Jo Brydie at work at a still at Inshriach

The story of Fidra gin

FIDRA was founded by Jo Brydie and Emma Bouglet, good friends who live close to each other in the pretty East Lothian countryside. Today Emma has another project that takes up all her time, so Jo is taking FIDRA into the next chapter. Here she describes how they got started and where it might go next ...

What first inspired you?

There were three things that inspired us: the love of a G&T; some inspirational female gin makers on Jura; and East Lothian’s amazing natural larder.

How did you make your first batch?

We bought a tiny five-litre copper pot still on eBay and spent the winter of 2017-18 playing around with different recipes and roping in friends and family as tasters.

Our first batch was just ten bottles and it tasted delicious!

It was always our intention to make gin commercially, so when our first proper batch of 250 bottles sold out in just a few days, the plan was cemented.

How important are the landscape and coast of East Lothian to you?

I grew up here and have spent a lot of time at the beach over the years walking, running, riding horses, swimming, having barbecues and partying!

I’ve always loved the fact that the sea never looks quite the same – and nothing beats a beautiful sunset over the beach.

Tell us about foraging for botanicals

The foraging starts around early June with a mad dash to get the elderflower picked – it doesn’t last long! I have to get up a ladder and on to the roof of our garden shed to pick it from our tree.

This is quickly followed in July or August by the rosehip, my favourite botanical for its lovely scent.

The sea buckthorn is usually ready around September and, despite looking and smelling amazing, it’s a bit of a faff to pick, being super-prickly and bulky.

What’s your proudest gin moment?

Definitely seeing our gin for sale in a shop for the first time.

Do you have any plans in the pipeline?

There’s always a plan in the background for another product, possibly a higher strength gin, but that is still on the backburner. Watch this space!

Finally, what is your absolute best, go-to way to enjoy Fidra gin?

Quite a big measure of gin, a nice tonic, plenty of ice, a slice of lemon and a sprig of thyme. Yum.

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