Scottish pub launches haggis-flavoured gin for Burns Night

The owners of what is claimed to be Scotland’s smallest pub have launched a haggis-flavoured a gin in time for Burns Night.
Simon and Debbie Rutherford of Rutherfords Micropub in KelsoSimon and Debbie Rutherford of Rutherfords Micropub in Kelso
Simon and Debbie Rutherford of Rutherfords Micropub in Kelso

Debbie Rutherford, 52, and husband Simon, 51, dreamed up the concoction at their micropub in the Scottish Borders.

The imaginative couple, who run Rutherfords Micropub, in Kelso, began making their own gin in October 2017.

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Their far-out flavours so far included Parma Violets and rose petals, but in the run-up to Burns Night they wanted to try something different - touted as an alternative to whisky.

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Debbie said: “The idea has always been to have really unusual drinks - we give people an experience when they come in. We have got our own gin over a year ago and have been experimenting. I suggested Parma Violet, and said ‘it’s like Marmite’ - we then started thinking about different things, and thought ‘what about haggis?’ “It would be something really different.”

After doing a quick internet search, the only reference they could find to Haggis gin was an April Fool’s joke - so they went ahead and started trying out the recipe.

The mum-of-one added: “We looked at recipes for haggis and looked and all the spices and experimented with those. The first time was disgusting - there was too much nutmeg.”

But after pressing on, they discovered it could be made to taste good after all.

“It’s more like spiced gin,” Debbie said. “It’s actually really nice with Irn Bru.”

She suggested serving the gin with Irn Bru, rather than a traditional gin and tonic.

“Irm Bru has a bit of spice to it, but it works well with tonic as well,” Debbie said. “We’re happy with the flavour.”

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To launch the gin, the publicans invited Scots performer Jesse Rae, who grew up in the town and attended Kelso High School, to address the haggis.

Debbie described the 80s pop star, who wears a kilt at all times, as “the most Scottish person I could think of apart from Robbie Burns, and he’s dead”.

She hopes the Burns Night event, on Friday, will be “quite a spectacle”.

The gin will be for sale behind the bar and also online, costing £24 for a 50cl bottle.