If you’d said to me this time last year that I’d be actively, willingly, attending a gin festival, I’d have laughed at you. I was not a gin drinker at all, and couldn’t see the appeal- it seems that everywhere you look, gin bars are opening and becoming principle stops on every night out. A friend of mine introduced me to the classic G&T whilst visiting the acclaimed Botanical Gin Garden in Liverpool’s famous Baltic Triangle. The rest, as they say, is history and I’ve been a gin fiend ever since.
The Gin Festival is a genius concept, put together by a husband and wife team in 2012. The Festival is now considered to be the largest in the UK, hosting thousands of peoples in a multitude of different cities. I was absolutely over the moon to be invited as guest blogger to their Liverpool Event, held in the infamous Lutyen’s Crypt: aka, Paddy’s Wigwam in the Metropolitan Cathedral. I invited my friend along with me to experience the event and we were both overwhelmed with how fantastic the whole thing was; incredibly well put together, in an exciting and enormous yet intimate venue not far from the city centre.
Arrival was easy: we were greeted at the door and shown down into the crypt. I received my little Bloggers Press Pass and pack, full to the brim with goodies and tokens to treat ourselves to some of the gin offerings. Every guest to the Festival receives a large Gin Festival glass to use all night (and then take home afterwards to remember the amazing night you’ve had!) You’re also given “The Gin Book” – or, as I referred to it as, the Gin Bible – to help you make your choices throughout the night and introduce you to the monumental amount of gins on offer to you.
The front of house team informed us that there are a number of different bars, each hosting different gins, with British and International gins amongst them. Walking through the venue was fantastic- there was definitely something for everyone with bars, food stalls and a photo booth strewn amongst a band, seating areas and all the gin master classes you could possibly fit into a single night.
We had a little wander around and got our bearings before heading on over to the international gin bar. We weren’t really sure what kind of gin we fancied, both of us under no illusion that all gin is the same. Firstly we fancied something a little different, to entice our taste buds and after a brief chat with the bartender decided on 5th Gin as a brand, and, more specifically, their Earth gin. We mixed it up with the Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic water on offer to make a fruity and refreshing drink that was still really sharp in its flavour. I definitely think that of all the different gins we tried that night, this one was our favourite – we even went back for seconds, later on in the evening!
We went onto try a few of the cocktails that they had on offer: I went for the Thorny Issue cocktail whilst Catrin chose the Singapore Sling. The Thorny issue contained Jensen’s dry gin and Apérol and was fruity and orange flavoured. The Singapore Sling, on the other hand, embodied gin, cherry liquor and the Northern favourite Benedictine. Both were absolutely delicious but definitely hit us in all the right places. At this point, we treated ourselves to hog roast sandwiches and tapas snack boxes to line our stomachs a little. We finished off the evening sampling a few more amazing gins and stumbled out of the event hours later with our spirits high, a good night had.
As well as the wide range of gins on offer, there was also the opportunity to speak to brands about their gins and have a little taste test- try before you buy never sounded so sweet! We were introduced to the concept of the Gin Explorer, a monthly subscription box which provides you with exclusive gin miniatures each month, accompanied by tonic waters and the perfect accompanying snacks. Subscription boxes are all the rage at the moment but I can’t think of a better one than one full of gin. If you’re a gin lover, then the Gin Festival is definitely the one for you and I 100% recommend that you check it out when it visits a city near you, it is the perfect way to spend a cold, winter-y weekend. The event is very much affordable and really does have something for everyone: I know for a fact that I’ll be back again next time to sample some more amazing drinks!
For information on where to find Gin Festivals wherever you are, check out Eat Drink Seek here.