St. Andrews and Tayport

We were very blessed this Christmas by receiving many wonderful gifts, one of which we utilised recently.  We were given a voucher for an overnight stay in the Hotel Du Vin which included a 5-course tasting menu with a glass of wine to accompany each course (a brilliant idea).  St Andrews is always a gorgeous destination no matter what time of year you visit.  We visited on the coldest week of the winter so far, so our walks were bracing, to say the least – it was Baltic with a chilly breeze from the sea.  In Scotland at this time of year, this is to be expected so it’s a case of dressing for the weather.  After a short while we got the call for a wee dram and popped into the Rusacks Hotel and visited their Bar 18, a rooftop bar with a view of the sea and overlooking the 18th hole on the Old Course.  I treated myself to a large Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old and a pint of IPA, purely for medicinal purposes of avoiding hypothermia and a large cognac for the lady.

 I would highly recommend the Hotel Du Vin for a stay.  Our room was spacious and cosy at the same time.  The 5-course tasting menu was epic, and we have never enjoyed smoked salmon as much in our life.  The wine selection matched the courses perfectly. 

Prior to going to St Andrews my wife had been watching James Martin’s Saturday Morning TV programme.  On the programme, he was making a dessert and incorporating a liqueur from the Tayport Distillery.  There was an interview with the ladies running the distillery which is in Tayport. Well as Tayport is only 11 or 12 miles from St Andrew it was a no-brainer that we would have to make a visit.

Tayport is a charming little town and we spent a little time down at the harbour before we located this family owned and run distillery.  The owner, Kecia McDougal, was joined by her daughter Mary who handles sales and marketing plus Kecia’s son who is the production manager. They were all very charming and, although we had not booked a tour and had just arrived out of the blue they were very willing to show us how they make their spirit. They said they commenced making the liqueurs initially with excess fruit from local farmers.  Their current range comprises:-  

Blackcurrant Liqueur 

Coffee Liqueur

Raspberry Liqueur

Madagascan Vanilla Vodka

Malt Barley Vodka

Wild Rose Gin (their first venture into gin)

Scots Pine Gin

Unfortunately, they have not started distilling Whisky yet, but who knows what the future may bring.  Needless to say, my wife’s ears pricked up at the thought of acquiring another artisan gin, so she sampled the two gins on sale and settled on purchasing the Wild Rose Gin, delicious. The packaging is sublime, elegant and unique with bottles reminiscent of large perfume bottles. I am convinced that this small enterprise is just on the cusp of huge success and would recommend if anybody is in the Fife location that they seek out this distillery, or if you are further afield you can check them out on the products we tasted were excellent. 

It is not often that Jacqueline and I ever visit a distillery that does not make Whisky, but I had to concede that it made a change of spirit, also just want to say I have been known to enjoy a chilled gin & tonic on a hot summer’s day, so not all is lost.

So, if you are holidaying in Fife with the distillery being only 10/11 miles from St. Andrews and minutes from the Tay Bridge. This distillery must be high on your list for a wee visit and maybe a tour with tasting.

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