Could honeyberry gin be your new favourite drink?

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Deborah Cicurel
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Ah, gin. From trying to convince ourselves that it's actually full of health benefits, to wondering what our love of a good old G&T says about our personalities, to applying for jobs as a 'gintern' (i.e. getting paid to drink gin - could there be a better way to spend your time?), there's no denying that we’re more than a little obsessed with Mother’s Ruin.

And now we could be set to fall even deeper in love with it, as a brand new type of gin made out of a 'superberry' is due to hit our shelves. 

According to the Scotsman, the magenta-coloured honeyberry gin is tipped to be the next big thing, with a limited number of bottles soon to arrive in Scotland. 

The honeyberry is native to Russia, and has a high tolerance for cold weather – which Angus farmer Stewart Arbuckle correctly assumed would make it feel right at home in chilly Scotland. He planted the country’s first orchard of ‘blue honeysuckle’ in 2014, and went on to create a gin out of the wintry berries.

According to the report, the honeyberry has been hailed a superfruit due to its antioxidant qualities, reportedly "containing up to four times as much as the similar-looking blueberry" as well as "higher levels of vitamin C than an orange and nearly as much potassium as a banana".

We're not going to think about whether all these beneficial nutrients are diluted somewhat when the gin comes into it...

And it's not just gin that Arbuckle wants to create from his crop, with other alcoholic drinks including "wine, fizz, liqueurs and port-style beverages" in the pipeline.

“It was just a small crop this year because our orchard is young,” he told the paper. “The best way of adding value to a small crop is to turn it into something and so the first thing we’re doing is gin. We’ve sold a few punnets of the fruit in our farm shop this summer but our key focus for honeyberries as a whole is the alcohol.

“There’s a lovely romance about it. And to have our own version of vineyards here in Scotland, where we’ve got a grape-like fruit that is perfect for wines, champagnes and ports, would be amazing for both the product and potential agro-tourism down the line.”

He also stressed the hands-on approach to creating the gin, with the new concoction being created near the fields the berries grew on, at "what is probably Scotland’s smallest distillery".

Tony Reeman-Clark, chair of the Scottish Craft Distillers Association and the man in charge of creating the new drink, told the newspaper honeyberry gin would "change the face of fruit-growing in Scotland.”

“The honeyberry gin captures the whole essence of craft distilling," he said. “It’s novel, it’s innovative, it’s high quality, it has great provenance and it’s good for Scotland.

“Craft distilling is a new and growing industry here, which provides a great wrapper around big industry. We are small, nimble and adaptable. We can innovate in order to be traditional. This is a really exciting time for Scotland.”

All we want to know is - where can we get some and please can we get a bottle in time for Friday night? Honeyberry gin sounds dreamy...


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Deborah Cicurel

Deborah Cicurel is a freelance journalist who writes about everything from lifestyle and travel to fashion and entertainment. She loves spicy maki rolls, cosy socks and visiting far-flung destinations, and is unable to walk past a dog on the street without stopping to befriend it.