IF you love gin and fancy doing something a bit different, how about a cruise dedicated to mother’s ruin in Poole?

Dorset Cruises launched the UK’s first artisan gin cruise in 2017 and has been riding the crest of a wave ever since.

Managing director Jon Morgan invited us to experience a private masterclass with Dorset’s first gin distillery, Conker Spirit last Thursday evening.

The weather couldn’t have been much worse, with driving wind and rain, but it instilled an instant sense of camaraderie amongst the 30 guests.

Once we were all safely on board, Jon gave everyone three tokens to exchange at the prohibition style bar for a Conker Gin cocktail.

Shortly after we left the Quayside, our gin guide Florence took the helm, metaphorically speaking, and talked to us about gin production, the rise of Conker Spirit and how they settled on the final 10 botanical recipe of their signature gin Dorset Dry.

We sampled several gins in the range starting with Conker’s maiden product the Dorset Dry, followed by Port Barrel, a pink tinted limited edition gin combining dry juniper with notes of vanilla, oak and warm spices and then a hearty Navy Strength Gin distilled in honour of the RNLI – which at 57 per cent ABV is not for the faint-hearted!

We then tied up alongside a private pontoon near The Haven, a chic harbourside restaurant where we enjoyed an elegant three course meal. A few hours later we set sail again, homeward-bound with a new cocktail from Conker’s award-winning Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur to watch the Thursday night fireworks. And if all this wasn’t enough, each guest was given a 700ml bottle of Conker Spirit to take home.

Even though the weather was far from ideal, we still had a brilliant evening, so we could only imagine how magical it would have been in fair weather. The atmosphere on board was like a friendly pub.

So if you’re looking for a new adventure, combined with good food and drink, this gin cruise could be just the tonic!

* The Original Gin Cruise is £125 per person and is just one of several themed cruises available, see dorsetcruises.co.uk.

Dorset Queen was a triple award winner at the 2019 BH Star Awards, including Corporate Venue, Event of the Year and Transport categories.