Below is an excerpt from the August 2015 edition of GINNED! Magazine about Rock Rose Gin and the Dunnet Bay Distillery. Every month, Craft Gin Club Members receive a bottle of amazing small-batch gins and gin complements accompanied by GINNED! Magazine which is full of information about the gin, the distillery and loads of fascinating features.
With the roads around Scotland’s North Highlands all recently joined into the iconic North Coast 500 route, hordes of tourists in all sorts of vehicles have thronged to the area to enjoy the road’s unique beauty, a number of which play a particular song as they drive. Almost too fittingly, 26 years before the opening of Scotland’s answer to Route 66, a Scottish band wrote a song that was destined to become the motorway’s anthem: The Proclaimer’s “I’m gonna be (500 miles).”
Written in 1987 and unveiled on vinyl in 1988, “I’m gonna be (500 miles)” made the Proclaimers - a group consisting of Leith-born twins Charlie and Craig Reid - an international sensation. Although it didn’t hit the top of the charts immediately and didn’t even make it into the top ten in the UK upon its release, its appearance in the 1993 Hollywood romantic comedy Benny & Joon gave the catchy tune the petrol it needed to travel the 500 miles to American chart success. The film placement as well as constant MTV play of the song’s video interlaced with scenes from the film drove it to number three on the US charts and earned it a certified gold record five years after it’s release.
1993 was certainly not the last time the Scottish psalm resurfaced. It’s instantly-recognisable muted chords and Scottish-accented verse regularly feature in films and television programs, it has over 45 million plays on music streaming service Spotify and it’s music video has over 16 million views on YouTube.
But arguably its most famous rendition came in the digital era when in 2007 a rereleased version hit #1 on the UK singles chart, a rendition amusingly recorded with comedians Peter Kay and Matt Lucas and featured as a single on Comic Relief’s charity album of the same year. Kay and Lucas performed the song live as their wheelchair-bound characters, Brian Potter from Phoenix Nights and Andy Pipkin from Little Britain. The two funnymen added a humourous twist to the lyrics, proclaiming that they would “roll” the 500 miles.
With the North Coast 500 team holding charity events of its own for those circling the route in classic cars, on motorbikes or bicycles, perhaps its next effort to raise money is gonna be a 500-mile wheelchair race.
Rock Rose Lavender Martini
- 3 sprigs of fresh lavender
- 35ml of Rock Rose CGC Distiller’s Edition
- 15ml of Lillet blanc (or dry vermouth)
- Lemon peel and lavender to garnish
Method: Shake 3 springs of lavender and gin in a cocktail shaker. Add the Lillet blanc and ice and shake some more.
Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon peel and a small sprig of lavender.