Gin of the month: November

This month’s gin comes from Arbroath, the home of ‘Arbroath Smokie’ and therefore an important place in terms of Scottish Food and Drink. Smithies Gin is the latest produce from Smithies Deli, a local delicatessen and coffee shop. They stock over 200 gins from around the world and so you could say that know a thing - or two - about gin! This gin is the brainchild of Patti and her two daughters, Beth and Jill who were inspired by Patti’s late father Donald and his garden. The gin making trio set out with the aim to make a gin that “didn’t dictate didn’t dictate pairings or accompaniments, but that was refreshing to drink with a simple tonic while also able to handle a more robust flavouring if desired.”

We wholeheartedly agree with this statement - Smithies Gin is extremely versatile. It has a citrus aroma from the orange, lemon and lime peel in the botanicals. It is a lovely smell on these bitterly cold autumnal nights, promising a bittersweet and warming savoury goodness! Other botanicals include Bay leaves, lemongrass, gooseberries, redcurrants and our favourite sounding Grains of Paradise, which is a spicy peppercorn and that is where the bittersweet fruity yet punchy herbal taste comes from.

It is a smooth drink and we have very much enjoyed testing it ‘on the rocks’. The gin has a distinctive savoury taste, but not an overpowering flavour. When thinking about garnishes we love what Beth, one of the distillers said - “We have tried just about every flavour and garnish we could think of from orange peel and lavender to tomato and basil, which is surprisingly one of our favourite combinations. We’re excited to see how people enjoy our gin and the pairings that they love the most.” Coming from a Deli, we know the distillers know a thing or two about flavours - the gin definitely is packed full of them.

We have enjoyed trying it out with different flavours this month including frozen raspberries, pink grapefruit, basil and pink peppercorns as well as different tonics and mixers.  After lots of taste tests, we eventually decided on our recommended serves.

Steph’s perfect serve is with Fentiman’s Herbal Tonic Water and Pink Grapefruit. The herbal tonic water brings out a little more sweet tastes in the gin, and complements the savoury flavours of the gin.

Michael recommends Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade with Pink Peppercorns. The gin stands up to the Rose Lemonade flavour, again injecting a subtle sweetness and helps balance out the flavours. The pink peppercorns help those Grains of Paradise, giving the drink a little kick.

We definitely recommend you try it in a cocktail too; our recommendations would be a Martini or a Bloody Mary, but it would so work with anything that takes your fancy. Overall we think this is a superb all-round gin. It’s great one to have in your cabinet that would work in all seasons, with all different types of gin drinkers and all sorts of mixers.