Iconic Scottish hotel launches four gins and "largest residential gin school in UK"

Scottish hotel, Peebles Hydro, has been transformed into a distiller with the launch of a new gin, distillery and school, using water from its own hillside spring water.

The 1881 gin, named after the year in which the iconic hotel opened, uses the same water from the rolling Borders hills behind the hotel, known as Shieldgreen, which has been supplying the hotel for almost 140 years. At the peak of the hydropathic movement, it was this water which drew people in from all over the UK for its healing properties.

There are four 1881 gins in the range in two sizes, 70cl and 20cl. The line-up comprises London Dry, Pavilion Pink and Subtly Smoked. The fourth gin, Navy Strength at 57% abv is stronger than the other 40% abv variants.

In addition, four tonic waters have also been created. The Tonic 81 range uses the same water source to create Premium, Light, Pink grapefruit and Elderflower variants.

The launch of the gin school and distillery on the sit of what was the hotel’s original swimming pool, makes Peebles Hydro the largest residential gin school in the UK. The school features 26 individual copper stills and glass jars full of botanicals, including those sourced within the grounds of the hotel itself.

The 1881 gin has been created by distiller Emma Millar, a graduate from the Brewing & Distilling MsC course at Heriot Watt Unviversity, together with Jamie Baxter, who is the owner of Craft Distilling Services and who launched his first craft distillery in 2006.

Stephen Leckie, chairman and chief executive of Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels, said: “We are delighted that our dream of creating a gin school and distillery at Peebles Hydro has finally been realised. We have gathered an extremely talented team of experts to make the 1881 gin a reality and I am very proud of the final product.

“While gin is soaring in popularity and distilleries are opening all over the country, what makes our gin unique is that it uses the same source of water from the rolling hills behind Peebles Hydro that made the hotel such a draw for people all over the UK nearly 140 years ago when the hotel first opened. We're excited to be introducing the 1881 gin as our house gin across the Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels."

Peebles Hydro has 132 bedrooms, a gym, a spa and pool. It is located in the heart of the Scottish Borders. 

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