Sing for Pleasure launches Anniversary Gin

“Gin and tonic is so nice:
have it with a little ice.
Next you add a slice of lime;
not to do so is a crime!”

If you’ve ever attended one of our weekend courses or Summer School, you may well have joined us for a cheeky G&T, or sung the round we all know and love (available here in our Golden Rounds book!). So, it’s only fitting that we mark our 60th anniversary with a special edition SfP gin of our very own. Gin has become a very popular drink over the last few years, so choosing the right one was not going to be easy. In 2022, Head of Programme, Ula Weber and husband Baz Chapman moved to the Scottish Highlands and set up a small crafting business. It was at a craft market on the shore of Loch Ness that Ula first came across the Great Glen Distillery. The gin is award-winning, and their sales director, Martin Samuels is a musician, so it seemed the perfect fit. The distillery was delighted to work with SfP to produce a small batch for our anniversary.

Ula and Baz visited the Great Glen Distillery to take delivery of the gin and chat to Adam Dwyer, the distillery’s co-founder, managing director and master distiller, about this special edition anniversary gin.

Adam, tell us about the Great Glen Distillery
We opened in 2021 in Drumnadrochit on the Western shore of Loch Ness and are Scotland’s smallest distillery, using a single still called Jacqueline. We use as many local botanicals as
we can – things like heather and sorrel, and of course the golden chanterelles that feature in the Inverness Gin, which is the one we’ve used for the SfP Special Edition Gin. Our first gin was the Great Glen Gin in the purple bottle, which launched in July 2021 and just took off like a rocket, winning loads of awards! And we’ve now got four gins: our main Great Glen, we’ve got the Pink Gin which was voted Best Pink Gin in Scotland, we’ve got Inverness Gin which was voted Best New Scottish Gin, Best Gin & Tonic in Scotland and got a Star in the Great Taste Awards, and we’ve also got Caledonian Canal Gin which we launched to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Caledonian and Union Canals.

How and why does this gin contain chanterelles?
We blanch and freeze our chanterelles and then dry them before using them for the gin, and what we get from them is a creamy mouth feel and a fruitiness that just carries the oils and the other botanicals, so that you can taste them more, especially when the gin is served neat.

What are your tasting notes for the SfP gin?

I’d say it’s predominantly elderflower, pink peppercorn, almost like an apple flavour, even though it doesn’t have any apple in the recipe. A fruity and savoury balance of a lot of Amalfi lemon peel, loads of orange peel, a little bit of a spiciness from the pink peppercorns, a big hit of elderflower, and then you get a sort of umami-rich flavour from the sugar kelp seaweed and chanterelles.

And finally, the thing everyone will want to know – how best to serve our anniversary
Take your glass, put plenty ice in the glass – right to the top. Then you take a couple of strips of orange peel using a vegetable peeler and you squeeze them over the glass. Then a large measure of gin (I prefer 50ml of gin to 150ml of tonic), then the tonic – and I always go for Light Fever Tree or similar to keep out of the way of the gin’s own flavours. And then a simple garnish that enhances the gin – for me a couple of peels of fresh orange or tangerine.

Due to licensing laws, the anniversary gin will only be available to purchase at certain events throughout 2024, including the Bromsgrove Weekend and Summer School. The gin is intended to be a fun way to celebrate our special anniversary, so please enjoy the drink responsibly. Our thanks go to Baz for creating the bottle label, and Adam and Martin for being at the distillery to personally hand over the first batch.

As Adam tells us, this particular gin is best served with orange peel, not lime. Hmm… how do we make that work in the Gin and Tonic round? Over to you!

Gin being bottled
Gin being bottled
Gin being labelled
Gin being labelled