Our summer tipple of choice? The botanical spirits from Scottish Dunnet Bay Distillery
When the weather gets like this, there is one thing we are craving more than anything else. No, it’s not a salad box or iced green tea (although we wouldn’t say no) – if we’re all being totally honest the one thing we’d love on a hot summer’s day is a good old fashion G&T.
Okay, so it’s not exactly usual we’d rave about an alcohol tipple but we are absolutely LOVING the botanical spirit collection from Scottish Dunnet Bay Distilleries. We had a good laugh when the Rock Rose gin and Holy Grass vodka landed on our desks in Healthista HQ, but the second we opened up the packaging and saw the spirits all of us were clamouring to take a bottle home to try over the weekend. Why?
Dunnet Bay Distilleries have the most beautiful packaging. As I tried to fight my corner for taking home the gin, I was envisioning the bottle sitting in my kitchen as a makeshift vase, overflowing with Shasta Daisies.
after eight months they had already surpassed their own targets and sold 12,000 bottles
Unsurprisingly, Dunnet Bay Distilleries live up in Dunnet Bay, Caithness – the most northerly county of Scotland, launched by husband and wife Martin and Claire Murray. The couple has had a passion for brewing and distilling since their days as students in Edinburgh and in 2014 they turned their part-time pastime into a full-time job. When the couple first put their business plan together they hoped to sell 10,000 bottles in the first year, but after eight months they had already surpassed their own targets and sold 12,000 bottles, with the first batch selling out in 40 hours.
And we can see what all the fuss is about. I took this gin home to a summer BBQ at my house and it went down a dream (the whole bottle disappeared in one evening!) Despite the distillery suggesting you match the gin with a sprig of rosemary or orange peel, we paired the gin with tonic and raspberries. It was fresh, light and flowery. The Rock Rose Gin gets its name from the couple’s first botanical forage along the Pentland Firth, where the flower Rhodiola Rosea was introduced to them by a local herbalist – which looked like a rose in the rocks.
The vodka had such a smooth taste, it was almost slightly creamy.
Dunnet Bay use this ‘rose in the rocks’ along with a blend of traditional and local botanicals to create a unique taste. The distillery describes how over a thousand years ago, the Vikings would harvest wild exposed cliffs like the ones in the north of Scotland and gather the Rhodiola Rosea. The herb is known as an ‘adaptogenic’ and has been shown to help calm stress. So, was thought to give them extra strength to carry on with their difficult journeys – and on a Friday night after a long, working week at Healthista HQ I could do with a bit of Rhodiola Rosea myself (in gin form, of course).
Healthista video producer Will Coddington took home the Holy Grass Vodka to taste and it’s safe to say that he was more than impressed. ‘The vodka had such a smooth taste, it was almost slightly creamy.’ He blended the vodka with various mixers and found that even with a high percentage of alcohol the vodka was great quality and didn’t overpower the drinks, ‘I had a tonic with it and it matched perfectly.’ Plus, with the word botanical splashed across the front of the bottle we could almost convince ourselves it’s good for us.