A couple of weeks ago we headed down the coast to the lovely Mornington Peninsula for a weekend of mud and gin!
We borrowed our friends’ car in Brighton, scooted along the Nepean Highway past Frankston, and arrived at our Airbnb apartment in McCrae in no time at all. After grabbing some lunch at the Blue Bay Cafe (the walls adorned with autographs of Neighbours cast members!) we jumped back in the car to Peninsula Hot Springs for the mud part of the trip.
First we sampled all the thermal mineral pools, with temperatures varying from 37 to 43 degrees celcius (apart from the cold plunge pool which was bloody freezing). The spa pool water contains a range of naturally occurring minerals including sulphur, calcium, magnesium, potassium and others – providing all sorts of therapeutic benefits! We managed to stay in the hottest one for longer than we intended as we got chatting to a friendly chap from Geelong! Then we discovered our favourite pool of all – the wouldn’t-be-out-of-place-in-Hobbiton wine barrel:
Next it was time for our private mud bath! Neither of us had any idea what to expect, although we both secretly imagined it was going to be a giant bubbling pool of thick, gloopy mud. In fact it was a normal bath, filled with the same water as the thermal spa pools, and we smeared mud onto our bodies before hopping in. Then we lay back and relaxed as the mineral-enriched Dead Sea mud did its work – “regenerating the skin, restoring a youthful radiance to body and soul”.
The next day was Gin Day! But first of all we popped to Foxeys Hangout (chosen purely because of the excellent name!) for some wine tasting and tapas. The tapas was a good move, because over the next couple of hours there was plenty of gin-tasting to do!
When we arrived co-founder Bob told us all about Bass & Flinders Distillery, including how they make the basic gin (using grapes and a triple distillation method) and how they add the botanicals to make the tasty flavours. We then got to sample a gin & tonic! from their range, and while we were drinking we heard where all the botanicals come from and what they add to the gin.
Then it was our turn to invent our very own bottle of gin! We all started with the basis for any good gin – juniper and coriander. Then we could add whatever we felt like from the range of vapour infused botanicals at our disposal, which included: lime, orange, cassia bark, chilli, cardamon, lemon grass, angelica and many more. We used syringes to measure small quantities of each flavour into our mixing cup, then kept tasting the neat booze and adding more botanicals until we were happy with the overall flavour.
By the end of the session I had created a traditional, fresh, limey gin, while Alex went for a more exotic and oriental-inspired blend (at least that’s what we were aiming for!)
In a couple of weeks the bottles of gin will be delivered to our door, and we’ll be able to see whether our concoctions worked, or if the end results are more ‘interesting’ than delicious. Either way, we’ll look forward to sipping a bespoke gin & tonic while we reminisce about our weekend of mud and gin!