A PRESTONPANS coppersmith has moved from making whisky stills to distilling his own whisky liqueur.

George Cairns, of East Loan, worked with food technologists at Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh to create Cairns Scotch Whisky Liqueur, which combines blended malt whisky, elderberries and Highland heather honey.

George began his career as a coppersmith in 1977 as an apprentice with McMillan, the copper pot still specialist in Prestonpans, making stills and whisky distillery equipment.

He progressed to a career in education on the subject, teaching his trade at the University of Edinburgh before working to develop his own drink.

He said: “I’ve always had an interest in whisky all my life, from working in the distilleries, being a consumer, and I’ve always been involved in some way or another.

“It was an idea that came to me some years ago; I spent some years working with the food technologists at Queen Margaret University to develop the method and get the formula just right.”

His whisky liqueur was ready to sell in February but launch plans were forced to a halt by the coronavirus lockdown.

George said: “The Covid-19 pandemic impacted on the proposed launch of the product but a soft local launch on social media resulted in steady sales and excellent consumer feedback.”

George commissioned chocolatier-patissier Sebastian Kobelt to create a limited-edition cranachan truffle to complement the Christmas sales of the whisky liqueur.

With hopes it will be on sale in shops early next year, Cairns Scotch Whisky Liqueur can be bought online from www.cairnsscotchwhiskyliqueur.com