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Hops and Barley & the Case of the Curious Colour-changing Gin

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I had never been to the Secret Herb Garden at Old Pentland (just outside Edinburgh) but as soon as I heard they had discovered the mystery of colour-changing gin, I had to find out what this mystery colour changing gin was all about.

The Old Curiosity Distillery, the fiendish notion of owner and herbologist, Hamish Martin along with Liberty, his wife and cofounder No 2, Steve Ross have blended the distillery with the Secret Herb Garden, a cunning operation that grows over 600 varieties of herbs, many of which are used to provide discerning Edinburgh restaurants with unique natural ingredients as well as produce: herbal salts, candles, beer, wine, and now gin; fiendishly clever.

If you are unsure of how to take your gin, try these expressions:

  • Neat: normally gin comes with flavour-modifying mixers, tonic, vermouth etc. as gin isn’t usually meant to be sipped but some gins can pull this off with botanicals (or citrus or spices) crafting a softer, more rounded or complex flavour.
  • Tonic: This makes the already amazing colours, become even more vibrant, especially when complemented with Hops and Barley’s superb range of tonics, choose from Bottlegreen, Double Dutch, Peter Spanton, Indi and Co and many others.
  • Food: try smoked salmon, your favourite strong cheese or cured meats
  • Ice and minimal natural garnish: juniper berries to enhance further the natural flavour, or try pink peppercorns for a smidgeon of colour and warmth or even star anise to give a spicy aniseedy inflection.

It is so exciting to have a collection of gins that are bursting with ingredients grown and nurtured by people whose love of nature shines through. Each expression will stimulate the palette, and provided a natural and unadulterated taste.

The Old Curiosity Distillery’s 3 colour-changing gins:

Lavender & Echinacea

If a gin could heal, this one would. Infused with the curative powers of lavender and the medicinal magic of echinacea.

Apothecary Rose

Subtle in fragrance and naturally floral, the Apothecary Rose is reminiscent of romance and chivalry.

Chamomile and Cornflour

Naturally a vivid blue, this is an infusion of cornflower, complemented with subtle chamomile flower notes, a calming distillation that symbolises the beauty of nature.

We must say here at Hops & Barley, we loved that taste as well as the colour changing magic it provided. So get your hands on them now, before the magic spirits (see what we did there) disappear.