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Gin fit for a king: Palace of Holyroodhouse Dry Gin launched

The Royal Collection Trust has launched a dry gin made using botanicals sourced from the Royal Family’s Edinburgh palace.

Continuing its series of Official Royal Residency gins, which includes spirits from Buckingham Palace (a dry gin and a sloe gin), and a pink gin from Windsor, the 40% ABV Palace of Holyroodhouse Dry Gin has been crafted with plants from the Physic Garden.

Opened adjacent to the palace in the Scottish capital in 2020, the Physic Garden is a recreation of Holyroodhouse’s late 17th century garden. It is so called because the physicians Sir Robert Sibbald and Sir Andrew Balfour sourced medicinal herbs from it. The original Physic Garden would ultimately be a precursor to the city’s botanic gardens.

The Physic Garden

While modern medicine has moved on from such remedies, the herbs’ flavour properties are still celebrated. Alongside the necessary juniper, the key herbs added are lemon thyme and mint. The former is still used by some as an anti-inflammatory and the latter as a digestive aid, though no such claims are made about the gin, which has a retail price of £40.

The suggested serving is with elderflower tonic and a sprig of lightly-bruised mint for garnish.

The label’s floral pattern is intended to evoke the textiles from the bedchamber of none other than former resident, the ill-fated Mary, Queen of Scots, whose son, James VI of Scotland, would ultimately become James I of England, though not before she was beheaded on the orders of his predecessor, her cousin, Elizabeth I.

Scotland is a major hub for gin production – according to 2018 figures from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, 70% of the UK’s gin is produced north of Hadrian’s Wall. Among those to capitalise on this has been Outlander star Sam Heughan, whose Sassenach spirits brand recently launched its Wild Scottish Gin, made utilising Highland botanicals, in the US.

King Charles III is known to be a fan of a G&T, with Camilla reportedly telling him off for getting servants to make him the drink when he was Prince of Wales. Fortnum & Mason sells a Highgrove gin, made using botanicals, including lemon verbena, thyme and rosemary, from the garden of his grand Gloucestershire residency, for £39.95.

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