A rare two thirds of SaucyPans outing! Lia & Shonette find themselves spending a Friday evening in the best way possible – at a festival surrounded by 100+ gins!
Gin Festival is an event which tours the country, bringing a huge range of the good stuff to folk across the land, not only giving us access to some very unusual and rare gins, but also educating us about the fine booze along the way.
I’m always skeptical about big festivals like this, especially given the fact that it was being held at The Station in the centre of town – not one of the city’s biggest venues, especially when you fill it with several bars, street food vendors and other frolics.
I needn’t have worried, everything seemed pretty well organised when we arrived, and we were greeted with a nice goody bag containing a guide to the event (including a very handy list of tasting notes for every gin) and given our very own gin glass, nice.
We also got given some little pouch bags which we decided were to store your gin glass if your hands were occupied with drinking more gin – not sure if we guessed correctly, but here’s Dan modelling his:
The bars were divided into four sections, labelled clearly from A-D, each with it’s own particular type of gin ie. British gin, International gin, fruity gins.
There were also a few brand-specific stands for gins such as Brockmans & Cotswold Distillery, and the option to attend masterclasses every half hour or so to learn more about specific brands or types of gin (we did one to learn more about Poetic License which was a good mix of informative, entertaining & boozy). The bars operate on a token system – each token costs £5 which you can purchase from a stand as you walk in.
My gins sampled on the evening included a Rooibos tea gin from Inverroche in South Africa, a seaweed gin from Dà Mhile in Wales, a syrupy gooseberry gin and – my favourite – a Spanish style gin from British distillery Tinker.
The main bar area was very busy, as was the queue for tokens, however we never found that it took long to be served – but the crowds did look a bit intimidating when you first walked in! There was also another bar area in The Kitchen side of the building where you could sit down and also order cocktails, but seeing as these would set you back 2 tokens (£10) they didn’t seem as good value as the G&Ts.
There was also a range of street food vendors in the courtyard which looked good; for once in our lives we didn’t gorge ourselves and decided to focus solely on the gin, but there seemed to be a decent selection.
Overall I was impressed with Gin Festival – the selection of gins on offer, the expertise of the bar staff and people on stands, and the general vibe on the night too. I’d like to see them change up to a larger venue next time to allow for more stands, seating and entertainment, but other than that, top times!
Disclaimer doodle: We were given free press tickets for this event, but this did not sway our opinion of the event, and we were not asked to send the review in advance, or told what to say. We just loooove gin, especially when there is bucketfuls of it to be drunk.