Food and Drink Awards: Best Scottish Spirit Award up for grabs

Our popular Food and Drink Awards, which will see Scotland’s top ­businesses and individuals – as nominated by you – vie for the top prize across 13 categories at a ­special event in Edinburgh this ­September, will once again look to celebrate all that’s great about this country’s culinary scene.

One category which was hotly contested last year, is the Best Scottish Spirit award, which looks at those distillers, gin makers and rum producers who are really shaking up Scotland’s drinks scene.

Already famous for our whisky, gin and vodka are well on the way to establishing themselves as viable Scottish spirits in their own right, and have been joined other non-traditional drinks, such as absinthe and rum, in placing Scotland firmly on the map.

Last year, field to bottle farm ­distillery Arbikie took the title, beating off stiff competition from a wide range of exciting whisky and gin makers. Kirsty Black, head ­distiller at Arbikie, who picked up the ­trophy for Kirsty’s Gin, said: “To be selected as Best Scottish Spirit was an incredible honour.

“It takes a lot of time and a big team effort to produce each bottle of Kirsty’s Gin; completing every step ourselves – from growing the ­potatoes to make our base spirit, to flavouring it with our unique selection of botanicals and ultimately filling each individual bottle – it all happens on this site. It is greatly appreciated to have this recognised.”

This year, the judges are again looking for distillers and drinks creators who have impressed you or the companies that are bringing the best selection of spirits to a bar or retailer near you.

Another category returning this year, which focuses on the produce from our wonderful natural larder and the people who expertly wield it, is the Best Use of Scottish ­Produce award, which supports and ­celebrates the best sourcing, use and promotion of local ingredients. We want you to nominate those chefs, restaurateurs and bars which are always proud to display the very best in Scottish food and drink and go out of their way to champion Scotland’s products.

Last year’s winners, Ardross Farm shop, were delighted to be recognised for their efforts. Manager Nikki Storrar said: “We were absolutely delighted to win the Best Use of Scottish Produce Category last year. We went to the awards ­ceremony thinking we would have a wonderful evening full of food and great company but it never crossed our minds that we would win.

“It was such a wonderful boost for the whole team and the support we received on social media was overwhelming.

“Since then we’ve been continuing to do what we do better and increase our local suppliers, which isn’t hard as there are new suppliers starting up almost every week with lots of new and exciting producers.”

Once again we are asking our readers to nominate those businesses and individuals you believe are leading the field in this exciting ­sector.

The deadline for entries is 23 July – nominate here

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