From The Shore

From The Shore

Each piece of our key botanical is hand harvested from the shores that surround our island home, creating a bold flavour, rich in maritime notes.

Our signature botanical, the Carrageen Seaweed, is what makes our gin special. Also known by its scientific name Chondrus crispus, Carrageen Seaweed is a red algae native to the cool Atlantic waters skirting Europe’s rocky coastlines, including our beautiful Isle of Barra.

carrageen seaweed
Like many of the other seaweed varieties found on the Scottish coast, carrageen is harvested after the spring tides, when the water is furthest from the shore. Once harvested, each piece of carrageen seaweed is washed through with fresh water and left outdoors for 5-6 weeks for the wind and sun to dry or ‘bleach’ as it is known on Barra. Once the carrageen has dried and has changed colour to a light white/purple it is then ready to be used to create our award-winning spirit, the Barra Atlantic Gin.

Carrageen is a small perennial alga that grows best in water that is between the low tide mark and 30 feet of depth. The plants thrive in water ranging between 5 and 15 degrees Celsius. The life cycle of the plant begins in a seed form. These seeds are shed by the plant annually.
carrageen seaweed

The plant attaches to the ocean’s rocky shores in a way that resembles being glued to the rocks. The small plant reaches maturity in three to five years, at which time the many branches that cover its top may range in colour from a light yellowish green to an almost purple colour. Mature plants can reach heights up to seven inches and have the unique ability of growing from the bottom.

Unlike plants that grow on land, Irish Moss must grow from the bottom due to the harsh environment in which it lives. Many times, throughout its lifespan a storm will whip the water up around it and in turn break the top of the plant off. Growing from the bottom allows the plant to continue developing even after the top has been broken off.

carrageen seaweed 1
As the spring tides are near, we are now looking to conduct our second harvest for our key botanical. When the tides are at their lowest, we take to the Islands rugged coastline to find our delicate but at times very illusive Carrageen Seaweed.

We approach this method just before the tide is on the turn to maximise the time we have for gathering the Carrageen. Found growing from the shores and on low lying rocks we simply forage by hand each piece of Carrageen by selecting only the best and most mature of plants as although this is our key botanical in our gin, it is also key that we make sure our harvest is sustainable and by hand-harvesting each piece methodically we can ensure that when the next harvest comes around, we will have an abundance to choose from.

carrageen seaweed
If Carrageen is a super food……does that mean Barra Gin is too?
Used as one of the 17 botanicals in our Barra Atlantic Gin, we take a look at the health benefits that Carrageen carries. Carrageen is a species of red algae that grows in the cool Atlantic waters along the rocky coastlines of Europe and North America. It's also popular in Jamaica so maybe that could be our first stop for our overseas adventures for our Barra Gin.
carrageen seaweed, botanicals

Exceptionally rich in nutrients and antioxidants, Carrageen is quickly gaining a reputation as the next big superfood, in line behind kale, blueberries and fish rich in omega-3s. The healthful properties of Carrageen include Vitamins A, E, F and K, calcium, potassium and sulphur. It is also a naturally occurring source of iodine, which can be difficult to include in one’s diet through food alone (making iodized salt the most common source) and is especially important for supporting healthy thyroid functioning. Rich in potassium chloride, Irish moss can work wonders for congestion and mucous, and holds anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

botanicals
It’s also thought to be good for dry skin and for skin conditions ranging from eczema to psoriasis, making it a valued ingredient for lotions and moisturizers.

Here’s to good health…

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