The idea of the Mixology Night at the Alexandra Hotel in Lyme Regis was to sample lots of lovely gins and learn new ways of mixing them with unusual flavours.

A night away by the coast was just what the mixologist had ordered, so throwing some things into an overnight bag, we headed south to Dorset.

Getting to the boutique hotel was surprisingly easy – I love that last little bit when you wind up over the brow of the hill and worm your way back down with the sea before you.

It was sunny so we checked into our room and then wandered down the hill to the beachfront.

It had been a good few years since I’d been to Lyme Regis, It brought back lovely memories of playing the 2p machines in the arcades and mackerel fishing as a kid, but those wonderful views and that real seaside feel hadn’t changed a jot.

En route back to the Alexandra Hotel we stopped off at The Volunteer Inn for a nice pint of Tribute. Great little pub.

But the main event awaited us, so we made haste back to the room in time to get ready for our evening of gin. The room was gorgeous and impressively proportioned, with views to die for – the windows looking out to sea over the hotel’s huge rear garden.

We let in the sea air to hear the waves in the distance, while we sat in the two comfy wicker chairs by the window, and relaxed for a few minutes before dinner.

Dinner in the charming hotel dining room, turned out to be well worth the trip alone.

My wife Holly had the smoked salmon for a starter and I went for a slow cooked duck egg with wild mushrooms and tiny little crispy shallots that looked like perfect miniature onion rings.

Then the sirloin steak – very large and sourced from a local farm before being dry-aged for 21 days.

Arriving with leaves, triple-cooked chips and a chunk of Dorset Blue Vinney butter, it was just the tastiest steak I have ever eaten. Cooked flawlessly, exactly how I asked, it was so good I’m reluctant to order a steak ever again because I know it won’t be surpassed.

The Mixology Night itself was being held in the hotel’s Old Chapel, a space just outside the main entrance and usually used for weddings.

The chapel itself was very special.

Small but happily seating around 50 or so other gin lovers, the ceiling was high lit by two metal chandeliers each holding ten candles.

More candles were dotted about the tables and walls meaning the event was truly atmospheric.

Joining a table with assorted fellow gin tipplers, we were happy chatting with our fellow afficianados, when up popped the Master Mixologist himself, Lloyd Brown.

He informed us that the first drink being delivered to our tables was a strong Sipsmith gin and tonic that went very well with the salty popcorn and maple syrup pistachios they had laid out.

We then had a lemon drizzle gin that was mixed with some London Cup prosecco, some sloe gin, followed by a rather strange gin mixed with basil, lemon and blackberry jam.

After that it was a bit of a blur, but I do remember a lovely, brightly-coloured cocktail named the Bridport Dagger. Made with Liberty Fields apple balsamic vinegar, lime, ginger beer and more gin, it was delicious.

What a night! Lloyd did a brilliant job. He walked around explaining everything and answering all our questions throughout the evening.

Such good fun, and all for £20 per head.

Suffice to say, we both slept very well that night.

In the morning, a full English breakfast, which was a work of art, and some delicious coffee sorted us both out for the day.

Before we left, we had one last stroll in the back garden. The hotel is set high on the hill so boasts some wonderful views out over the sea to the beach below.

The garden itself is a wonderful haven and I could have spent all day there relaxing peacefully.

As it was, we had to head back to Oxford – but at least we returned full of lovely Dorset memories.

It turns out Lyme Regis is great fun as an adult too.

The facts:

Ed Nix was hosted by the Alexandra Hotel and Restaurant on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast.

  • The clifftop hotel has superb Jurassic Coast views, 23 individually-designed bedrooms and two restaurants including the newly opened Ammonite, offering relaxed dining in a beautiful bespoke orangery.
  • An overnight stay costs from £180 per room (two sharing) including full English breakfast.
  • A two-night Master Mixology Cocktail Break costs £225 per person (based on two sharing) including two nights’ accommodation, full English breakfast, Master Mixology Cocktail Evening and one three-course dinner on June 22, July 27, August 31 and September 28.
  • Call 01297 442 010 (