The first Scottish gin from Deeside has arrived: Esker Gin.
Created by husband and wife team Steve and Lynne Duthie, Esker Gin is the only gin in Scotland which uses birch sap as a botanical.
Lynne and Steve, who previously worked in the oil industry, began creating Esker Gin last October in a copper pot still they bought from Portugal.
The still has a column as part of it which infuses the smaller, more delicate botanicals, such as the citrus and floral botanicals.
“We have always been really passionate about gin,” Lynne said. “We loved it even before it became fashionable!”
“To create Esker Gin we did a lot of research into what kind of flavours we liked and what kind of pot still we should buy. The copper pot still is considered the creme de la creme. It gives a depth of flavour.”
Despite a wealth of Scottish gins launching in recent years (just check out our 5pm gin map of Scotland), being the only gin from Deeside and the only Scottish gin to contain birch sap, sets Esker Gin aside.
The birch sap used in the gin is sapped from the trees of the Kincardine Estate which is located near Steve and Lynne’s home in Deeside.
Esker Gin’s new bottle features a silver birch motif to reflect its unique botanical.
Other botanicals included in the gin are heather, milk thistle, peppercorn and citrus.
“When we told Kincardine Estate we were making gin they were really interested in helping,” Lynne said.
“We found ourselves doing things we never thought we would find ourselves doing such as tapping birch trees for sap over an intense weekend.”
“The birch has a real sweetness to it,” Steve added. “It gives it a real depth of flavour which means it can be drank neat as well as with tonic.”
“The gin is best served with tonic over ice with a garnish of orange peel. The gin is citrusy on the nose so the orange peel helps bring out the flavour.”
At the moment Steve and Lynne are focusing on Esker Gin, which they distill in small batches.
But their passion for the spirit means they are already thinking of other gin avenues they can pursue.
“We want to expand Esker Gin a bit more and get it out there,” Steve said.
“We would love to expand and diversify with other flavours. We are looking at sloe gin recipes as well.”