Sampling the Crossbill Gin Range

Crossbill gin range

Crossbill Gin was launched in 2013 and it was the first gin made with 100% Scottish botanicals. These botanicals, juniper and rosehip, are handpicked with care in the Highlands to ensure regeneration of the juniper bushes. Each year they explore different juniper clusters and therefore each batch will be slightly different.

Recently, the Glasgow-based Crossbill Distillery has launched a new seasonal gin range where all the botanicals are based on what type of ingredients are available in Scottish nature at that time of the year.

Scottish Juniper

Did you know that juniper was once one of Scotland’s largest exports?

In the 17th century, Scottish juniper was sent to Holland for genever production. It was also widely used in Britain for gin production.

Unfortunately, over time, through over-harvesting and mismanagement, juniper is now one of the rarest plants in the UK. This is why Crossbill Distillery is now working with landowners and conservation organisations to maintain sustainable sources of juniper for future generations.

Juniper is a native evergreen shrub that grows in wild clusters alongside heather and bilberry in the remote moorlands of the Scottish Highlands. Common juniper is a spiny bush with needles. The male tree produces pollen from small flower cones in spring, and the female tree produces cones that look like berries.

gin still

Crossbill Gin range

Their core gin range includes Crossbill 100% Scottish Dry Gin, 43.8% ABV, which contains only Scottish juniper and rosehip, and Crossbill 200 Single Specimen Dry Gin, 59.8% ABV, which is made using juniper from a single-specimen bush that is approximately 200 years old and, of course, rosehip, which adds sweet yet delicate notes. It is surprisingly easy sipping for such a strong gin. The flavours are softer and sweeter than you’d expect. Definitely Martini material.

One of the latest additions is Crossbill Green Dry Gin, 40%ABV. This is a small-batch gin created in collaboration with Gin to My Tonic Gin Club. It is made using three different parts of the Scottish juniper plant from the Cairngorms National Park – blue juniper berries, green juniper berries and juniper needles. The outcome is a fresh, citrusy and peppery gin. Somehow, I was expecting it to be more piney but it’s actually much more citrusy.

Crossbill gin
Crossbill green juniper gin
Crossbill 200

Seasonal gin range

Crossbill Distillery has added a seasonal gin range into its production. These are very small-batch gins made using only Scottish botanicals. Each season and each year these gins will be different, with new botanical combinations. The base of each gin will be Scottish juniper and rosehip, but the balance of these two will also vary.

The first one was released last summer and was made using Scottish raspberries and brambles from near Crail. This was a very fruity gin with a strong flavour of fresh raspberries. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of fruity gins, but I can appreciate the natural flavours in this gin.

Their winter 2023 gin was my favourite, made with bitter-sweet sea buckthorn berries from East Lothian and savoury dulse seaweed gathered in Fife. I love my savoury gins. This release has slightly higher rosehip content, which helps to bring more sweetness, the sea buckthorn adds a citrusy tang, and the seaweed ties it all together with slightly briny and savoury flavours.

They kindly gifted me a bottle of this so there will be Dirty Martinis in my near future!

Need more help with savoury gins? See my previous blog post How to Serve Savoury Gin

Crossbill seasonal gin range

And finally, there is the spring 2023 release (available now), which is made with lemon balm and rhubarb, both from the distiller’s own garden. It is excellent. The rhubarb is nothing like you’d expect, more tart than sweet, and the lemon balm brings such a lovely freshness to this gin. A must-try this summer!

And finally, there is a Staghorn Sumac Gin, 46% ABV, which is great for Negronis! Obviously, not 100% Scottish but still tasty. The sumac is from New Hampshire, and it is mixed in with Scottish juniper. This is a very limited-edition gin, and once it is gone, it is not coming back… or so I’ve been told. Every Negroni lover should rush to Crossbill’s online shop and buy some before it runs out. It is on sale for £24.95!

Spring and summer releases
navy strength gin
Sumac gin

Have you tried any Crossbill gins?

Disclaimer: Some of the links used are affiliate links. If you buy through the links, I may receive a commission for the sale. This has no effect on the price for you.

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