We spent a day with St Andrews Gin Soc making our own gin
Touring, tasting and making our own gins
For the ‘One Night in Wonderland‘ event last semester, the St Andrews Gin Society collaborated with Darnley’s Gin, a family-owned brand in the heart of Fife.
Darnley’s invited the committee to Kingsbarns, a short twenty-minute drive outside of St Andrews, to tour the distillery.
Here, the Gin Soc learnt more about the history of gin, from its Dutch roots which inspired the phrase ‘Dutch Courage’ to its immense popularity in England, ushering in an era known as the ‘Gin Craze’. They also explored how the Wemyss family got involved in the business to create Darnely’s, one of Scotland’s finest brands.
Darnley’s wonderful team also explained the process of gin making from combining and heating wheat, malt and yeast to fermenting this mixture. As Kingsbarns also distils whiskey, they learnt some key differences between whiskey and gin making.
The society’s tour was topped off with a private gin-tasting experience where they tried some of Darnley’s unique flavours.
Most excitingly for those in the society, they were invited to explore Darnley’s Gin School where they could craft their own gin recipe and design a bespoke gin flavour to serve at the event.
Using a combination of different spices, they experimented with three distinct flavours: citrus, berry and spiced.
As the vital ingredient of any gin recipe, juniper berries were included in each recipe. Society members combined different botanicals, from nutmeg to cinnamon, soaking them in vodka and Darnley’s own distilled mixture. This was then diluted to ensure the alcohol content did not exceed 40%. These were left to set and the gins were ready for tasting within three days.
The winning recipe, which was served at the Alice in Wonderland-themed event, consisted of floral undertones such as lavender and fresh berries. Titled ‘Wonderland,’ it was combined with Fevertree’s Premium Indian Tonic Water and was a resounding success amongst guests.
They also selected Darnely’s Original and Spiced Gin flavours, coupling them with Tonic Water and Ginger Ale, respectively to serve at the party.
Darnley’s offered an incredibly informative and immersive experience. The Gin Soc followed the gin making process from beginning to end, learning about each element and task involved. All in all, it offered a new appreciation for gins and the wonderful work done at Darnley’s.
You can follow Darnley’s on Instagram and learn more about their gins and Gin School via their website.