**Disclosure: We were guests of Holyrood Distillery on their virtual tour & tasting. Regardless of this, please be advised that all opinions expressed in this blog post are genuine and authentically our own.**
Night Out ‘In'
The year 2020 brought all of us to a halt one way or another which led a large sector of the world's population to either make, bake, or create something while at home. I, for one, am not part of that group of people. However, it was not until recently that I did something that I had never done before, and it would not have transpired if it was not to life’s current state of affairs - we did a virtual gin distillery tour and online gin tasting from our own home.
Barry and I enjoy gin. We are not connoisseurs, but we definitely enjoy the process of discovering, trying and comparing new flavours and brands. The fantastic opportunity arose to learn more about the tipple I love.
I think it is important for me to share with you that I am a calculated adventurer - one who loves new experiences but one who can easily find excuses to not do either small or big things. Additionally, I am an ambivert who leans closer to the introvert side. These traits of mine translate to the fact that it took an effort in the beginning for me to jump on board with the idea of doing a virtual gin distillery and tasting tour using Zoom (my first Zoom experience!). However, I am so glad I pushed through my restraining thoughts and hopped on board with Holyrood Distillery’s five star gin distillery tour.
Gin-Tastic Virtual Tour and Tasting
Friday night arrived and Barry and I joined other Holyrood Distillery fans online for the hour and fifteen minute virtual tour and online gin tasting. As advised, it was ideal for two people not only as there is enough spirit for two, but because it was so much fun to share the night in sampling and comparing gins. We were all prepared for the virtual experience as we had received the tasting pack well in advance via mail which comprised of a) 4 x 10cl Core Gin Sampling Pack (Dry, Spiced, Auld Tom, Pink), b) 4 x 200ml Fever Tree Mixers (Indian Tonic, Light Tonic, Ginger Ale, Raspberry and Rose Soda), c) 2 x Holyrood Gin glasses, and d) 1 x Holyrood Bottle Opener. The online booking process had been a breeze and the communications and dispatch were very straightforward. Additionally, we were ready with some extras including a few berry selections, oranges, a chopping board, and a knife to have a smooth running experience. On a side note, do not forget to get the ice, as we did!
Barry and I happened to be the last to join the group. Unfortunately, we had technical issues as we were unable to be heard, but we easily got around that issue through the public chat board thus not feeling left out of the fun. Our group comprised of a mix of both singles and couples tallying up to a total of 8 participating parties. The evening unfolded with introductions, and soon after, Rachel, our virtual hostess, encouraged us to begin a neat tasting of each gin, its suggested mixer, and garnishes. Rachel did an excellent job in holding our attention as not only did she provide us with tasting notes from the distiller, but she was also funny, interactive, clear, and well spoken. I absolutely loved hearing all the gin related stories (i.e., the healing powers of gin, “The Mother’s Ruin” and Dutch courage) and learning new facts. Did you know juniper berries, gin's predominant flavour, are actually modified conifer cones?
Halfway through our gin sampling, Eoin took us on a virtual tour of Holyrood’s Distillery located in the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland. The virtual tour discussed the various processes of producing single malt whisky, a range of gins and gin liqueurs under its roof. We also learned that when Holyrood Distillery was established in 2019, it became the first single malt whisky distillery in the center of the Scottish capital for almost a century. Eoin did a fantastic job in grabbing our attention while enjoying a gin in hand. He definitely inspired me to want to visit Edinburgh and the well situated Distillery in the heart of the city.
Abolish the Rules
After the video, Rachel led us once more in our unique gin tasting experience. I really enjoyed how she encouraged everyone to participate and share their favourite flavours and pairings as we all had such different opinions. Before I knew it, the tour was coming to its end. I must admit I did not want it to end as it was evident how at first everyone was stiff but by the second gin bottle everyone had begun to loosen up and we were collectively having fun. I liked Rachel’s phrase of, “Abolish the rules of ‘gin & tonic.’ Why not ‘gin & ginger ale!’“ Indeed!
Our night out ‘in’ was simply gin-tastic. Both Barry and I had an excellent experience, and although it will not replace the real thing of visiting the distillery itself, a) it for sure gave us the itch to go in the future and b) it was a perfect night in for these pandemic days for it was different yet informative.
Remember, take the challenge, discover what is in your backyard, either literally or virtually, whether you live in Scotland, in the other parts of the British Isles or even Europe, venture into the fairy tale land of Bonnie Scotland.
Join us next time when our family adventures continue as we explore the islands of Orkney. Until then, happy reading and safe travels.
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*Interested in booking a virtual tour & tasting? For more information visit https://www.holyrooddistillery.co.uk/events/