The 5pm Dining blog is always happy to see new gins appear behind the bar, especially when the gin in question is Scottish.
Keen-eyed, recent visitors to the Central Belt’s more fashionable watering holes may have spotted an alluring new arrival in the shape of Daffy’s Gin.
A small batch, premium gin, it’s distilled in an old copper whisky still using top notch grain spirit made from French wheat.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s artist
The bottle’s striking label shows Daffy the gin goddess and was designed by Robert McGinnis, the artist who came up with the film posters for Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Barbarella, among many others.
Daffy’s is designed to be drunk straight over ice but also comes highly recommended as a Daffy’s and tonic (known as a D&T naturally) or in a Negroni.
One of the features that make it stand out is the use of Lebanese mint among more conventional botanics such as juniper, orris and angelica.
The Middle East connection comes about through the French Lebanese roots of Mignonne Khazaka, wife of Chris Molyneaux, the creator of Daffy’s gin.
Strength and flavour
A cousin of spearmint, the Lebanese mint gives it a juicy freshness. The gin is bottled at 43.4%, which Chris reckons is the perfect balance of strength and flavour.
Born in Northern Ireland but a long term Edinburgh resident, Chris’ interest in the drinks trade started when, at the age of seventeen, he wrote off to hundreds of French vineyards asking if they would teach him how to make wine.
One said yes and it just happed to be Chateau Palmer, one of France’s most prestigious chateaux. Wine-making led to grappa distillation and then, after a lengthy detour into chartered accountancy, Chris started working for Diageo in Scotland where he extended his distillation studies.
Lebanese mint notwithstanding, Daffy’s Gin is the result of Chris’ wish to make a distinctly Scottish gin.
‘I wanted to make a gin which was Scottish in terms of its taste profile,’ he explained over a Daffy’s in Edinburgh’s Panda and Sons. ‘I experimented with milk thistle, gorse and heather but they didn’t give the flavours I wanted.
‘It took a lot of trial and error but eventually we came up with a formula that had three characteristics which are very Scottish. It has a woodiness like a malt whisky; a fresh, grassy element and also a long finish that suggests toffee, caramel and chocolate.’
Edinburgh stockists include the aforementioned Panda and Sons, The Devil’s Advocate, The West Room and 56 North, which, incidentally, was the first ever bar to stock the gin.