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Pickering’s Gin is based on an old Bombay recipe, handwritten on a fragment of paper dated 17 July 1947. Kept as a family secret for over 66 years, it resurfaced in 2013 when they began distilling at Summerhall. The team fine-tuned the recipe, perfecting its balance of botanicals and tweaking it to the contemporary palate. The result is a spectacularly smooth, refreshing and flavoursome gin – fresh, light and bold flavours of citrus and juniper give way to intense warming spice of cardamom, coriander seed and clove.
Established in 2013, Summerhall Distillery, Edinburgh’s first exclusive gin distillery in over 150 years, is housed on the site of an old animal hospital and veterinary school known locally as the Dick Vet. It’s now an arts venue called Summerhall with a pub and the distillery next door. Pickering’s was lovingly created by its founders, Marcus Pickering and Matthew Gammell. Business partners for 12 years. Friends for even longer. Their ethos? If you can’t find what you want, make it yourself. Marcus’s interest in gin came from his time working at Skibo Castle, perfecting cocktails and leading tours around the local distilleries. Matthew was responsible for transforming the old animal hospital dog kennels into a fully operational distillery, armed with his engineering degree and experience in the property renovation and construction sector.
Navy Strength Gin
Navy Strength Gin, sometimes called gunpowder or overproof, has to be at least 57% ABV to be classed as a Navy Strength Gin in the UK. It earned the name ‘Navy Strength’ because sailors used to test the ABV of their rationed gin on the ship by mixing it with a small quantity of gunpowder and if the mixture ignited they would know the gin was suitable and had not been watered down. The higher ABV can often amplify the flavours and aromas.
The Summerhall Distillery, Edinburgh’s first gin distillery in the city for over 150 years, is located in Edinburgh’s old animal hospital, The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies or locally know as the ‘Dick Vet’. In 2013 it was refurbished and became one of Europe’s leading centres for creative arts housing an international art museum as well as hosting theatre, music and literature events in the building. The distillery is discreetly tucked just off the main courtyard and resides in the old dog kennels. Packed with character, it is a fitting home for Pickering’s gin and a magical setting for tours and tastings.