me to write about Edinburgh Gin.
For a whisky lass, who had been working with a malt distiller for a decade, this was an eye opener.
All those lovely botanical flavours could be adjusted and subtly different drinks created. It helped that Edinburgh Gin had just moved into the atmospheric basement of the Rutland Hotel at the West End of Princes Street and set up a distillery in a place I remembered as a Saturday night haunt of the 1980s. The newly installed stills – Caledonia and Flora – were things of beauty.
Christmas Gin – using frankincense and myrrh – blew my imagination. Talking to David Wilkinson Edinburgh Gin’s head distiller and hearing about the academic input; talking to Alex and Jane Nicol about their vision – and the role of Scotland in gin’s history – all sowed the seeds of this book.
Then there is the long fascination with how drinks are made – I offered to write my university dissertation about the “spatial distribution of whisky distilleries on Speyside” but that idea got no further than a satirical article for the Geog Soc magazine (my first ever piece in print).
Few foreign destinations have escaped the alcoholic tour – Madeira, Heineken, Carlsberg, Guinness, Checz pilsner, chateaux in Bordeaux, caves in Champagne, wineries in Sonoma, gin in Mahon – and in Scotland many whisky distilleries.
Add to that a fascination for the growing interest in provenance – particularly where our food comes, how it gets to our forks. Drink is increasing wrapped up in that as visiting food festivals and farmers’ markets across the country makes clear.
Gin hasn’t taken over from the other drinks but it’s been an “always-there” interest so, when David at Great Northern Books was toying with the idea of a Scottish “gin bible”, I jumped at the chance to get involved.
And so here we are with The Gin Clan