Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines introduces gin masterclasses

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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is giving guests the chance to create their own bespoke gin during 2020 cruise holidays, as part of the line’s immersive onboard enrichment programme.

The first gin masterclasses, which are conducted by expert gin-makers Nigel and Debbie Wright, will take place on the flagship Balmoral during its 70-night South American Exploration cruise, which departs from Southampton, UK, on 6 January 2020.

Nigel Wright focussed on the gin-making process in his retirement, with encouragement from his wife Debbie. As part of his research, he consulted with some of the new breed of craft gin producers, after which he obtained the necessary licences for producing gins at home in Summer 2018.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Fred. Olsen guests to learn what goes into making a gin and to be able to create their own bespoke bottle, tailored specifically to their individual tastes and preferences,” said Nigel Wright. “The masterclasses will offer not just a practical experience but also an educational one. Guests will be exposed to a wide range of botanicals, and will learn what they like and do not like, from which they can develop their own recipe to reflect their personal taste, and get to take it home with them as a treasured memento of their Fred. Olsen holiday.”

The gin-making experience will take place in Balmoral’s Grill Restaurant, on Lido Deck 8, and will last around two hours, including introductions and tastings. Classes will be limited to between six and eight guests and will cost £25 (€29.30) per person. Participants will have the chance to make up to six gins per session, using Fred. Olsen’s new copper distilling equipment. Guests will also receive a 70cl bottle of their bespoke hand-crafted gin to take home.

There will be more than 50 different botanicals to choose from to flavour the gin – all of which have been researched and documented by Debbie. A number of the botanicals have been specially selected to marry with the destinations that guests will be visiting in South America.

“We are delighted that Nigel and Debbie Wright will be sharing their knowledge and expertise with our guests and giving them the opportunity to develop their own gin,” said Thomas Rennesland, hotel operations director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. “This is a unique experience, which teaches the whole of the gin-making process, from picking the botanicals through to distillation, and we are very excited at the prospect of our guests enjoying this fantastic class.”

Balmoral’s 70-night South American Exploration will take in floral Madeira and the volcanic island of São Vicente, and include stops in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, Chile and Colombia, along with the Caribbean islands of Curaçao, Bonaire, Barbados, Antigua and St Kitts.

Image: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

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Marisa has been writing about transport design and the passenger experience since 2013 and is also a contributor to sister titles Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International. She has travelled the world extensively by car, plane, train and cruise liner.

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