When some people think of the drink to describe Scotland, they think whisky. However, in Scotland, including Glasgow, there are plenty of talented distillers creating exceptional gin to go in that cocktail or alongside that tonic water. We’ve found some of the top gins made in the epic city of Glasgow, that you definitely need to try, plus, they make great gifts for gin lovers out there.
Without a shadow of a doubt this is one of the most well-designed bottles of gin going. They even won a gold medal in the 2020 Design & Packaging Masters for it. 100% of this bottle of gin is made in Glasgow, making it the ideal gift for any proud Glaswegian, if you can resist the temptation to drink it yourself. If one botanical in gin isn’t enough, have eight, including pink peppercorns, milk thistle and orange flower, to name a few. The Glasgow gin company even has mini bottles and gin-filled crackers available for Christmas. Buy Glaswegin here.
2. Crossbill Gin
Compared to Glaswegin, Crossbill Gin keeps it simple when it comes to the botanicals and goes for just two – juniper berries and rosehip. The gin takes its name from the Scottish Crossbill, a native bird, which, like its juniper supply, can only be found in the ancient Caledonian pine forests of Scotland. The gin used to be produced in Aviemore but production moved in 2017 to good ol’ Glasgow. On discovering that one of the Crossbill’s juniper specimens was over 200 years old (which is very rare in Scotland), the team brought out a limited single specimen juniper gin, called Crossbill 200. Crossbill also have a pineapple gin, as well as a sumac-infused gin for more of a spicy and citrus flavour. Buy Crossbill Gin here.
3. Garden Shed Gin
This Glasgow based gin’s founders include two Scottish rugby players- Ryan Grant and Ruaridh Jackson. Their aim is to be both ethical and environmentally friendly with some of their profits going to environmental charities such as Trees 4 Scotland and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Garden Shed Gin includes 14 botanicals, such as lavender and blackberries, some of which are home-grown in the west end of Glasgow. Talk about reducing that carbon footprint considerably. The distillers recently collaborated with fine-dining Glasgow restaurant, Cail Bruich, to create a new carrot and sea buckthorn seasonal gin. Buy Garden Shed Gin here.
4. Makar Glasgow Gin
We cannot have a list of Glasgow gins without Makar Glasgow Gin. This spirit has a colourful taste and with tonic can be slightly peppery. Makar, the Gaelic word for poet or bard, opened its first gin distillery in over 100 years at Hillington Business Park in 2014 and have brought refreshing gin to Glasgow, as well as far and wide. Makar Gin is mainly infused with juniper, as well as containing rosemary and black peppercorns among its botanicals. The Makar Gin team have also produced a number of flavours and variations such as their oak aged gin, mulberry-aged gin, Old Tom gin and double cherry gin. Buy Makar Glasgow Gin here.
5. McLean’s Gin
McLean’s Gin is one of the smallest commercial gin producers in Scotland with the gin made in a cupboard off the sitting room in a one-bedroom flat in the south side of Glasgow. This business may be small, but their gin sure has big flavour. From start to finish, everything is produced by hand in small batches including bottling, labelling, wax sealing and stamping. As well as their signature gin, McLean’s have produced a few flavours including variations such as floral, citrus, spiced, cherry bakewell plus one gin called Something Blue, which has marzipan, summer fruits, vanilla and cardamom notes, and the company recommend it is a wedding staple mixed with champagne. Buy McLean’s Gin here.
6. Illicit Gin
Illicit Spirits’ who produce Illicit Gin claims to be taking gin back to its roots. Made by urban craft distillers in a railway arch just south of the River Clyde, Illicit Gin is a classic juniper-led spirit produced in small batches in a traditional direct-fired copper pot still. You’ll find other botanicals such as coriander, cloves, angelica, cinnamon, orris root and orange peel in this gin. Illicit Spirits have also created their own modern take on the Old Tom gin by distilling it with pink peppercorns, rosehips, and tonka beans, and then sweetening it after distillation with bee pollen and honey. You can also try their smoky gin or their rum, if that’s more your jam. Buy Illicit Gin here.
7. Ellis Gin
Ellis Gin is a hand-crafted brand in Glasgow that creates small-batch gin infusions. Their two coloured and flavoured gins were designed to appeal to both the sight and taste senses, by changing colour when tonic is added. There is their Scottish Bramble Gin, which is a red colour that then changes to bright orange with tonic. Plus, their Butterfly Pea Gin, that includes the Asian-derived ingredient, butterfly pea, which allows the gin to change from bright blue to a lilac colour. The gin distillers have also recently launched pink shimmer and lemon varieties too. Buy Ellis Gin here.