As a Glasgow born boy and having grown up and lived in the west coast of Scotland for near enough all of my days, I guess it may come as a surprise to many that I had never visited the beautiful Isle of Arran. That is until the ripe old age of 24. Last autumn, I was fortunate enough to be taken on a weekend getaway across the water to a beautiful hotel in Lamlash. A hotel with the most gorgeous views of the Holy Isle. It was a wash out, but nonetheless a fantastic weekend.
This year, to relive the magic, we found a brilliant deal for a lovely boutique hotel, Altachorive, and packed our bags.
Now we should have learned from our past mistakes…
Just in case you are wondering, November weather does not bode well for holidaying in Scotland – especially when you have to travel by boat. The journey there was spent, head between knees, trying not to share what I’d had for my lunch with innocent bystanders. Still, we made it there safely and were shown to our room. The hotel looked great, and the bar particularly festive. So after we dropped off our bags, it was off to the bar we went!
Based on our current locale, I guess it was only fitting I sampled from the Scottish Gin selection behind the bar, and Blackwoods Vintage Dry Gin was the tipple of choice. Blackwoods is a small batch gin from Shetland, an island off the north east of Scotland. An island that is no stranger to it’s own bouts of bad weather I’m sure.
The gin was delicious and helped warm my heart and soul, as well as my cheeks. Keeping it simple, I opted for plain tonic with a lemon garnish, which picked out the citrus tones of the gin really nicely. It went down a treat and if you or someone you know is a fan of Scottish Gin, I would highly recommend. Not to mention it’s blustery, Shetland inspired logo was rather apt and a sign of things to come.
Fastforward to our ferry journey home. The wind and rain can only be described as relentless and all our cars are queued waiting to board, when over the tannoy it is announced that all future sailings have been cancelled. Great.
Cold, wet and with nowhere to stay, it was safe to say I needed a gin. After sorting out the ‘boring stuff’ like a place to sleep, it was on to the necessaries – food and gin!
We stopped off at The Drift Inn, a great ‘gastro-pub’ located on the waterfront at Lamlash. The food was delicious and I had an amazing risotto appetiser and lobster sandwich, but that’s a story for a different blog. More importantly, it was on to the Portobello Road Gin for me.
Again opting for a tonic mix, albeit this time a slim-line (watching my weight you see), the gin was simple and perfect. The bar garnished with a lime, and although not altogether bad, I can’t say I would choose this if I was pouring my own. Upon further research, I think the recommended grapefruit or even lemon would be best. Still, it hit the spot and was exactly what I needed to get me through the night and on the next ferry out of there.
All in all, it was a lovely weekend and a great opportunity to try these never before sampled gins. I guess to try them again and experiment with different garnishes, I’ll just need to get myself a bottle, or two.
It’s a hard life indeed.Stay in touch!