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Travel: Gin Blending at the Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews

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This is prime Scottish sporting real estate, so close to the historic 18th hole on the Old Course at St Andrews that you might be in the firing line from a wayward approach shot. The Open Championship returns to these famous links in 2021 and the Dunhill Links Championship hits this quaint wee town each October but you don’t need to know a sand wedge from a sandwich to appreciate a short break here. A four-star luxury hotel which matches old world elegance and comfort with a modern twist or two.

SLEEPING MATTERS

The 70 bedrooms here come in all shapes and sizes, packed with period features and named after a veritable encyclopaedia of golfing reference points. Take your pick from feature rooms named after Hell’s Bunker or US golfing great Arnold Palmer or champagne and flowers at the luxurious Tom Morris Jnr suite, a sizeable apartment which even has a ‘Loo with a view’. Kitted out with king-size bed, complimentary bottled water, Arran Aromatics toiletries and a Nespresso Coffee Machine.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Local seafood, beef and game are all the rage at the award-winning Rocca Restaurant, headed up by Michelin-starred head chef Tony Borthwick, who showcases the finest produce from local suppliers. We enjoyed halibut with clams, seafood chowder and chorizo (£29) plus guinea fowl with confit croquette, carrots, baby leeks and sauce Diable (£29). The hotel’s One Under Gastro Pub offers a more relaxed dining experience while the R Bar is an elegant and sophisticated champagne and whisky bar.

DRINK IN THE SIGHTS

In case you haven’t noticed, Britain is in the midst of its biggest gin craze since William of Orange brought it to these shores as a patriotic alternative to French wine in the 17th century. For devotees, being able to craft your own is just the tonic. That is where the on-site Eden Mill Blendworks comes in. At the end of this laid-back, two-hour session, housed in a specially-designed spirits emporium, you will know your juniper base from your botanicals, leaving with three specially labelled and personalised 20cl bottles of your creation.

NICE TOUCH If golf isn’t your bag, why not catch some bracing sea air with a stroll on St Andrew’s striking West Sands. The hotel is fully wheelchair accessible, dogs are welcome at a cost of £15 per pet per night with guide dogs free.

ABOUT THE AREA With the nearest train station at Leuchars, more than four miles away, a car makes sense and there are 23 car parking spaces available on a first come, first served basis. In easy walking distance of the town’s other shops and restaurants, planning permission also exists here for a 44-room extension.

The Eden Mill Gin Blending Experience package at Macdonald Rusacks Hotel starts from £164.50 per person per night and includes dinner, bed & breakfast, a Gin Masterclass with Eden Mill, three 20cl bottles of the recipe created, two Blendworks glasses and a gift box. For further information and to book, visit http://www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/ourhotels/macdonald-rusacks-hotel/

BY STEWART FISHER

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Source : HeraldScotland

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