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We were lucky enough to catch up with 1881 Gin‘s distiller, Emma, to find out a little bit more about how her distilling journey began and find out what makes 1881 Gin so special.

How did your distilling journey begin?

I completed my undergrad in Food Design & Nutrition, so I have always had an interest in the food & beverage industry and the overall production process. During the summer before my final year, I spent 3 months in Australia where I visited multiple breweries, distilleries and vineyards. My love of Gin grew from there. I came home, applied for the MSc course at Heriot Watt and about a year later I was in Edinburgh. During my MSc year we learned everything from mashing in for brewing to distilling grain spirit for whiskey. My love had always been for Gin distilling though and I knew that was the direction I wanted to go in.

What’s the best thing about making Gin?

The versatility of it. The huge variety of botanicals that you can use to create unique flavours. I like how scientific distilling is but at the same time it is an art, where you can be as creative as you like. By changing one ingredient you change the entire composition and flavour of the finished spirit.

Also, tasting it after!

With so many botanicals to choose from, do you have favourites that you keep going back to?

I like a citrusy bitter Gin with a little spice. I don’t think I could pick a single botanical as my favourite, so many play vital roles in creating a well-balanced Gin and I plan on experimenting with as many as possible for new flavours and 1881 Gin creations.

What’s your favourite serve?

I like to keep it simple, 35ml of Sipsmith London Dry in a highball with slimline tonic and a big wedge of lime.

All four 1881 gins

What do you think makes 1881 Gin different?

I like the idea of using local ingredients where possible. I feel where 1881 Gin stands out is that it not only intends to use locally sourced ingredients but it uses water from Shieldgreen that has supplied the entire Hydro Hotel since it opened. So why not use it in gin? I love the history behind the creation of the 1881 Gin brand as a whole, it tells a very unique story!

Shieldgreen Peebles Hydro Water Source

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