Posted 17th Sep 2014
Whether its a night cap or saviour after a hard day, a bottle of gin can be found in many households. We met up with Edinburgh Gin, a close-knit family business who gave us an insight into the creation of their Scottish tipple
Gin is currently enjoying something of a renaissance thanks to the exquisite tastes and styles of leading brands. Produced in small batches and packed full of the finest junipers, Edinburgh Gin delivers superior distilling expertise, with a refreshingly Scottish twist.
The brand was originally established in 2010 as part of the Spencerfield Spirit Company, which was founded in 2005 and is owned by Alex and Jane Nicol. It has recently opened a new distillery and visitor centre beneath the Rutland Hotel in Edinburgh. The distillery houses two custom-made stills, Flora and Caledonia, and offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the process of making gin with the chance to produce and bottle their own gin.
Last month, the company was presented with the Best Small Company accolade at 2014 Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards.
The process of making Edinburgh Gin
Edinburgh Gin starts life in a revered 200 year old Scottish copper pot still, where the finest Scottish grain spirit is distilled in the traditional way, together with the classic gin botanicals, such as juniper, coriander, citrus peel, angelica and orris root. What makes Edinburgh Gin so unique and distinctive is the carefully selected, notoriously soft Scottish botanicals, which are mixed with heather and milk thistle and added at the final production stage. The gin is finally bottled in Edinburgh at 43 per cent ABV.
1. Firstly the Grain Neutral Spirit is reduced from 96% to 50% ABV and is used to fill the still approximately half full. The botanicals are added to the GNS and left to macerate overnight to extract their essential oils.
2. A second batch of botanicals (the more delicate, floral ones) is hung in the head of the still inside a muslin bag. The stills are turned on which heats the water bath up to 100°C, this in turn heats the alcohol in the still to boiling point.
3. After reaching boiling point the alcohol vapour ascends the still into the lyne arm which leads to the condenser. The condenser is filled with cold water, which condenses the alcohol vapour into liquid.
4 .The gin leaves the bottom of the condenser and is collected in five litre jugs before being transferred to a 100 litre stainless steel vat. The gin will initially be around 85% ABV and this will gradually reduce during the distillation.
5. As the heads (first 5 litres) and tails (the last 25 litres) contain flavours not welcome in the gin they are collected in a separate vat. While the heart of the run (middle 40 litres) is diluted down to bottling strength, the heads and tails are recycled. They are then re-distilled through the column still to purify them and then use the resulting spirit (which is almost flavourless) with a fresh batch of botanicals to make more gin. The best botanical flavours are present after the heads and before the tails and combine to create the aroma and flavour of the gin.
6. As the gin is collected, around 80% of it is diluted down to bottling strength using deionised water which is completely pure and won't taint the flavour of the gin.
7. The gin is left to rest overnight to allow the different flavours to bind together. The following day the gin is bottled using a new, state of the art bottling line.
Images courtesy of Edinburgh Gin