The Real Ale & Gin Festival is finally here, and with less than 24 hours to go before we begin to quench the thirst of Plockton’s inhabitants (whether they be local or passing through), we thought we’d whet your whistle with what you can expect, gin-wise, over the next three days.

Scottish, aromatic and flavoursome

Our gin selection is the most impressive yet and perfectly complements it’s festival partner, Real Ale.

In fact the Hop Gin is brilliant after a real ale as it has a similar taste. It’s citrusy and light with a balance between floral and light hoppy notes. Soft tropical fruit follows (just the thing to sample under our palm trees) with an undercurrent of juniper. It’s made in St Andrews.

Crossbill is the only gin made from 100% Scottish Junipers (made in Aviemore) and is also one of favourite gin websites as  the passion they have for the small batch process, gin and Scotland spills over into every picture and every word.

Daffy’s is made with a hint of lebanese mint, and this gin is sociable to the last. There’s not a cocktail it doesn’t taste fabulous in. Daffy’s is based in Edinburgh.

Meanwhile Kirsty’s Gin from Arbikie (named after their Master Distiller, Kirsty Black) is a beautiful drink. Kelp, carline thistle and blueberry embody the elements of ocean, rock and land that surround the east coast Angus farmlands from which it’s made. The folks behind Arbikie are fourth generation Scottish farmers and it’s a true farm to bottle operation.

Our Edinburgh Gin selection includes Seaside Gin which was handcrafted by their head distiller in collaboration with four selected postgraduate students from Heriot-Watt’s MSc in Brewing and Distilling. This tipple is the start of Summer in a bottle.

New to the Real Ale & Gin Festival this year is the inimitable Isle of Harris gin. Created in a small copper still, known affectionally as ‘The Dottach’, this gin aims to capture the maritime influences of the seas which surrounds the Isle of Harris on all sides. Nine specially chosen botanicals are in this gin including sugar kelp which is hand-harvested by a local diver from the deep underwater forests of the Outer Hebrides. Is there a more romantic vision of gin? We don’t think so!

Next up is the Green Rock Rose which is a limited edition for Spring. Created by Dunnet Bay distillers in Caithness it’s one of the highlights of our festival.

Shetland Reel Gin includes apple mint, grown and harvested on Unst by Unst Market Garden. In 2015 this gin was awarded a Silver Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards. It also gained recognition at the Scottish Rural Awards gaining a Highly Commended trophy for Best Artisan Drink.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg and that’s before we get to the Real Ale. The definition of “whet” is to make the palate braver, bolder, by giving tasty morsels and glimpses of interesting and desirable things. At the Real Ale & Gin Festival your whistle is guaranteed to be whet!

The Festival runs from Friday 27 – Sunday 29 May 2016 (outside bar is open from 12pm – 11.30pm on Friday and Saturday, and 12pm – 11pm on Sunday).