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Chin chin to gin! Fiona’s guide to the perfect summer thirst quencher

By Fiona Andrew, general manager

If you were to ask me to sum up what summer tastes like I’d have no hesitation in saying…gin and tonic! Although the weather so far this summer hasn’t quite been as hot as we were all hoping for after the 2018 heatwave, a refreshing gin and tonic is a fantastic thirst quencher.

The gin revolution of recent years hasn’t passed us by here at the Ship Inn, and in our lounge bar you’ll find a great selection of household names and craft producers from the local area. Those of you who know me well won’t be surprised to know that I put a great deal of care and effort into curating our gin shelf – only the very best will do.

But when it seems a new gin brand is launching every other week, how do you keep on top of what’s hot and not? Luckily for you I’m willing to share some of my favourites so you’ll know just what to order the next time you pop into The Ship.

Rock Rose Gin

From the Highlands of Scotland – Dunnet to be precise – comes one of the first new-wave Scottish craft gins to grace my shelf. Rock Rose is the perfect gin if you like one at the sharper end of the scale – it has quite a lemony taste, but this gives way to a jammy flavour thanks to hawthorn, blaeberries and rowan berries. I recommend serving this with a curl of orange.

Love Gin

That’s the name of the gin, as opposed to a fact! This wonderfully pink-tinged gin from the team at St Andrews-based Eden Mill would get a second date with me any time! The slightly unusual taste comes from rose petal and hibiscus as its key botanicals – those of you with a highly tuned palate should also be able to pick up exotic fruits. For the garnish I suggest a fruit not that exotic – your bog-standard Scottish raspberry is a match made in heaven for this little beauty.

Isle of Harris Gin

It’s probably one of the most distinctive bottles that we have on the shelf and a lot of people are attracted to it for that reason. It has a beautiful swirl pattern, which is actually designed to replicate the woven twill of the famous Harris tweed. The stand-out botanical in this gin is refreshing sugar kelp, which is complimented perfectly when serving with a garnish of red or pink grapefruit.

Caorunn Gin

This is an absolute gem and often singled out as one of the pioneers of the recent Scottish gin revolution. From the Cairngorms, this gin is dry and crisp and has been created with an infusion of five local and six traditional botanicals. They’ve obviously found the recipe for success with this one as it’s an absolutely stunning drink. Gin fans will know that this is best served with a good quality tonic and sliced red apple.

Porters Gin

No Aberdeenshire gin shelf would be complete without a bottle of Porters Gin – a brand which has its origins in the Granite City. A number of expressions have evolved over the years, but the classic London dry gin will always get my vote. Juniper-led with a refreshing citrus profile, it is one of my favourites to enjoy on a hot summer day with lots of ice and a slice of lime.