When we first started making Isle of Harris Gin back in 2015, the number of Scottish gins available could be counted on two hands.
We brought our beautiful bottle into the world at an auspicious time, just as more people began to turn their attention to the spirit and stories behind this wonderful drink.
While single malt whisky has long been the benchmark by which Scotland’s distilling skills were measured, now it was the turn of a new band of more homespun, independent producers to come to the fore with their gin-making.
Dozens of craft brands sprang up over the next few years, many armed with only self-taught skills, an experimental mindset, and a drive to capture the hyper-local provenance of place in their product.
Today there are over 140 great Scottish gin brands, sharing more than 450 different gins made in innumerable styles, methods, and utilising a bounty of local botanicals hand-foraged from land and sea.
From the wild and barren northern isles to the gently rolling hills of the borders, Scottish gin has taken the country, and wider world, by storm.
We’re proud to be part of this extended family of distillers and makers, and often spend as much time learning about and exploring the diversity of their offerings as we do our own.
So, this Saturday we’re very pleased to support the second official International Scottish Gin Day, organised by our friends Natalie and Martin Reid from The Gin Cooperative.
Launched in 2017, we’ve been working with them since their early days as they set out to collaborate, educate, inspire and enjoy all things gin-related here in Scotland.
Impressed by their enthusiasm, attention to detail, and creative efforts, it’s been great to watch their project grow into the respected digital platform it is today. As Martin said on Twitter yesterday…
“The team at @harrisdistiller are like an extended family to us. They've supported our small family business since day one. Always there for a chat, always kind, always offering a hand of Hebridean friendship. Gràdh oirbh uile.”
For their first International Scottish Gin Day in happier pre-Covid times, we invited thousands of our distillery visitors to place a pin in a specially made map to show just how far word of our work had spread.
However, this year we’ll settle for a more digital connection as we gather online for our second virtual Harris Cèilidh and invite customers from around the world to join us for some music, storytelling and song.
We’ve also reached out to new friends from over a dozen different nations who bring Isle of Harris Gin to their country and they've helped us make the short film you see below.
Our thanks to our partners in British Columbia, Ontario, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, France, Switzerland, and Mexico for taking part in this incredible intercontinental “Slàinte mhath!”
If you’d like to join in all the toasting, then come along tomorrow night for our virtual cèilidh, we’ll have live music from Gaelic singer Emma Macleod from Scalpay, accordion player Eilidh MacFadyen from Tiree, and fiddler Ewen Henderson from the band Mànran.
There will also be a wee bit of Outer Hebridean storytelling from author Elizabeth Gifford reading from her new book 'The Lost Lights Of St Kilda.’
And, even if you can’t join us, we invite you to be with us in spirit by making this month's Harris Cèilidh Cocktail. See below for the recipe and join us in raising a glass to Scottish Gin going global from wherever you call home.
THE HARRIS CÈILIDH SOUR
50ml Isle of Harris Gin
35ml Fresh grapefruit juice
15ml Marmalade syrup (Just add 50g of orange marmalade to 25ml of boiling water and stir!)
20ml Egg white (optional)
Pour the ingredients into a jar or cocktail shaker and shake for 10-15 seconds.
Add cubed ice to the jar / shaker and shake hard for another 10-15 seconds.
Strain the contents into a chilled glass
Garnish with a sliver of grapefruit peel.
Or go to www.harrisdistillery.com/pages/how-to-serve and discover other delicious serves to enjoy.