Gin Palace

Erica & Paul experience DIY tipples overlooking the River Tweed

It was back to school last month, with a seriously magical twist – Paul and I were visiting a wheelchair-friendly gin school where we learned to make out own gin, and try it, too! The school itself is set within the Hydro Hotel, in Peebles and is spacious and all lower-level. Set next to the hotel’s spa this school smells heavenly combined with the aromas of gin.

Our session kicks off with a large gin and tonic to welcome us, followed by an extensive tour around Hydro’s very own distillery so we got to see exactly what happens at every step of the gin distilling process.

After inhaling a platter of amuse bouche, making our bottles of 70cl gin begins. The gin making equipment is a few steps up from the bar but there’s a specially built lower level gin-making table for Paul. The three hour experience is designed to give adults a day experience while staying at the hotel.

Gin isn’t easy to make, but with our friendly guide we’re soon able to flavour the ethanol liquid (not to mention taste it – which is where the afternoon takes a turn!)

From splash to sip, the gin school sits on what was once the original hotel swimming pool (a long, long, time ago). A lot has changed since then – these days we found 26 individual copper stills neatly lined in rows and glass jars brimming with botanicals – but the same water still flows down from the hills and into the Hydro as it did 140 years ago.

I was told that guide dogs and hearing dogs are always welcome at Peebles Hydro, too. Just don’t mention the wheelchair push to the taxi – it was curvy to say the least!

To book your class visit www.1881distillery.com.

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