Bored of the usual staycation and day trip ideas? Why not make your very own gin by trying out one of the incredible gin schools that are popping up all over the country.
If you are a fan of the juniper spirit then discovering how the UK’s hottest trending drink is made will make for an unforgettable experience and when it comes to places to learn, Scotland has an abundance of excellent options.
From the Borders to the Orkney Isles, there are skilled producers turning their hands from not just making top gins but teaching others how to do so as well.
So, if you fancy becoming an amateur distiller for the day, you’ll find plenty of options with our exciting list.
The Borders – 1881 Peebles Hydro
Located close to the picturesque Borders town of Peebles, you’ll find the one of the largest residential gin schools in the UK.
Found at the Peebles Hydro Hotel, the school features 26 individual copper stills and glass jars full of botanicals, including those sourced within the grounds of the hotel itself.
Each person’s unique recipe is kept on file – meaning they can reorder their very own gin as birthday presents, wedding favours or for special occasions.
Fife – Darnley’s Gin School
Found in the Kingdom of Fife, within the picturesque surrounds of Kingsbarns farm cottage, Darnley’s Gin School combines gin making with a tutored tasting to allow guests to learn all about how Darnley’s distill their gin range.
Guests will then be given the chance to make their very own bottling and become a distiller themselves as they choose their own bespoke recipe and make a one-of-a-kind gin that they can then take home.
Highlands – Pixel Spirits distillery
The Highlands is not only filled with breath-taking scenery, but also some exciting gin producers and in Pixel Spirits you have a great example.
Run by husband and wife team, Craig and Noru Innes, the gin school, offers the chance for gin fans to create their own recipe on traditional copper pot mini stills before taking their own bottle of gin home.
Should you not want to wait for your chance to enrol at this fun school, the pair recently launched a virtual version of the school where you can make the gin from the comfort of your own living room thanks to skillful head distiller Craig, who will chat you through the process via Skype before sending you the finished product.
Highlands – Lost Loch Distillery
Found on the eastern shore of Loch Auchlossan, on the edge of the Cairngorm National Park, the Lost Loch Distillery school experience will give you access to a 5-litre alembic still and a large botanical library to try your hand at creating your own gin.
The experienced distillery team will be on hand to help but the final recipe is down to you, and as one of Scotland’s top absinthe makers, the option is there to create your own if you’d prefer.
Glasgow – Crossbill
One of only two destinations in the UK to make it to the world’s top ’52 places to go in 2018’ list in the New York Times, the Crossbill Gin School in the Barras in the east end of Glasgow is one of those hidden gems that many Glaswegians will likely not even know is there.
Home to a vastly experienced team and the popular Crossbill Gin, the school has a selection of small copper pot stills that are perfect for a hands on distilling experience with experts on hand to discuss the history of Scottish juniper and the techniques used to create the spirit from crops safely harvested in the Cairngorm National Park.
Aberdeen – City of Aberdeen Distilling
The first distilling site in the city of Aberdeen for nearly 80 years is also home to an exciting gin school.
The ideal way to while away an afternoon with friends or family, you get to not only make your own gin, with a double gin and tonic on arrival to boot, you also get to decide the strength, bottle and cap it, and label the full-sized 70cl bottle of gin – before picking your own name too.
Isle of Skye – Isle of Skye Distillers
Surely the best part of learning about how gin is made is learning about where it comes from and what inspired the distillers to make it in the first place – and on the Isle of Skye, which surely one of the most beautiful parts of the country, it’s readily apparent.
Founded by the Wilson brothers, the gin school was designed to give not only an insight into how this unique spirit is created but also show how the botanicals sourced on the island play a key part in their particular gin’s make up.
Aimed at drinkers of all levels, the gin school features an in-depth look (and tasting of) at the distillery’s own bottles, as well as the chance to make your own under the guidance of one of the team, with each guest personally selecting botanicals, running their own individual miniature copper pot still, and bottling and labelling the finished product – which they get to take home.
Orkney – Orkney Gin School
Adding to Orkney’s already burgeoning brewing and distilling scene, Orkney Distillery, which can be found at Kirkwall, offers the island’s first bespoke distilling experience.
The makers of the award-winning Kirkjuvagr Orkney have combined the distillery and shop with a new gin school where people can explore the history of this intriguing producer and its gins before making your own using a unique recipe from the 30 botanicals on offer.
Don’t miss the top culture and heritage stories from around Scotland. Sign up to our twice weekly Scotland Now newsletter here.