When the sun is shining fiercely in the Lake District, there are few reasons for wanting to remain indoors. The Lakes Distillery is one.
Located next to Bassenthwaite Lake, just off the A66, this renovated 1850s Victorian model farm is quickly becoming one of Cumbria’s most must-see attractions.
Home to The Lakes brand of gin, vodka and whisky, an hour long tour takes visitors on a 200-year journey of distilling heritage.
It begins with a short film tracing the journey of the River Derwent by helicopter. The footage highlights beautifully the distillery’s water source and demonstrates why its location in the Cumbrian fells is as perfect as it is picturesque.
From here our group was shown the two grand copper stills, offering up a glimpse of the spirit destined to become the Lakes Malt, as well as the smaller “Chemmy” still, where the The Lakes vodka and gin is created. From here it was on to the warehouse where the malt rests in sherry and bourbon casks as the maturation process takes hold.
The distillery only opened in 2014 and therefore the Lakes Malt will not be ready until 2018. For now a blend of malt whiskies from around the British Isles, called The One, is being sold alongside the gin and the vodka. And you get the chance to try all three with a tasting session at the end.
Our tour guide was friendly and informative and a £5 discount voucher, for any 70cl bottle, was a nice touch.
Once you’ve raised a glass to there is a bistro and bar awaiting. Suitable for afternoon teas and light bites there is also an a la carte menu packed with mouthwatering mains.
From the set menu (£19.95 for three courses), I had a roasted vegetable salad with walnuts and balsamic vinegar followed by the corn fed chicken breast with pancetta and baby onions. An exquisite dish and one I was sad to see end.
Thankfully, a selection of whisky infused desserts are on hand to raise spirits - the soft meringue with raspberries and pistachio a real palette pleaser.
The Lakes Distillery truly is a wonderful addition to this beautiful part of the world.
Tour prices: £12 for adults; children £5; free under 5s. For more information visit www.lakesdistillery.com