Scotland’s love affair with gin started way back in the 1700s when the first bottles of Dutch Jenever were traded into the Port of Leith. Nowadays gin distilleries in Scotland are responsible for 70% of the UK’s overall gin production.
Three of the world’s best-selling gins: Hendrick’s, Gordon’s and Tanqueray, are all made in Scotland. But aside from the big boys there are small-batch craft gins all over Scotland which are of the highest quality and totally unique.
From world famous brands to unique family run businesses, our guide encompasses the best gin distilleries Scotland has to offer.
Summerhall Distillery, home of Pickering’s Gin, opened its doors in 2014, becoming the first gin distillery to be established in Edinburgh for over 150 years.
It’s since been voted Visit Scotland’s Best Visitor Attraction in Edinburgh, the Lothians and the Borders.
You will get to see the entire production and bottling line, and taste samples of Pickering’s Gin expressions.
Tours run Thursdays-Sundays and last for one hour including a 15 minute tasting.
Cost: £10. 1 Summerhall Summerhall Distillery, Edinburgh EH9 1PL. Find out more.
Eden Mill, St Andrews
You know you’re off to good start when you’re handed a G&T on the door, and Eden Mill is the gift that keeps on giving.
The friendly and knowledgeable staff guide you through their beautiful boutique distillery, before you embark on a three gin tasting, including trying the fabulous Love Gin Liqueurs.
Be prepared for your card to take a hit though – after the samples, it’s hard to resist buying a bottle or three. Miniature bottles are available to buy, which make great gifts and are very hard to find elsewhere.
In addition, Eden Mill are also bringing a gin blending experience to the world famous Old Course to make golfing trips that bit more exciting!.
Cost: £10. Main St, Guardbridge, St Andrews KY16 0UU. Find out more.
Edinburgh Gin Distillery
Head distiller David Wilkinson has a scientific background and utilises his skills to oversee a progressive distillation process.
Edinburgh Gin is a classic London Dry style gin but with a modern twist, containing a unique blend of lemongrass, lime peel, cobnuts, mulberries, lavender and pine buds.
A range of tours are available with prices varying between £10 – £100.
Edinburgh Gin is moving to a new multi million pound site on East Market Street where a new distillery and visitor centre is planned to open in November.
Cost: £10-£100. 1a Rutland Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2AD. Find out more.
Strathearn Distillery, Perth
Strathearn Distillery is one of Scotland’s smallest distilleries but also one of the best. Because it’s so small each batch is limited to 280 bottles. It’s nicely positioned in Perth and so accessible from Glasgow or Edinburgh.
The Distillery Tasting Tour gives you the chance to take in a full round of the distillery, whilst enjoying a gin and tonic, followed by an extensive tasting of approximately eight spirits.
For the gin fanatic the Gin Lovers Experience begins with a gin and tonic and a full tour of the distillery. The tour involves numerous tastings, a history of gin and the chance to add your own choice of botanicals to Strathearn base gin and create your own bottle. Finally, you’ll take part in an interactive cocktail making experience.
Cost: £25/£95. Bachilton Farm Steading, Methven PH1 3QX. Find out more.
Isle of Harris Distillery
OK so not exactly the most accessible location on our list but if you do find yourself somewhere off the north-west coast you’ve got to visit this gem of a distillery.
During the tour you’ll be shown around by a Hearach, one of the locals who help to run the distillery. They’ll show you the inner workings of the distillery as well as being given the chance to sample some of their wonderful gin.
The distillery tour lasts one hour and 15 minutes and includes samples.
Cost: £10. Tarbert, Isle of Harris, HS3 3DJ. Find out more
Caorunn Gin, Speyside, Highlands
Incredibly Caorunn Gin is created by just one man. Simon Buley makes small batches of 1000 litres at a time from the Balmenach Distillery, which is also a whisky distillery.
The gin is made from six traditional and five locally foraged botanicals (rowan berries, heather, coul blush apples, dandelion and bog myrtle). During the tour you will see just how they blend together to make the unique flavour of the spirit.
The tour includes samples and runs Monday to Thursday, 11am and 2pm and Friday, 10am.
Cost: £10. Balmenach Road, Cromdale, Grantown-on-Spey, PH26 3PF. Find out more.
Persie Gin, Perthshire
The Persie gin distillery tour is far and away the most personal on our list. As soon as you arrive you will be made to feel very welcome, sitting around a big kitchen table and part of a cosy atmosphere.
Chrissie and Simon are the owners of Persie Distillery and they offer private tastings between 12pm – 6pm every day.
You’ll get to see the huge copper still that creates the three Persie gins and more importantly you’ll get to try all three of them with your choice of mixer. Complimentary tea and coffee and soft drinks are also available.
You’ll have to email the owners at firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
Cost: £15. Auchenflower, Old Military Road (A93), Bridge of Cally, Perthshire, PH10 7LQ. Find out more
Shetland Reel Gin, Shetland
Shetland Reel Gin is most northerly gin made in the UK and also one of the smallest commercial gin distilleries in the country. It is also one of the most authentically ‘local’ Scottish gins, as only botanicals sourced locally are used.
The result is an excellent traditional-style gin. The unique Shetland twist is provided by the inclusion of apple mint, which is grown and harvested by Unst market growers.
Guided tastings in the distillery run from April to September, one per day on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 12 noon.
For £10 you get a tasting session guided by product experts and a discount voucher for on site purchases.
Cost: £10. Saxa Vord, Unst, Shetland ZE2 9TN. Find out more.
Lilliard Gin, Jedburgh
Lilliard Gin is made small batch and is handcrafted in a tiny copper still, using ingredients found & foraged in the Scottish Borders.
The light and complex floral palette is aimed at reflecting the diverse Borders landscape and the abundant natural resources of the southern Scottish valleys.
They are a tiny but working distillery, so for legal and safety reasons, they can’t always open to the public. And as the Liliard Gin makers say, ‘Those flowers don’t pick themselves!’) Opening hours are 11am-3pm Saturday and Sunday.
However, they love visitors, so if the regular hours don’t suit, or you are making a special trip, get in touch and they will do their best to accommodate you.
They also offer regular gin classes, where you’ll be taught how to find the perfect gin botanicals.
Cost: n/a. Lilliard Ginnery, Born in the Borders, Lanton Mill, Jedburgh, TD8 6ST. Find out more
The Glasgow Distillery Co, Glasgow
Located in Scotland’s cosmopolitan city Glasgow is The Glasgow Distillery Co. which creates and provides tours for gin, whiskey and beer.
The jewel in the crown is their award-winning Makar Original Dry Gin – the first gin to be distilled in the city of Glasgow. The recent cherry gin was also received very favourable reviews.
Seven carefully-selected botanicals which compliment the Juniper which lies at the heart of Makar. These botanicals are distilled in small batches in a copper still named Annie (we wish more stills were named!) to produce a perfectly-balanced juniper-led Gin.
Tours are currently sold in conjunction with Glasgow’s favourite beer, Tennents. The brewery and distillery tours starts at 1.30pm at Wellpark Brewery for the Tennent’s Tour, followed by a tasting session of various Tennent’s Export Beers.
You will then be whisked off to the Glasgow Distillery for the tour and sampling of the Makar range of Gins.
Cost: £38. 8 Deanside Rd, Glasgow G52 4XY. Find out more.
Dunnet Bay Distillery, Thurso
Rock Rose have a habit of trying something a bit different. And true to form it took no less than 55 experiments before the Rock Rose Gin recipe was finalised and the first batch distilled in 2014.
Locally harvested Rhodiola rosea, cardamom, coriander seed, verbena, sea buckthorn, rowan berries and blaeberries all compliment the predominant botanical, Juniper.
Tours start from £6 and include tastings of the well-honed recipe.
Verdant Spirit Co, Dundee
Dundee’s first and only gin ever to distilled in the city (well legally anyway) is also one of the country’s newest gins. Shortly after hitting the shelves Verdant Gin promptly won the Scottish Gin Awards ‘Gin of the Year’ in 2017.
The distillery is based in a former engine house of one of Dundee’s old mills that housed some of the most cutting edge machinery of its day.
The gin and the equipment that help create it is the brainchild of founder and managing director Andrew Mackenzie. He was the former marketing director of Formula One team McLaren from 1990 until 2000.
A visitor centre is currently being build on the site. So although you can’t currently tour the distillery we thought we’d give you a heads up of what will surely be a fantastic experience given the historic interest of the old mill in which the gin is distilled.
Gin distillery tours are set to start as early as this summer.
Cost: n/a. Edward Street Mill, Forest Park Pl, Dundee DD1 5NT. Find out more.