I’ve decided that I need to go to the Shetland islands. I spent a week running around the Orkneys during a trip to the UK in my younger days, but I didn’t have time to go any higher and I’ve always felt wistful about it. I mean, they have a viking fire festival every January where they dress up like vikings in the day and then burn a viking boat that night, and dance and drink until dawn: (image courtesy of a bloke named Martin Deutsch who kindly shares his images under a creative commons licence and apparently goes to cool stuff) But even more importantly, they have a gin distillery there, Shetland Reel Gin, where you do a two-day course learning all about how they make gin. They collect you from Shetland’s capital and then have to take you via multiple ferries, from what I could see, right up to the most northern island, where they are. You stay overnight at some fancy resort and it all sounds extremely appealing to me. I was telling my cousin-in-law about this the other day, while we were taking out kids to a wildlife sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula that isn’t that far from our place. I told her about my current desperation to go to cold, windswept Scottish islands, and the festival and the many ferry rides it would take to get to the distillery and she pointed out that I can take a damned gin-making course at the Bass and Flinders distillery without having to fly half-way across the world and take fourteen ferries. It’s just not the same. If the gin were the point, I could just buy a make-your-own gin kit and do it at home (I was going to write “or even set up my own still” but I just googled and making your own spirits from scratch all seems a bit fiddly for me. Like the time I made mozzarella). Perhaps I could stay slightly closer to home and go to the one at the McHenry Distillery in Tasmania. Which is also on my list of distilleries to possibly visit on islands. In the meantime, I think I’ll just drink this bottle of gin that my cousins bought me. Night night.
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