Gin Liqueurs – The Trend That’s Here To Stay
Here’s a head scratcher for even the most enthusiastic gin tippler. What in the world IS a gin liqueur? The easiest way to describe such a concoction would be simply this: a flavoured, sweetened distilled gin infused with either natural ingredients or artificial additions. Most liqueurs are sweetened with sugar and many are lightly coloured with fruit juices or made darker with direct fruit maceration. Classically, a gin liqueur has a lower ABV than that of a London Dry or Old Tom. Some hover around the 15% mark, allowing for quite a few tipples before the effects send the drinker straight to a spinning bed.
Here at Stirling Distillery, we want our liqueurs bursting with fruity sweetness but also high enough in ABV that the clean, crisp flavour of our gin shines through. For this reason we settled on 25% – 28% (depending on the juiciness of the fruit). At this strength a dram can be enjoyed as is, with a single cube of ice or a splash of tonic or soda to tart up the sweetness. And all our sweetness comes from locally sourced fruit so you won’t get any sickly aftertaste or syrupy mouthfeel.
Why are we talking about gin liqueurs? Their soaring popularity has not gone unnoticed and for good reason. A properly made gin liqueur is a thing of beauty – adaptable in cocktails and fizz and strong enough to stand on their own. Liqueurs first saw a surge around 2016 but in the last two years this has become a genuine landslide. We have been making gin liqueurs since August 2018 and we pride ourselves on their natural flavours. Fresh raspberries go into our Red Cap and zingy mint and Scottish brambles make up the Green Lady. And in a Stirling Gin first, we have just released an extremely limited edition seasonal liqueur – The Dumyat Pear and Damson. Made with pears from our distillery manager’s allotment and damsons from one of our tour guide’s backyards, this liqueur is full of bold citrus and rich jammy goodness. And with only 60 bottles made, it’s a distillery-only bottling and one you’ll have to be quick to enjoy.
Stirling Distillery will continue to release seasonal liqueur expressions throughout the years. We will focus on fresh Scottish produce and experiment with both classic and unique flavour combinations. Most importantly, there will be a great deal of tasting to get through.