The Scottish Borders has got that certain Gin Ne Sais Quoi!

Published on 20 Jul
4 min read

What is Gin?

Gin is a distilled spirit made from juniper berries, its namesake, but a distiller can add an assortment of ingredients to make a unique, artisanal gin that offers choice and distinct flavour profiles to customers. Gin usually has floral, herbal or fruity notes. Gin is fast becoming the most popular drink in the UK; it was estimated that there were around 51 million bottles of gin sold in the UK last year (2017)[1]. This versatile spirit is perfect in cocktails, with mixers or on its own over ice. There are several micro-batch producers popping up all over the country offering a different perspective of gin tasting. Scotland, although famous for its whisky production, is also a key player in the gin world. Here, though, is a more local focus. There are 3 relatively new micro-batch producers that have popped up around the Scottish Borders over the past few years.

Why drink Gin?

Here’s some inspiration to start sipping your new favourite tipple.

  • Gin is low in calories – it is only 97 calories per shot and contains only trace sugars due to the distilling process. Therefore, it is a top drink for those concerned about their weight as well as those who have type 1 diabetes.
  • Juniper berries, the signature taste of gin, are a well-known antioxidant to boost youthful, healthy skin. They help fight infection, inflammation in joints as well as aiding digestion and reducing bloating. Super berries!
  • Gin can be mixed up easily depending on your preference
  • Local gins are distilled with a cocktail of herbs, flowers and spices from the surrounding area to give you are a real taste of your locality.
  • Taste with your nose first – then you can find what you can mix with it. Like there is a variety of gins, there are various tonics too.

Like many good things in life, even those that are good for you, remember everything in moderation.

Who makes Gin in the Scottish Borders?


DeliQuescent is a micro-batch spirit producer in Kelso founded by husband and wife team, Debbie and Simon Rutherford. Since 2015, they have also run Rutherfords, the first micropub in Scotland. DeliQuescent has created a range of interesting spirits including 8 varieties of gin, including the mesmerising Parma Violet Super-Natural Gin. As DeliQuescent is a small producer within a micropub, the duo can produce inventive combinations such as sweet treat Cherry Bakewell Gin or the more refreshing Grapefruit, Lemongrass and Lime Gin. In 2017, they managed to snatch 2 prestigious awards at Scotland’s Business Awards. More recently, DeliQuescent have won Scotland’s Business Award for the most innovative business in Scotland 2018 and also Best Licenced Premises in the Scottish Borders. Keep your eyes peeled for more creations from DeliQuescent!

The Kelso Gin Company

The Kelso Gin Company is the first gin company to be established in the Scottish Borders since the 19th Century! Using the Crow Man legend as their trademark, a travelling medicine man in the Scottish Borders who soothed the ailing with botanical tinctures of herbs, spices and ‘secret ingredients’, adds to the eccentricity and mystery of the brand. The distillation process of Kelso Gin goes through 3 stages known as ‘heads, tails and hearts’ in order to remove all toxic residue and retain the pure ‘heart’ of the gin. The Kelso Gin Company use only organic grain and there are 8 varieties to choose from.

Lilliard Gin

Lilliard Gin - Ruby Liqueur
Lilliard Gin – Ruby Liqueur

Going into its second year, Lilliard Gin is the first gin distillery, with capital gained through a crowdfunding venture, in the Scottish Borders. As part of the Born in the Borders complex, Lilliard Gin is situated in the rolling countryside by the River Teviot outside of Jedburgh. They create their gin foraging in the local surroundings collecting rowan, meadowsweet and elderflower to reflect the changing seasonal flavours the Scottish Borders offers. Lilliard Gin is determined to reinvigorate the distilling heritage in Scottish Borders. The gin is named after a Scottish Borders heroine Lillard, who fought to the death at the Battle of Ancrum in 1545 to avenge the death of her lover by the English. The gin has a clean floral taste, perfectly complemented with orange peel.

Mix it Up!

Why not mix up the local gins and make cocktails. How about trying botanical blend mixers, fruit liqueurs, and even tea to create interesting cocktails? Share your favourite gin concoctions on social media with Foodful! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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