A rare father/daughter day out to the idyllic Lakes Distillery
I have just got back from such a lovely treat! My Dad and I were invited to visit the Lakes Distillery in Cumbria and since it’s a good 2 hours away (and involved drinking whisky!), we decided we’d stay the night. So I’ve had a full 24 hours away with my dad!
An early Christmas present (he sure loves his whisky), it was a rare opportunity to go away, just the two of us, getting chance to talk about everything that is important to us in this moment of our lives and reconnect.
Lakes Distillery Tour
We set off from my house at 9am (or just after, we’ll blame the wild weather!) to arrive in Cumbria at the top of Bassenthwaite Lake in time for our 11am tour. We were just able to make out a looming Skiddaw, one of the Lake’s highest peaks, through the mist, clouds and rain as we made our way into the Lakes Distillery.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t overly looking forward to the tour…When I was a kid, we often used to visit distilleries in France and what a yawn. However, it turns out that a Distillery visit improves significantly when you are able to sample the finished products! In fact I found it fascinating.
Clearly a popular experience, our tour was fully booked and started in their state-of-the-art Presentation Room, with our guide, Amanda. She showed us a beautiful video which demonstrated both the impressive landscape and the interesting twists and turns of the River Derwent, where the Lakes Distillery drawers all its water.
From there we saw the distillation tanks and went on to see the first barrels laying in wait for their 3rd birthday (3 years and a day is apparently how long it takes!).
My dad was a Chemist in a past life, so combining that with a passion for Single Malt Whisky, he did have a few questions that we needed to google afterwards (such as what minerals make water from the Derwent so unique) but overall it was a really interesting trip, reminding me of all the things I’d forgotten since school about the distillation process and how alcohol is made.
And then we got to sample the goods!
Prior to inspecting the whisky’s ‘legs’
As the Lakes Distillery is still in it’s infancy – having been open less that 12 months, their Single Malt Whisky is still being made – they have a rather delicious blend called The One. My dad, being the connoisseur that he is, never really drinks a blended whisky, but he actually bought 2 bottles. High praise indeed!
We were instructed as to how to taste whisky, as follows:
1) Inspect the ‘legs’ – i.e. swirl the whisky around the glass to check the viscosity. You want the whisky to cling to the glass and you’ll see the legs appear (rather hard to explain in words!!)
2) Sniff – first with the right nostril and then with the left…I could smell it much more clearly with my left nostril, which apparently links to the logical side of your brain and meant I was assessing to see if I thought it was poisonous. The right nostril links to passion!
3) Sip and coat – you want to take a tiny sip and coat your mouth, teeth and tounge in the whisky before drinking. Then take another sip as normal. The coating process is to allow your taste buds to wake up and full taste the whisky.
Who’d have known it was so complex! And, yummy.
We were also able to try their Vodka, the only Vodka to be distilled in Cumbria, which I really liked. Their distillation process causes reflux, which apparently makes it super smooth. I can confirm. And, they keep both the Vodka and the Gin in the freezer to make it a ‘sipping’ drink. It sure was!
The Lakes Gin was my winner, however! The only Gin which is permitted to be made with wild Cumbrian Juniper and another 14 botanicals, including locally sourced Meadow Sweet, made for a delicious and unique flavour.
Lunch at the Lakes Distillery Bistro
After our tour we made our way to the Lakes Distillery Bistro for Sunday lunch. Normally we wouldn’t have indulged in the full 3 courses but the choices were so good, we couldn’t help it!
Dad started with Salt and Pepper Squid…
And I went for the Prawn Cocktail with The One sauce!
Then we both went for the Pork Loin Sunday Dinner, which was so good!
Finally, Dad had the Gooseberry Compote…
And I had the Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Absolutely delicious, very reasonably priced at £21 for 3 courses and just the right sized portions so we didn’t feel too stuffed.
Having said that, when we got to our family room at The Trout Hotel in Cockermouth, we both had an afternoon nap!!
My room was just off this main room, here:
It was such a lovely way to spend some quality time with my dad, I would highly recommend it as a Christmas Gift idea. And, we were able to spend the rest of the day together, eating a bit more and chatting…and then I made him watch the first episode of I’m a Celebrity. Haha!
Have you ever been to the Lakes Distillery? Or tried any of their drinks?
I’d love to hear what you thought of it, or if you think any of your loved ones would like a visit!