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Sweetdram

Progressive, Flavour-Driven Spirits Made in Scotland

Arguably the most progressive distillery in Scotland, Sweetdram prides itself on creating spirits that step away from conventional and repetitive flavours. Sweetdram was founded in 2014 by Andrew MacLeod Smith and Daniel Fisher, who met in 2011 while studying for their master’s degrees in brewing and distilling. After the course, the pair kept in touch to flesh out an idea they had for a modern drink brand focused entirely on original flavour instead of conventional categories and repetitive trends. In 2014, they started Sweetdram.

Based in an industrial warehouse in Edinburgh, the Sweetdram distillery is an immersive contemporary space and an exciting work-in-progress. The production room, located behind pink doors, houses their custom-made copper production still, with an unusual helical head designed to make unique and intensely aromatic spirits.

“If you had to make a comparison, Escubac is closest to gin. But really, it lives in its own damn house.” Bon Appétit

Sweetdram’s opening salvo was Escubac, a spicy, citrusy, juniper-free botanical spirit distilled in copper and then infused with raisins, vanilla and saffron. It’s inspired by an old Tudor recipe they found for an elixir called Royal Usquebaugh, which originated in England but was later adopted by the French, who renamed it Escubac. The spirit became obsolete in the early 20th century and stayed that way until 2015 when Sweetdram revived it as a unique, delicious gin alternative for the modern drinker. It’s ideal for all modern drinkers suffering from gin fatigue and was designed to sip as an aperitif either neat or on the rocks with a lemon twist. Escubac also mixes phenomenally well with tonic for a simple yet complex alternative to your standard G&T, or with grapefruit soda for a refreshing long drink.

Released in 2018, the bartender-friendly Smoked Spiced Rum is Sweetdram’s second issue. Here, the Sweetdram team takes a proprietary Rum base--blended from Guyanan, Jamaican and Bajan (Barbadian) Rums--and infuses it with grains of paradise, chamomile, lime leaf, fennel and cardamom. Lapsang and organic figs, warm-smoked over oak at the distillery, impart the smokiness. The result is a dry, bold, aromatic spirit that sits somewhere between rum and a slightly smoky Speyside single malt whisky.

The third innovative spirit is a whisky-based amaro that is made with a blend of single malt Scotch and single grain British whiskies, infused with nine botanicals and lightly sweetened with a blend of blossom honey from Sussex, and local urban honey from rooftop hives in Edinburgh. It is a genius, cross-genre style, bringing together these two seemingly incompatible categories--yet it works a treat. 

Now, 10 years in the making, we’re delighted to see the first releases from Sweetdram’s long-awaited Scotch Whisky program. Daniel Fisher and Andrew MacLeod’s Whisky credentials predate the establishment of Sweetdram in 2014. After graduating, Fisher began working with Whisky in 2011, while also squirrelling away his own casks. Meanwhile, Andrew MacLeod was south of the border heading up The London Distillery Co.’s Whisky program, going on to become the first to distil a Whisky in the nation’s capital for more than 100 years. The two friends also entered the orbit of legendary Whisky man John McDougall (ex-Springbank, Laphroaig et al.) in London. Generous with this mentorship and his Whisky, many McDougall barrels now form a crucial component of Sweetdram’s inventory. 

Of course, all good things take time and Sweetdram has been careful not to release anything before they felt the quality was there. With many of their casks approaching their sweet spot, Fisher and MacLeod have now chosen to pull the trigger on their first set of releases. Key to the quality of each bottling is their complete control over their inventory. The spirits are tasted weekly and bottled at source; few independent bottlers can claim the same level of detail.

Currently Available

Sweetdram Scottish Escubac

Sweetdram Scottish Escubac

Escubac is a delicious, spicy and citrusy alternative to Gin, a reinvention of an old style of spicy yellow liqueur that originated in Tudor England as 'usquebaugh' (a sort of ancestor of whisky). After being adopted by the French, and renamed Escubac, the drink eventually vanished into the ether. Or so we thought. Enter Daniel Fisher and Andrew MacLeod Smith. To start, Sweetdram macerate 14 botanicals, including caraway, cardamom, cubeb, lemon and bitter orange and citrus, for 72 hours, then slowly distil them using a bespoke, teardrop-shaped copper still (built by Vendome Copper & Brass Works of Kentucky). Designed by the Sweetdram team, this still mimics the science of early French stills with the line arm corkscrewing upwards for maximum copper contact & reflux resulting in a super-light and aromatic spirit. Following distillation, the spirit is then very lightly sweetened with golden raisins and a small amount of sugar (Escubac contains four times less sugar than the average liqueur), and tinted a light straw-yellow with strands of saffron. As the gin sector continues to saturate, Escubac offers the discerning drinker and bartender something genuinely original and genuinely delicious to use. Aside from the addictive E&T, this modern spirit is delicious served on the rocks, while its citrusy, spicy personality and deceptive dryness brings enormous versatility. It can be handled like a gin or a vodka etc., be poured as a base spirit or it can be 'base split' with countless other spirits.

As the gin sector continues to saturate, Escubac offers the discerning drinker and bartender something genuinely original and genuinely delicious to use. Aside from the addictive E&T, this modern spirit is delicious served on the rocks, while its citrusy, spicy personality and deceptive dryness brings enormous versatility. It can be handled like a gin or a vodka etc., be poured as a base spirit or it can be 'base split' with countless other spirits.

"Escubac? What is that? If you had to make a comparison, Escubac is closest to gin. But really, it lives in its own damn house. The driving flavors and aromas are lemon and orange peel (not juice), warm spices (like cumin and coriander), vanilla, and tons of herbal, floral botanicals... I'd pop it right open, get out the tonic, and have everything you know about the G&T changed for the better."
Bon Appétit
Sweetdram Scottish Escubac
Sweetdram Whisky Amaro

Sweetdram Whisky Amaro

This is the third innovative spirit release by this award-winning Edinburgh distillery, Sweetdram. It’s a whisky-based amaro that is made with a blend of single malt Scotch and single grain British whiskies, infused with nine botanicals. The whiskies utilised were: Ardmore seven-year-old drawn from first-fill bourbon casks, North British single grain drawn from virgin oak casks, and Invergordon 12-year-old drawn from refill sherry casks—a serious roster! The whiskies were blended in house, then infused with the botanicals (allspice, hibiscus, coriander, lovage, kola, quassia, rhubarb, lemon and lingonberry) and lightly sweetened with a blend of blossom honey from Sussex, and local urban honey from rooftop hives in Edinburgh. The result is a genius, cross-genre style, bringing together these two seemingly incompatible categories—yet it works a treat. Sip it over ice or top with soda according to mood, time of day and general preference! The striking colour alone is worth the price of admission. Bittered, balanced and the first of its kind. A sweet dram indeed.

Sip it over ice or top with soda according to mood, time of day and general preference! The striking colour alone is worth the price of admission. Bittered, balanced and the first of its kind. A sweet dram indeed.

Sweetdram Whisky Amaro

“This deceptively dry aperitif has all sorts of warm spice to it—clove, green cardamom, anise—which makes for a great low-ABV highball, but I’ve found that it really opens up with citrus and a little sugar. It’s prime for a base in a sour, even a Daiquiri, or as a sub for Cognac in a French 75.” Megan Krigbaum, PunchDrink.com

Country

Scotland

Primary Region

Edinburgh

Availability

National

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