The most important thing for us when we were thinking about our recipe was to create a gin that was unique, enjoyable to drink and reminded us of the city of Glasgow and its people. We needed our gin to be all about its flavour, not fussy or faddy and dependent on garnishes, a gin that you could enjoy glass after glass. And because we knew you'd potentially drink more than you realised, our ingredients had to make our gin as gentle as possible – well, as gentle as any alcohol could be!
Derived from the distinctive prickly plant with its purple flowers and white veins, milk thistle is believed to have a range of potential health benefits due to its active ingredient. Some studies suggest milk thistle has liver-protecting effects and boosts the immune system, making it a perfect addition to alcohol. It may even prevent a hangover - but we can't make any promises! Other believed benefits include improved skin health, supporting bone health and reducing cholesterol.
Glaswegin just wouldn’t be gin without juniper and, with a nod to the influence of the many restaurants, chip shops and ice cream parlours loved throughout Glasgow, our juniper is Italian. Classed as a spice, juniper has a distinctive flavour and also has many perceived health benefits, including helping the kidneys to cleanse the system of excess fluids and stimulating the flow and production of digestive enzymes.
After juniper, coriander seed is the most commonly used botanical in gin. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan, it’s the leaf that so many people dislike, not the seed. Northern grown coriander is fruitier than any southern variety and, following distillation, this botanical creates a complex yet subtle flavour that’s warm, citrusy, nutty and a little bit spicy (like many Glaswegians!). Coriander is believed to lower blood sugar, ease digestive discomfort and improve cholesterol levels.
This plant flourishes in northern cold, wet and dreich climates, just like Glaswegians, and has been used in medicines as far back as the time of the Vikings. Angelica root, or more accurately its aromatic hydrocarbons and essential oils, is most commonly used in producing gin and its earthy, woody tones perfectly complement floral and citrus flavours. Bloating and heartburn can be eased by angelica and it has soothing properties when it comes to nervousness.
Peel is usually what comes to mind when you think of gin and orange but, like a true Glaswegian who likes to be different, we opted for the more subtle orange blossom in our gin. The flower still delivers a delicious citrus flavour and is known to settle upset stomachs, even believed to soothe and relax nerves. There is definitely a theme developing with the purported health benefits of all the botanicals that go into Glaswegin.
Tea is definitely what most people think of when you mention chamomile and the calming qualities that make it popular as a herbal tea make it ideal for our gin. It isn’t as common in gin as you’d think but it brings a warming sweetness to Glaswegin and perfectly complements our other botanicals with its floral notes. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties and is used by herbalists for stomach upsets, tackling anxiety and depression and even helping with insomnia.
Don’t be fooled by the name - pink peppercorns are, in fact, dried berries that are a perfect partner for juniper, creating an exciting flavour that gives a hint of spice and heat without a fiery, peppery taste. Like juniper, pink peppercorns have diuretic qualities, so are good for your kidney health. They’re also an ally in the fight against the common cold and flu which, given the weather in Glasgow is known to be somewhat on the cold side, could come in handy!
The final botanical on our list is the leaf of the sweet bay tree. Used regularly in cooking thanks to its distinctive fragrance and flavour, the savoury bay leaf blends well with our other botanicals and provides a subtle herby flavour. Bay leaves contain vitamins A, C, magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium and iron, and are known to soothe body aches.