Edinburgh Gin Romantic Cocktails

Edinburgh Gin is distilled in the heart of Scotland’s capital city, taking inspiration from the blend of contemporary and historic traditions and creativity that surrounds it. This has led to a new generation of flavoured Scottish gins that have taken a taste of Edinburgh to the world. Here’s a selection of romantic cocktails you can prepare at home.

EAST COAST NEGRONI

“Breathe new life into this classic aperitif, with the briny botanicals of our Seaside Gin and a hint of grapefruit to tempt the taste buds.”

Ingredients

25ml Seaside Gin 

25ml Suze Liqueur

25ml Campari

3 dashes of grapefruit bitters

Sea salt & rosemary to garnish

RHUBARB RHUBARB

“A sophisticated number, with layers of sweetness balanced out by bright citrus and a subtly bitter note from Aperol.” 

Ingredients

50ml Rhubarb & Ginger liqueur

10ml Aperol

25ml fresh lemon juice

12ml sugar syrup

2 dashes of rhubarb bitters

1 egg white

A FIRST KISS

“A velvety sipper with tropical notes, finishing with a sweet, fruity kiss.”

Ingredients

35ml Valentine’s Gin

15ml Raspberry liqueur

60ml pineapple juice

Fresh raspberry for garnish

RASPBERRY SPARKLER

“Bursting with the freshest raspberries for a taste of spring sunshine!”

Ingredients

50ml Raspberry Gin

25ml simple syrup

25ml lemon juice

25ml raspberry puree

Soda

Raspberries

Luckenbooth this Valentine’s Day

The Luckenbooth is linked to the romances of Mary Queen of Scots and is immortalised in literature by Sir Walter Scott.

DISCOVER THE STORY THIS VALENTINES SEASON 

THIS FEBRUARY our WeeBox Clan will receive a Luckenbooth trinket dish in their WeeBox delivery, but what is the story behind this ancient Scottish symbol of love?

The Luckenbooth brooch was an ornate traditional design that had a crown placed above a heart or two intertwined hearts. They were often etched with Celtic symbols or set with precious stones.

The name refers to a two-storey timber-fronted tenement row of buildings that stretched alongside St Giles’ Kirk in the High Street of Edinburgh from the reign of King James II in the 15th Century to the start of the 19th Century. At ground level, a series of lockable booths became one of the city’s most important marketplaces. Novelist Sir Walter Scott immortalised the Luckenbooths in his novel The Heart of Midlothian. The east end of the block is where the poet Allan Ramsay had his shop, a meeting place for 1700s literati.

The name lives on in Scottish culture through the heart-shaped brooch, often used as a love token as part of a wedding ceremony. The heart and crown combination exists in other European cultures but it is thought to have entered local customs in Edinburgh during the reign of Mary Queen of Scots. One story is it was an engagement brooch given to her by the Dauphin of France, whom she later married. 

Folk tales also tie the symbol to Mary’s romance with Lord Darnley – often the entwined hearts take on an outline that resembles a letter ‘M’ with a crown above. Other traditional designs include Scottish symbols like the cross of St Andrew and the thistle.  It became famous beyond Edinburgh, evolving in Victorian times. and being incorporated into Highland dress. An eye-catching design, it has symbolised love for Scots for generations.

Cranachan with Brambles

A moreish Scottish traditional dessert for any time of the year. Most Scots will be familiar with cranachan, the raspberry-oat-whisky dessert that is a staple of any Burns Supper. This version, created by Edinburgh-based chef Paul Wedgwood, uses homemade bramble cream – a wonderful twist on the classic.

Perfect for this time of the year!  Why not treat you and your loved ones to a Scottish classic. 

Ingredients:

■ 300ml double cream. ■ 200g white chocolate. ■ 100g brambles (frozen are fine!)

■ 60g butter. ■ 53g Demerara sugar. ■ 40g plain flour. ■ 40g oats. ■ 2g bicarbonate of soda

■ 2g salt. ■ 250ml milk. ■ 250ml double cream. ■ 150g egg yolk ■ 250g sugar. ■ 100g honey

■ 50ml whisky. ■ 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp of essence

Method:

1. Place the cream in a pan and bring to the boil.Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour over the heated cream, whisk until combined. Cool in the fridge for a minimum of two hours(ideally overnight).

2. Whip the mixture to soft peaks, then add brambles and whip to firm peaks.

3. Cream together the butter and sugar, add the dry ingredients and mix well. Roll out like a sheet of biscuit to about 1cm thick. Bake at 180C, checking after 15mins, take out when it is a nice golden brown, cool then break into a crumble.

4. Cream mixture off the heat and carefully whisk into the eggandsugarmix,addthe vanilla. Whisk slowly on a gentle heat until it thickly coats the back of a spoon, then leave to cool.

5. Add the honey to a small pan and bring to the boil for one minute then deglaze with the whisky. Blend into the Anglais when cool (but set a bit of the syrup aside to drizzle over the finished dessert).

6. Pipe or spoon the bramble cream into glasses or bowls, sprinkle the crumb mix over and drizzle with whisky honey. Garnish with brambles and mint leaves.

Enjoy WeeBox Clan!

It’s Top Of The Pops! Gleneagles Hotel Toffee Pops

When it comes to sweet delights the Scottish larder is always full but these Toffee Pops really do take the biscuit to a new level, inspired by pastry gurus from Gleneagles Hotel. We were proud to feature this in our WeeBlether inside the December ‘Hogmanay Hooley’ WeeBox … and the response has been so positive, that we wanted to share here too!

“What makes our Gleneagles version of the Toffee Pop so special is our buttery shortbread base. The recipe for our shortbread was developed by the hotel’s pastry chefs in the 1920s and it’s an honour to be able to celebrate that treasured relic from the hotel’s history every day by continuing to serve it to our guests. While the recipe for our shortbread must remain a top hotel secret, we’ve created a version of it here to make at home.”

Philip Skinazy, executive pastry chef at Gleneagles  gleneagles.com

Ingredients:

For the shortbread

■ 160g unsalted butter ■ 75g caster sugar

■ 230g plain flour

■ 50g rice flour

■1.5g salt

Method:

For the caramel

■ 150g caster sugar

■ 150g light brown sugar

■ 125g golden syrup

■ 100g unsalted butter

■ 250ml double cream

■ 2.5g sea salt

■ half a vanilla pod

1. For the shortbread, first chop the butter into rough chunks then add it with the rest of the ingredients to a machine bowl with the paddle attachment.

2. Mix on a slow to medium speed until the mixture forms a smooth dough, then roll to about 5mm thickness and cut 75mm rounds. Bake at 160°C for about 15-20 minutes or until pale golden-brown.

3. For the caramel filling, start by making a dry caramel by placing the caster sugar in a pan on a low to medium heat. Once it has started to caramelise at the edges, gently stir to get rid of any lumps and use a cooking thermometer to boil to 121°C. Be careful as this is extremely hot.

4. Meanwhile, boil the cream, light brown sugar, golden syrup, vanilla and salt together in a separate pan.

5. Now add the butter to the caramel to emulsify and add the cream mixture roughly a quarter at a time.

6. Pour into circular moulds or onto a baking tray covered with parchment paper, then allow to cool, ideally in the fridge. Once cool, cut using a 70mm cutter, then place on top of the baked, cooled shortbread disks.

7. For the chocolate coating, first melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Use the thermometer to heat to 45°C.

8. In a separate pan, gently warm the milk, cream and oil together, then add to the chocolate using a hand blender or whisk to emulsify.

9. Pour the chocolate mixture over the caramel and shortbread to enrobe completely. Place aside to set . . . and, finally, enjoy

Philip Skenazy is executive pastry chef at Gleneagles

Prickly Thistle Festive Tartan Crafting

Did you miss our WeeBox Tartan Christmas Crafting with Prickly Thistle?

Never fear, we have the link for you here:

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CXlmDhpKj9C/?utm_medium=copy_link

Are you trimming your tree with tartan? We were so excited to have Clare from Prickly Thistle join us on Instalive for fun, fizz and festive laughs. She and Barbra Kolasinski, Scottish fashion designer, provided lots of inspiration and ideas for your Prickly Tartan bauble craft project inside the November ‘Scottish Christmas Spirit’ WeeBox.

So why not take a peek and settle in for some festive crafting!

Thank you for following us all on Instagram: @pricklytartan @barbrakolasinskistudio @insideweebox

Carianne MacDonald, stockwoman

As you unpack and cuddle in with your loveable highland coo hot water bottle in your September ‘Coorie’ WeeBox, enjoy this story from the fields of Scotland.

AS THE crystal clear waters around the tiny tidal island of Vallay subside, Carianne MacDonald prepares to make her daily journey over the wet sand. There are only a few hours of opportunity to get there from her family’s North Uist farm.

Surrounded by stunning scenery, she checks the 300-strong herd of cattle grazing on the lush machair pasture, searches for new calves – possibly hiding behind a pure white sand dune – tags new arrivals, grabs a photograph or two for her incredibly busy social media pages and then races back.


A full-time ‘stockwoman’, the 27 year old has responsibility for some of the most valuable Highland cattle in the country. One particularly prized black Highland bull from the Ardbhan fold scooped a record £12,000 at a sale, while others have been in huge demand from eager buyers across Europe. The only full-time worker on the farm, her role is even more unusual because of its breath-taking location – as well as the unique method of Carianne MacDonald and one of her prize herd moving the herd every November from North Uist to the island of Vallay.


The photographs uploaded to her Ardbhan Highland Cattle social media pages gather ‘likes’ from global followers who can’t get enough of the island views, her pink-nosed, long-haired companions or her gentle and sometimes heart-tugging descriptions of crofting life. It is, she says, her ideal job, adding: “I’m living the dream.”

Instagram @the_hebridean_cowgirl

A Coorie Taste of Scotland

‘Coorie doon’ and evoke the feeling of cuddling down for warmth and love with this traditional Scottish classic.

Recreate the famous Scottish soup with Seumas’ traditional recipe, perfect for enveloping you in the love of Scotland.


Café Gandolfi’s Cullen Skink


INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 300ml double cream
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 250ml water
  • 300g smoked haddock
  • 60g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of mace or nutmeg

METHOD

  • In a saucepan large enough to take all the ingredients, sauté the onion in butter and oil until soft.
  • Add the water to the pan along with the potatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the milk and cream and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  • Cut the haddock into 2cm squares and drop into the soup. Continue to cook gently for 10 minutes.
  • Check the seasoning and add the mace or nutmeg.
  • Serve with crusty bread and even a wee dram, enjoy!

Fun of the Highland Games

Summer in Scotland means Highland Games! Part of Scotland’s culture for hundreds of years, this July we transport you to all the traditions and gripping action – caber tossing, pipers and Scottish hospitality.  

To set the scene, first pop on your ‘WeeSounds’ Highland Games Spotify playlist. Bring the excitement and thrill of the Highland Games to your home.  For the perfect unboxing experience, we’ve curated an uplifting carefully selected playlist for you. With songs shared by our July Scottish makers and Wounded Highlanders chairman, Jim Holborn, let this soundtrack fill your home with the fighting spirit of Scotland!

Buckle up WeeBox Clan!

History of the Games

Highland Games have been a recognisable part of Scotland for much of her history. Stories have been passed down, telling the tales of Celtic tribes and Scottish clans partaking in games designed to select their strongest warriors. The first recorded games were in the 11th century, when King Malcolm III ordered games to be held to find the quickest and strongest men in the kingdom who could be used as his personal messengers. 

These strength competitions have cemented themselves in Scottish traditions as the Highland Games have followed the Scottish story with iconic figures such as Robert the Bruce having been known to also hold his own games as a celebration for the villagers who had supported him during the battle of Bannockburn. 

Although a central part of Scottish culture, did you know that the Highland Games were actually illegal for a time in the the 1700s after the English passed a law making the celebration of Scottish traditions, including the Highland Games, wearing a kilt and bagpipes, against the law. However, once this was repealed, the Highland Games quickly became popular again with the first modern Highland Games being held in Falkirk in 1781. 

Highland Games bring a number of exciting traditions and are now active across the world. We are so excited to celebrate these traditions with you this month and hope that as the games begin to be celebrated across the world again, you can use your Scottish delights to really bring these traditions to life! 

Games 

There are a number of events that are traditionally played. You may have watched the 2nd episode of Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish’s Men in Kilts where they demonstrated how these were designed to really put competitors to the test! Lets have a look at some of the most famous events. 

Caber Toss  

Perhaps the game most commonly associated with the Highland Games, the caber toss is iconic and we’re so excited to be able to share an exclusive caber gift in this month’s WeeBox with you! The aim is to toss a caber – or large log, which is usually 20ft long and weighs 150lbs – as far as possible. The competitors are judges on their ’12 o’clock angle’ or in other words, how straight they can throw the caber and how far away the small end lands away from the thrower. The most cabers tossed at one time was 66, a record set in 2016 at the Masters World Championships in Inverness – impressive! 

Tug o’war 

This fun game is where teams of fifteen go head to head in a battle of strength. This team element makes it one of the most competitive and lively events, and great fun to watch! The aim here is to pull your opponents forward by six feet using the rope and the winning team is the one who comes out best of three. This was an Olympic game until 1910 and although these days are over, it is still very popular in Scotland and one of the most enjoyable events of the games. 

Stone Put 

This event is much like the commonly known shot put but with a Scottish twist! The competitors throw a stone weighing around 15lbs which has been handpicked from a nearby river! They have three attempts and the winner is the one who manages to throw their stone the furthest. 

Traditions 

Highland Dancing 

Dressed in traditional dress, dancers can nearly always be found at a Highland Games event, showcasing their skill in dances such as the sword dance and the highland fling. Often, this is also a competitive element of the games, for example the Cowal Highland Gathering is one of the best places to see the best Highland dancers as the host of the World Championships! Did you know, when Highland dancing competitions were first established in the late 19th century, they were open to men only. Today, a staggering 95% of competitors who take part are female. Either way, they are undoubtedly a pleasure to watch! 

Kilts 

Of course, as such a strong symbol of Scottish culture, kilts too can be found at the Highland games. In fact, the Scottish Highland Games Association has set out rules that say that all competitors must wear kilts during the games. This links nicely back to the origins of the games where they were a meeting of the clans and you may well still see some sporting their own clan’s different tartans.

Piping 

What would the Highland Games be without pipers in their full regalia?! At any Highland G#ames event, you’ll be sure to hear lots of Scottish instruments but perhaps none as iconic as the bagpipes. As such a big part of Scottish culture, piping is also a big part of these events and helps to make them the unique event they are. As well as creating a memorable atmosphere, they also encourage the competitors, building the tension and bringing out their competitive side. Many Highland gatherings also host their own piping competitions where pipers can compete both individually and as part of a piping band. Either way, there’s nothing quite like the sounds of bagpipes to instil pride in any Scot or Scotland-lover’s heart! 

Virtual Highland Games 

Can’t get to the Games this year? Let them come to you …

https://www.visitabdn.com/virtual-highland-game

Cowal’s Virtual Games 2020 – Salute to the Chieftain 

Make your own Highland Games at home: 

Homemade Sheaf Toss

The Sheaf Toss is a traditional heavy athletics competition at most Highland Games where competitors throw a sheaf or filled bag over a high bar using only a pitchfork.

In the homemade version the rules will differ slightly. Instead of seeing how high it can be thrown, see how far it can be tossed.

What You’ll Need:A pillowcase filled with clothes, straw or anything soft to use as your sheaf

a pole (a broomstick or sweep is fine)

a marker to mark the starting line and the spots on the ground where the sheaf has landed.

Game Rules:Get your homemade sheaf and pole

Create a starting line and place your sheaf at it

Take turns, try to lift up the sheaf and catapult it into the air so it goes as far as possible (don’t step over the starting line- your toss won’t be counted!)

Mark the spot where it landed and let the next player take their turn. You each have two turns each, who tosses it the furthest, wins!

Highland Games on the Screen

Can’t get enough? Sit back with a wee dram and watch the Highland Games on the ‘big screen’!

  • Disney’s Brave features Scotland’s very own Disney Princess, Merida, compete for her own hand in marriage at her clan’s Highland Games 
  • Netflix series Home Game – which profiles unique and dangerous sports from around the world, as well as the communities and cultures where they thrive. Episode Two of the series heads to Scotland for the Highland Games and meets with real life competitors, including competitors from last year’s virtual Braemar Gathering, who share their love and passion for this iconic sporting event.

Supporting Small Scotland: No. 10 ‘A Wee Piece of Scotland’ – the caber!

We are proud to bring you our July ‘All the fun of the Highland Games’ WeeBox and this month, we are featuring Scottish Maker, Gaynor of ‘A Wee Piece of Scotland’ who has created a unique and very special gift … we caught up with Gaynor to tell us more.


Tell us all about this unique gift and your inspiration.

I worked with WeeBox last year making Scottish Sea Glass pendants for the May Outlander Inspired WeeBox, it was a fantastic experience.  Through chats with Amy and making my product for WeeBox my eyes were opened to the importance of the little things and uplifting feelings they capture which our beautiful, historic and passionate country may take for granted…because it’s right on our doorstep.  When that doorstep becomes inaccessible, whether it be due to a world pandemic, distance or less overwhelming reasons, the importance of the little things in life often becomes even more significant to what makes life ‘keep smiling’  during times of struggles.

During lockdown here in Scotland, I had more time to be with my family and to reflect and appreciate the little things which I have access to which bring me joy, inspiration, strength and happiness.  I wanted to capture some of these little things in a bottle with the aim ‘When you can’t come to Scotland….A Wee Piece of Scotland can come to you’  I know you can’t capture a feeling…but I truly hope my wee bottles carry within them the Scottish heart, history and humour which can inspire positivity for the holder.

As Covid has made not just Scotland, but the entire world have to find strength, togetherness and ingenuity to help find balance and solutions in this chaotic time,  I felt the iconic event of the Highland Games caber toss captured so many of these qualities. 

The caber toss represents:

Strength:  just to lift the staggeringly heavy tree trunk…never mind toss it!Togetherness:  as the clans coming together for the yearly Highland Games. 

Ingenuity:  originally tossing a tree trunk over an freezing stream to make a temporary bridge.  Not just ingenuity …  but totally necessary if you’ve ever tested the temperature of Scotland’s wild waters!

You are using an actual caber from the Highland Games?! Wow tell us more about it!

My husband reached out to The Highland Games Association, here in Scotland and Charlie Murray (Vice – President)  kindly offered me some broken cabers which would otherwise have been used for firewood.  I was more than a wee bit excited at the thought of working with an actually caber which had been used throughout Scotland at the Highland Games over many years.  The stories the caber could tell if it could talk?!

Using an actual caber has been such a gift for me in creating one of the contents for July’s ‘All the fun of the Highland Games’ WeeBox.  As I worked with the caber wood, I pictured the men and women who have lifted and tossed it…..the hours of practice and dedication they must have put in to become strong enough.  It’s really quite humbling – as I could hardly move the tree trunk…never mind lift and throw it!

The smell, texture, unique grain and strength of the wood whilst carving each little caber  made me appreciate just how incredibly beautiful the tree trunk wood is and yet so strong.  I have always had an appreciation of nature and what it provides us to live….but the sheer beauty, strength and power of nature, was something I was so inspired by when working with the caber.

My husband, Magnus enjoyed cutting the cabers into strips and then into little bottle sized pieces and I have spent many a happy hour during lockdown carving each one into a mini cabers for each bottle.

I’m having great fun researching and collecting meaningful and uplifting contents for future bottles and I’m learning so much more about the Scotland which is on my doorstep.  I love our country…but I’ve never felt more inspired, proud and amused by our colourful history than I do today.

What do you love most about the Highland Games in Scotland?

I remember my grandparents and parents taking me, my brother and sister to various Highland Games when I was a wee girl.  I loved the freedom of the outdoor event…the fresh air, sitting in the sunshine (or with a cagoule on under an umbrella when it rained!!), relaxing watching the events participants and looking at the other spectators.  I loved just listening to the chatter of the crowds, the yells of the participants as they threw all their strength and determination into doing their very best and the voice coming over the tannoy telling of the results of each event.   We enjoyed a picnic and visiting the stalls to get a wee treat whilst the games carried on in the background.

Really beautiful memories which still make me smile today.

I remember watching the men pick this massive tree trunk up and throw it…I don’t think I fully appreciated the strength these sportsmen possessed at the time…but I certainly do now!

What does it mean to you to have the global WeeBox Clan receive your caber in a bottle?

It means more than words!  If I can capture a fraction of the hardiness the cabers have had, the strength the throwers have shown and the joy making them has brought me and this is delivered to the Global WeeBox Clan….. it makes me smile inside.  If the content of the wee bottles manages to capture, hold and deliver even a tiny piece of hope, inspiration, joy and strength…that makes me so happy and humbled that it can reach so many wonderful people.

How have you enjoyed working with Amy to create this special gift? 

I’ve really enjoyed so much working with Amy in the past and presently. I love that Amy shares my enthusiasm and excitement  towards the little meaningful things Scotland has to offer as well as the bigger more awesome inspirations.

I love our country and I’m so proud and inspired by many of Scotland’s achievements throughout history and in present day.  Despite being very small in size we are a nation with strong hearts and big dreams and working with Amy as part of July’s WeeBox content has only proved this to me more.

Thank you Amy for believing in all of us ‘Scottish small business owners’ and promoting our work in your beautiful WeeBoxes all over the globe.

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If you love Gaynor’s ‘Caber’ in a bottle – look out for her new website launching soon http://www.aweepieceofscotland.co.uk/

Caber in a bottle RRP £15.00

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