Experience Scottish Gin

At Crossbill Distilling's Gin School at the legendary Barras in Glasgow's East End.

Published: 10th August 2020

Our Experience Scottish Gin series discovers Scotland’s gin makers who offer a Scottish Gin experience. As the popularity of Scottish Gin continues to grow and the world opens up again following a year of Covid-19, there’s never been a better time to support local producers and experience Scottish Gin. From distillery tours and gin and food pairing experiences to gin making and distillation schools, the number of experiences is diverse, guaranteeing there’s a Scottish Gin experience out there for you to discover and enjoy.

Originally distilled in the Highlands on the outskirts of Aviemore, Crossbill Distilling moved to the world famous Barras in Glasgow in 2016. One of the first Scottish Gin producers to launch a gin school, the experience has received a lot of positive press over the years and it’s even been the catalyst for new gin makers and brands coming to market, having taken part and been inspired at the Crossbill Gin School. Like so many, Crossbill Distilling has had to close their gin school experience over the various lockdowns and they’re very much looking forward to reopening the gin school from 22nd May 2021. In this feature, we discover what you can expect from a visit to Crossbill Gin School.

Where is your Scottish Gin experience based?

Since 2016, when we moved our distillery from the outskirts of Aviemore, our Gin School has been based in Glasgow’s East End. More precisely in the Barras Art and Design, a multipurpose venue and creative hub in the legendary Barras.

What does your Scottish Gin experience consist of?

Our gin master runs a three-hour masterclass in which he explains how gin is made and the various botanicals used. Guests then select their botanical basket and distil their very own gin in a miniature copper pot still. Finally, guests bottle, label and wax seal their unique creation to take away and enjoy.

How long does your average Scottish Gin experience last? 

Usually around three hours. The first hour is dedicated to the theory of gin distillation. This includes a complimentary tutored tasting of the complete Crossbill gin range. The next two hours are a hands-on experience. Guests are able to create their own gin from scratch and then take it home to enjoy.

What are some of the best bits of your Scottish Gin experience?

It’s pretty special when guests start creating their own gin recipes. Many of the flavour combinations we have seen are incredibly innovative and not far off those made by professional distillers. It’s also amazing to watch them when they first taste their gin coming of the mini still. People tend to get very excited.

How many people can take part in your Scottish Gin experience?

One voucher admits one plus guest. Usually, we would have five couples in one session, but we decided to lower the number to eight people due to the current health and safety restrictions.

What’s the feedback from visitors?

Overwhelmingly positive. Our Gin School was one of the first of its kind in Scotland, and we have been working hard to make sure that our guests receive the highest possible value for their money. We are currently number three on TripAdvisor’s list of Classes and Workshops in Glasgow. The Gin School has also had positive reviews in international publications such as National Geographic, The New York Times and Conde Nast Traveller.

How can visitors make a booking? 

You can visit our website here to buy a voucher and select your date. Alternatively, just give us a call on +44 (0)141 237 4664, so we can discuss any special requests you might have and get your booking arranged.

Do you think Scottish Gin experiences are an important part of the story of Scottish Gin? 

Definitely. Scottish Gin is a unique phenomenon, not so different from Scottish whisky. There are over ninety distilleries now, and most of them are very distinctive from each other. We believe that it is through these experiences, whether it is a tutored tasting or gin school, that people learn to understand these nuances. This can help them find products (and brands) they will truly love and enjoy.

What are some of the other attractions in your local area that you would recommend visitors check out? 

The famous Barras market. If you are around on Saturday or Sunday morning, make sure you have a look around and explore the stalls. It does not matter if you are an antique fan or just casually browsing, you can find some serious gems in there. Of course we would recommend some of the great pubs and restaurants in the neighbourhood, such as 226 Gallowgate, St Luke’s or The Gate. For music lovers, the Barrowland Ballroom is the place to be.

Learn more about Crossbill Distilling here.

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