The featured gin this month being enjoyed by our Scottish Gin Club members is Pixel Spirits Devil's Staircase Spiced Gin from North Ballachulish in the north west Highlands.
Founded by husband and wife team, Craig and Noru Innes, the micro distillery has been self-built from scratch (with the help of various family and friends) in the shell of a 17th century A-frame barn which is situated on the grounds of the Loch Leven Hotel in North Ballachulish.
The distillery houses Orsetta, the 100 litre still whose name means ‘little bear’. Orsetta is an iStill constructed from stainless steel which is more durable than traditional copper. She is also bound in a black insulated jacket which means the whole distillation process is more thermally efficient and therefore better for the environment.
The converted outbuildings at the distillery are also home to the Pixel Spirits Gin School. At the gin school you will learn about the art of distilling, the key botanicals in the gin making process and then you will work with your own mini copper pot still to create your very own small batch gin.
Pixel Spirits' Devil's Staircase Spiced Gin is a delightfully warming Highland gin. Traditional juniper and coriander are combined with flavours of citrus zest, notes of cardamom and nutmeg to create this warming gin.
Handcrafted in batches of less than 100 bottles, Devil's Staircase Gin is made using a combination of locally foraged botanicals and sustainably sourced spices.
Each bottle is individually numbered by batch and bottle bumber and has been signed by Craig, the Master Distiller.
Devil’s Staircase takes its name from the off-road mountain bike and walking route from Glencoe to Kinlochleven, part of the West Highland Way, and just a few miles from the distillery. The Devil’s Staircase was initially given its name by the soldiers who were part of the road building programme of General Wade. The carrying of building materials up that stretch of the road was not popular! The name was perpetuated when some of the workers building the Blackwater Dam chose to travel to the nearest pub after their wages had been paid out. For the workers at Kinlochleven the journey to the Kingshouse Hotel proved to be more difficult than many realised. The journey back was even worse as unsteady legs meant that many were unable to manage the return trip and, on a cold winter’s night, the devil often ”claimed his own“.
A very versatile gin, Devil's Staircase is great when enjoyed with a classic tonic and finished with a ribbon of orange peel and bashed cardamom pods. For those who do not like tonic or would like to enhance the spiced notes, it pairs well with giniger ale and orange peel. Devil's Staircase also lends itself as the base of a variety of cocktails including the classic Negroni.