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British Airways Partners with Pickering for Sky-High Cocktails

BA passengers can enjoy botanically engineered gin at 30,000 feet

In an interesting world first, Edinburgh based Pickering’s Gin, has developed a gin that has been specifically designed for consumption at altitude. The gin is available to drink on all short haul British Airways flights.

Distilled at Edinburgh’s Summerhall Distillery, the new 10-botanical gin celebrates the local flora and fauna with infusion of juniper, rose petals and heather alongside signature botanicals of lime, lemon, cardamom and cinnamon. The resulting spirit is the product of close collaboration, working together to ensure that flavor is maximized in the air, but tastes just as good on the ground.

Central to the flavor profile of the gin is the addition of lemon myrtle. In contrast to other classic acidic citrus fruits, lemon myrtle imparts natural sweetness alongside the bold citrus flavour to the gin. This adds a fresh taste without the bitter edge, balancing with the sweet floral notes of heather and rose to deliver an enhanced sweetness and depth of flavour that is missing in many commercial gins when consumed at altitude.

At 30,000 feet, low air pressure and lack of humidity supress taste receptors and alter the sense of smell. The perception of sweet and salt are somewhat muted whereas elements of spice and bitter flavors are left unchanged. Even the background hum of the engines affect taste and mute detection of salty or sugary flavors, according to experts at Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory.

To banish so-called “airplane taste blindness,” the distillers designed a botanical flavor profile that enhances the taste and smell senses that fall away during flight.

Tasting Notes at 30,000 feet:

A naturally balanced sweet and spiced gin with a beautiful note of juniper and citrus from the lemon myrtle paired alongside the heather and rose petal. This is balanced against the sweet spice of cinnamon and cardamom to give a lovely flavoursome gin.

Tasting Notes at 10,000 feet and below:

A complex and beautifully classic gin with a bouquet of bold, floral juniper and zesty, sweet, lemon myrtle citrus. Delicate hints of rose and Scottish heather, warming cardamom and cinnamon spice.

Pickering’s British Airways Centenary Gin is available to drink on board all economy flights under 4 hours. Served with a Schweppes 1783 and slice of lemon over ice, it is offered as part of BA’s premium G&T service.

Pickering’s Gin was started in 2013, based on an original Bombay recipe dating from 1947. Distilled, bottled, labelled and waxed from the former kennels of Edinburgh’s old Royal Veterinary School, the building now houses Summerhall, an independent arts village. The distillery was the first to be established in Edinburgh for over 150 years. The company launched a bespoke range of gins, 3 Queens Gin, for the luxury cruise liner Cunard Cruises and produced three unique gins celebrating the routes of Cunard’s three flagships: The Queen Mary 2, the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Victoria.