As we socially distance ourselves from lockdown, contemplating the return to normality can be quite daunting. Will we remember that we now have to dress our lower halves as well? Will we brush/comb/polish the back of our hair styles, as well as the sections visible on Zoom? Can we still use the slowness of our broadband as an excuse for that ‘missed’ action point? But more fundamentally, will our brains cope with the combination of work, commuting, socialising and home/family life, without exploding? i.e. we might be beating Covid, but will we survive getting back to normal?
If you’re not sure, perhaps a bit of brain training is what’s required. Take your brain back to school. But no, I’m not that cruel, I’m sending you and your brain to GIN SCHOOL!!
Some of your favourite gin producers have been quick off the mark to kindly bring this vital therapeutic
opportunity to you, no matter where in Scotland you find yourself facing being normal:-
Scottish Gin Schools.
Crossbill Gin re-opens their gin school in late May. Their educational experience is a few hours (usually 3)
spent at the distillery in Glasgow learning about how gin is made and the botanicals involved. This
includes some tutored nosing and tasting with an expert. You’ll then go on to select your preferred
botanicals and create your own gin to take away with you. The price is currently £125 per person. Please
always book ahead. That’s getting back to normal.
Isle of Skye Distillery, home of Misty Isle and Tommy’s Gin, re-opens on Wednesdays and Fridays from 2-
5pm, led by Master Distiller Alistair. The three hour sensory experience includes gin tastings, the history of gin and the story of The Isle of Skye Distillery. Plus the chance to create your own bottle of gin by expertly selecting the botanicals under Alistair’s guidance, running your own pot still, then bottling and labelling too. You can share a still between two of you, or keep it all to yourself (no one’s judging!) The price is £85 per still either way. Please always book in advance. This is going to be very popular. That’s normal too.
The City of Aberdeen Distillery. Dan and Alan plan to re-open in late May. Their Gin School is a great
place to meet gin minded people from across the region. They work with up to 20 aspiring gin makers at a time and offer a comprehensive session covering the history of distilling in Aberdeen, a G&T on arrival, various samples to inform your choices, and your own design of bottle filled with gin. Celebrate becoming a distiller with a cocktail afterwards – what more could you and your normal brain wish for?
Ballachulish’s Pixel Spirits hold their gin school at North Ballachulish, at the foot of Glen Coe. The local
landscape is a treat for the senses in itself, but add in gin to the mix, and your wellbeing rating will soar like a local eagle. The Gin School here is up and running, and a three hour gin making experience, complete with recipe development time, distilling an uber small batch gin, and taking home a full sized bottle of your bespoke creation, comes in at £89 per person. There’s a G&T or two also included in case you’re thirsty.
Uniquely, Pixel also offers a rum school. It’s a similar set up, but making rum is a very different process to
gin, so it’s a whole new set of neural pathways for your brain to develop! Hard to miss that Pixel is located
in the grounds of the Loch Leven Hotel, so why not book in for a couple of nights and cover both bases?
Two wonderful spirits in two wonderful days. That’s truly being kind to yourself and your grey matter. That should be normal.
Lost Loch Distillery, Aboyne, Aberdeenshire is re-opening once restrictions allow. Luckily their airy and
spacious gin school lets everyone discover all about gin or other botanical spirits (the choice is yours) with lots of space around them. Spend the day learning about how botanical spirits are created and work
alongside the experts to design your own unique expression, and take it home with you at the end of the
day! At present, you might be best to buy a voucher, which at £115 is a promise of an extremely
educational and therapeutic day to come. Go on, your brain (and taste buds) will thank you for it. They
Kirkwall’s Kirkjuvagr Distillery is re-opening for tours very soon, and looks forward to welcoming you back
to take part in their Gin Making sessions. This immersion in all things gin can be for 1, 2 or 3 people
sharing one mini-still. The price ranges from £125 for one person, £175 for two and £225 for three people
working together at this harbour front distillery. It’s a five hour experience and must be booked in advance of course, subject to Covid restrictions. But that’s completely normal.
Crafty Distillery is home to Hills and Harbours Gin, Newton Stewart. It re-opens on Friday April 30 th for
their informative tours, which include a perfect serve of the base spirit, a cocktail and a Hills and Harbour
Gin & Tonic for £20, or a non-drinking driver tour for £10. Their highly regarded full day spent with the
Master Distiller which includes foraging for botanicals and learning the art of distilling, will begin once
Covid restrictions allow. If you can’t wait, call the team and it may be possible to set something up if you
use your own transport. New normal.
So Are You Ready?
So, as normal, Ginspired has come up with the perfect guide to enhancing your wellbeing as we adjust to getting back to normal. If you, or someone you know, has a brain that would benefit from attending school (and who hasn’t?), book them in. You’re bound to find that their whole demeanour is improved immeasurably, when thoroughly immersed in Scottish Gin, (completely normal).
So click through the links (as normal) and book yourself on!
You’re welcome. (That’s normal too.)