With an Autumnal feel to the weather, the landscapes are gradually changing colour. The trees are turning beautifully orange, and red and plump Halloween pumpkins are arriving in the shops ready to be transformed into leering lantern faces.

2022 is Visit Scotland’s Year of Stories, which we are soon going to have plenty to say about! With that in mind the team at Ginspired have selected a few ‘Fables for the Fearless’ & ‘Calming Cocktails’ to get you right in the mood for Halloween, and to give you a sneaky peak at our Spirited Stories Collection!

Ghostly Glamis

Glamis Castle, the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, claims to be one of the most haunted historic houses in Scotland. So when visiting, make sure to keep an eye out for Lady Glamis, who is often reported to be drifting in mist around the clock tower. An unknown ghost in the ‘Haunted Room’, and a white lady who drifts along the corridors may also join you on your visit.

If that’s not enough to get you in the ‘spirit’ of things keep a look out for a long legged ghoul, known as Jack the Runner. Be careful in the courtyard, as sources have recorded a pale girl being dragged away by an invisible force. We will leave the giant in armour who looms over people in bed, and the re-enacted murder in the parlour, for another day!

If you are brave enough to visit Glamis Castle be sure to pop in and see the team at the Gin Bothy. They are a friendly bunch and not the least bit scary.

The Bothy Experience, home of the award winning Gin Bothy is nestled in the historic village of Glamis in Angus, just minutes from the gates of Glamis Castle. The Experience, like a bothy, is free to explore. The Bothy Beginnings room takes you through the Gin Bothy journey while the Bothy Tales room tells the story of Bothies across Scotland.

The Bothy Larder shop has locally sourced food, drinks, and carefully selected gifts, as well as takeaway hot and cold drinks, and treats from Bothy Bakery.

Click here for the Bothy Toffee Apple Cocktail Recipe. Featuring seasonal apples with a Halloween inspired twist.
Chilli Devil served with tonic water.
Image courtesy of The Gin Bothy.

Calming Cocktail No.1 – Black Thistle, Heather Empress

Over to the east of Glamis Castle you have Black Thistle Distillery. Their Heather Mist is perfect for cocktails. This shimmer gin will leave you spellbound.

You will need:

2 oz Heather Mist Gin

1 oz lemon juice

½ oz peach syrup

¼ oz violet liqueur

¼ oz simple syrup

3 lemon Twist

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill it 3/4 with ice.

Shake until chilled, then fine strain the cocktail into a coupe glass.

Garnish with an edible flower, if desired. (make sure it’s not Deadly Nightshade!)

Cocktail recipe and image courtesy of Black Thistle Distillery, Brechin.

The Big Grey Man

Scotland’s spookiest mountain has got to be Ben Macdui in the Cairngorms. Not only is it the UK’s second highest peak but it also has a reputation for ghostly apparitions, particularly in winter.

Climbers high up on the mountain have often reported an eerie atmosphere, the sound of footsteps following them and even sightings of what has become known as The Big Grey Man.

One explanation offered for this is a phenomenon of reflected light which only occurs in very high places. This is known as The Brocken Spectre. In effect, it is the climber’s own shadow reflected back at them. This is why The Big Grey Man is often reported as disconcertingly copying everything the climber does. Sounds like a great excuse to try out your best Strictly moves and see what happens!

Cairngorn Gin range with miniatures, glasses and barware

In the shadows of Ben Macdui is the Cairngorm Gin Company. Nestled beneath the breath-taking Cairngorms in the Highlands of Scotland, it is one of Scotland’s newest micro-distilleries. Distilling and bottling the small batch premium spirit, they use only the finest botanicals and crystal clear water from the River Spey. Currently there are no tours available, but click here to buy it online.

Calming Cocktail No.2 – Bees Knees

With the addition of honey, this cocktail may help calm the nerves. We suggest using Caorunn Gin, Daffy’s Gin or how about Inshriach Gin all nestled within the Cairngorms National Park.

You will need:

50 ml Scottish Gin

20 ml lemon juice

1 tbsp. runny honey

Lemon twist, to serve

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.

Add gin, lemon juice and honey and shake until chilled. 

Serve in a martini, or coupette glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

The Gorbals Vampire

In 1954, gangs of children, some as young as 4, armed themselves with sharpened sticks, stones and penknives. They began patrolling the Southern Necropolis graveyard at night. The children believed that two schoolmates had been eaten by a 2 metre tall vampire which was said to have metal teeth and stalked the area. The fearless youngsters had come to destroy it.

Officials tried to keep the graveyard gates locked and guarded. Despite this, the children swarmed over the walls in search of the monster for several nights. The incident was blamed on mass hysteria caused by children reading too many scary comic book stories. And we thought computer games were always to blame…

Photo © Bradley Michael (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Crossbill Gin bottle with a Gin & Tonic ready to drink beside bottle

Just across the river Clyde is Crossbill Distillery. A great place to hide from any vampires that might be about. Crossbill Distillery, Gin School and Shop is a stop not to be missed. The hugely popular Gin School is where guests can distil their own unique creation to take away with them. The lovely gin is also available online. Click here to buy yours.

Calming Cocktail No.3 – Ellis Bewitching Butterfly Cocktail

The Ellis Bewitching Butterfly uses one of Ellis’s colour changing gins – the Ellis Butterfly Pea gin.

For this magical mystical cocktail you will need:

25ml of Butterfly Pea Gin

Top with 25ml Blue Curaçao 

Garnish with Lemon 

Grab a tall glass and fill with ice.  Add the gin.

Slowly layer your lemonade over the top and watch the Butterfly Pea gin change from Blue to Lilac!

Garnish with Lemon. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Cocktail recipe and image courtesy of Ellis Gin, Glasgow.

North Berwick Witch Trials

One of many persecutions of women during the late 16th Century, was the North Berwick witch trials. Over 200 women were accused of casting a curse on the ship carrying James the VI and his son home from Denmark. The accused were said to have gathered in a church in the town and summoned up a huge storm which almost sunk the ship off North Berwick. The trial took two years, and all those found guilty were burnt at the stake at Edinburgh Castle. The victims of the witch-hunting craze, are remembered with this memorial. (Spooky isles)

Photo © kim traynor (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Having your own slippers provided on arrival, a visit to NB Distillery encourages you to relax and enjoy your time there. No worrying about witches or other spookiness! You will get the chance to sample all of their world class spirits and a final drink of choice. A selection of canapés made by local chefs are served, and even include some NB infused foods.

Click to buy online

Calming Cocktail No.4 – Selkie Gin, Jack o’ lantern Negroni

You will need:

 Selkie gin

Edinburgh vermouth rosso

Edinburgh bitter

Pour the Gin, Vermouth and Campari into a mixing glass or jug with ice. Stir well

Strain into a tumbler

Fill the glass with ice, and garnish with an orange slice, using a blood orange when in season.

Cocktail recipe and image courtesy of Old Poison Distillery, Edinburgh.

Haunted road

Haunted castles and graveyards in Scotland yes, but had you heard about the haunted roads? Two brothers who were travelling along the A75 road from Annan to Dumfries, reported seeing some terrifyingly strange entities which appeared in front of their car. Phantom animals, an old man, and a woman who resembled a traditional witch were among the sightings. Their ordeal ended when they thought they were about to hit a white van speeding at them head on. However, just at the moment of impact, the vehicle vanished into thin air.

Another couple whose vehicle broke down on the A75 near Annan got more than a little shock too! They watched a pair of legs taller than their car run past them, disappearing into nearby woods with no body attached…

Solway Spirits Image

Solway Spirits is an award winning, micro craft distillery, located on the beautiful coastline of the Solway Firth in south west Scotland, with not a giant white snake in sight

All products are distilled, hand bottled and labelled here at the distillery, using the finest ingredients sourced from British suppliers. Call in at their shop where you can meet the team and sample before you buy. Or buy online here.

Calming Cocktail No.5 – Oro Gin, Honey Pot

A lovely honey and lemon cocktail. It is delicate and light, and perfect in front of a cosy fire. (black cat optional)

You will need:

50ml Oro V

25ml Lemon juice

25ml Honey Syrup

30ml Egg White (optional for the head)

Serve over ice, and enjoy.

Cocktail recipe & image courtesy of the Dalton Distillery.
Honey Pot Cocktail, with guest appearance from Coco, the Oro Distillery cat. To buy Oro Gin Click here.

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