Updated: Mar 30, 2022
Braw Liquor Club is a small business located on the Isle of Bute and will partner up with Scottish Adventure in our forthcoming 5 Ferries Weekend. Created by Lizzie Mackirdy, the club will host our thirsty cyclists on Saturday 2nd of July for an tasting session of locally sourced, small batch cocktails.
Scottish Adventure sat down with Lizzie to find out about the brand, how she came to create it on Bute and what her plans were for the future.
Scottish Adventure (SA) : Let’s start off by tell us a bit about yourself. How did you find making Scottish based cocktails on Bute?
Lizzie Mackirdy (BLC): I started Braw Liquor Club during lockdown as I spent over 10 years in London working as a Fashion buyer, and when the pandemic hit in 2020 I moved back to my hometown of the Isle of Bute. I felt there was a gap in the market for a premium cocktail brand with a twist. I was missing sharing cocktails with friends and I couldn’t find a Scottish brand that was using Scottish ingredients with transparency, being mindful of their processes and branded in a contemporary way.
SA: Was it always your intention to use Scottish Ingredients in your cocktails? How has the business changed from original concept to what it is now and do you still have original ideas that you hope to bring into play?
BLC: Yes absolutely, it was always my intention to use local ingrendients in a premium sense. I sampled many of the other ready to drink cocktail options available and so many were of a low price point with a high sugar content and packaged in a can.
The business has changed in many ways throughout product development from the type of glass to branding concept, labelling style, fabrication and of course many many recipes.
I do have other ideas that I wish to develop that play on the idea of a club, as mentioned in the name. I already have a couple of additions on site in terms of other merchandise, including a t-shirt and stickers.
SA: Having been born on Bute can you share some of your favourite memories growing up on the Island?
BLC: Bute is a truly wonderful place to grow up and I appreciate it even more as I have returned back from a long period away. Some of my favourite memories are family walks in the summer up Suidhe hill which is 123m high at the south end of the Island. We would walk up one side from Kingarth, and down the other, to finish at Kilchattan Bay. We would then stop at St Blane’s for a pub lunch.
SA: Scottish Adventure are running a trip later this year to Bute to do the 5 Ferries and to do a lap of the Island. Have you done the 5 Ferries? What highlight of the island should we take in, during our loop the day after the 5 Ferries ride?
BLC: I have not done the 5 ferries yet, maybe one day! I would recommend routing your cycle around Scalpsie to take in the views from the viewpoint and also a ice-cream from Zavaroni’s is a must!
SA: How do you go about selecting ingredients for your cocktails? Can you share a little bit about the selection process? And do you ever get the chance to visit (Pitlochry, Aboyne) where they are sourced?
BLC: I decided on the cocktails I wished to produce and then the base spirits being, Gin for the Bramble and Whisky for the Old Fashioned. I then partnered with industry experts to further develop the recipe. I was very strict on the Scottish providence and quality. I didn’t get the chance to visit Lost Loch as we were in lockdown and everything was done remotely. I hope to in the near future.
SA: For those of us going on the 5 Ferries trip what can we expect when we visit the Braw Liquor HQ on Bute?
BLC: BLC HQ is located in my family business board room (John Mackirdy Ltd) as I am predominately an online business. I look forward to welcoming you all for the tasting and have bottles available to purchase in a range of sizes.
SA: What is your favourite Braw Liquor product and which Scottish View would you most like to take in whilst enjoying it?
BLC: My favourite is the Bramble as it’s a little lighter for the day, with sweet and sour notes and the addition of the gooseberry as a contemporary twist. I do love the Old Fashioned over lots of ice for an evening though. It is smooth and has sweetness to balance the bitters along with the addition of sea tangle to add a salty finish. Perfect to sip by the fire looking out over Rothesay Bay and the Kyles of Bute from my favourite window in my family home.
SA: Thanks for that, Lizzie. Look forward to meeting you in July and tasting these cocktails!!
Braw Liquor Club
SA's The 5 Ferries Blog Post
SA's 5 Ferries Adventure 2022