Graduations, Highland Views and the Start of Something New

For anyone who is tempted to complain about this year’s summer, let me just get my thoughts in first – THE ROOF OF THE GLASGOW SCIENCE MUSEUM MELTED! It has been hot. Some days have been positively Mediterranean. Lucky for us we’ve had plenty of opportunities to spend our time outdoors. And we remembered the factor 50.

 

The morning of our first annual Gin, Rum and Cocktail Festival was looking dodgy; the drive from Edinburgh bore a strong resemblance to a log flume ride and there was significant flooding in shoes everywhere. Thankfully the clouds parted just as our exhibitors finished setting up and the beautiful grounds of Gean House were bathed in sunshine. Over twenty exhibitors showed off their perfect serves and cocktail recipes and Stirling Spirit Co. ran two masterclasses teaching some curious visitors how to make bar-quality cocktails in their own lounge rooms. Best of all, our handmade fold-down bar made its first official appearance. And it didn’t collapse.

It’s always a risk venturing into the Highlands. In winter you have mere moments of daylight, in summer you have midges and the very real possibility of winter making a comeback. The Lorne Highland Games in Oban were a happy break from tradition. Outstanding blue skies, 20 plus degrees temperatures, a brilliant pipe band and a cable throw to end all cable throws. Stirling Gin kept the visitors well-hydrated with a brimming jug of our Bloody Scotland cocktail. My only regret is I didn’t pop down to the Seafood Shack and snaffle a whole lobster.
Graduating is a massive rite of passage. It is the culmination of years of dedicated work, sacrificed social hours and student discounts that are sorely missed in later years. Stirling University had their summer graduation ceremonies on the 27th and 28th of June and we were there to quench thirsts on the hottest two days in the past 20 years. A marquee in the sun probably wasn’t the best place to be on such a day but the ground of Stirling University were stunning in the sun and it isn’t often every chair on the lawn is taken.
It wasn’t just the Highlands that treated us to the best views in town. Our co-owner and all round wonder woman June went for a road trip down to Harefield on Saturday 30th of June (it’s in London, I had to ask as well) and took part in the Old Orchard Pub Gin Festival. We would be hard-pressed to find a more serene location to sling a gin or two.

 

And now we look to July. It’s not summer unless you’re flying all over the country attending gin festivals. On Saturday July 14th we are wheeling our fold-down bar to the Gin Fall in Greenock. Run by the Scottish Gin Society, Gin Fall is an event recurring all through the year and none of them are to be missed. Your ticket gets you a goody bag with a handbook detailing the gins on offer, a welcome G&T and samples from all the distilleries. Tickets tend to sell out quickly so grab yourself one here.

 

Not to be confused with Gin Fall, Gin Fayre events are also popping up left right and centre and are yet another excuse to enjoy some fine gins and cocktails. Goody bags and welcome drinks will also make an appearance here and the next one can be found in Perth on Saturday July 14th. Yours truly will be attending and as I’m used to a very different kind of Perth make sure you come along and stop me thinking of home. Tickets are available here. Donations towards my homesickness can be made directly into my hand.

It is indeed the season for Highland Games and we’re taking our gazebo to Airth on Saturday July 28th. Airth has a long association with the River Forth and its royal dockyard was used to build warships in the time of James IV. It has a slightly less war-related atmosphere these days but the caber toss is certain to get the blood flowing. If this weather lasts all month then you’ll probably be in need of an ice-cold G&T at the end of the day.

Second only to Highland Games are Scotland’s Agricultural Shows – you’ve not lived until you’ve seen competitions between beautifully groomed Belted Galloway Cows and the worlds’ tiniest miniature horses. We are setting up a shop at both the Doune and Dunblane Show and the Luss Show, one that really warms out hearts as our co-owner June calls the area home. Find us at both shows on Saturday 7th of July and before you say you can’t come to both just remember – our bottles come with their very own canvas gift bag. Just look for the Wallace Monument on our banners.

It’s not right to have favourites with your events but there is one in particular we are super excited to share. On Sunday, August 12th we are taking to the lochs to offer our very first Stirling Gin Cruise with Sweeney’s of Loch Lomond. Setting off from Balloch and enjoying Loch Lomond’s breathtaking scenery for two hours, the cruise will also offer four Stirling Gin drinks all carefully paired with some delicious canapes. Those on board should keep their eyes peeled for our soon-to-be-released Folklore Collection gin liqueurs in the form of a wicked Red Cap and a ghostly Green Lady. Snap up a ticket here.

And finally, we had a little visit from the Scottish Gin Society earlier in the month. They were the first official visitors to our distillery site, currently in need of some major refurbishments, and they wrote a lovely update on our plans here. Work will finally begin this month on The Old Smiddy, now destined to be the first distillery in Stirling. It’s taken a long time to get here and while we have plenty more news in the pipeline we’re keeping it quiet for now. If you are in Stirling any time soon however, you may want to swing past Lower Castlehill and see for yourself our new home.

Happy July!

Stirling Gin offer a variety of tasting packages for private parties, business functions, club events and more. Prices start at £20get in touch with Lara at larawilliams@stirlinggin.co.uk for more information. And remember, if you’re simply after a bottle for yourself or as a gift, they can be bought online (embed link here).

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