It’s really no secret that my tipple of choice is a good gin. So when I got a PR email asking me to come along to The Gin Festival obviously I said yes. I mean, it’s basically research, isn’t it?
The event returned to Nottingham’s Conference Centre for the second time this year at the end of November. With three sessions over a weekend to choose from, we opted for what turned out to be a wonderfully chilled Sunday afternoon session.
On arrival, you pick up your Gin Festival balloon glass and The Gin Book to help you pick your poison. The book is really useful with lots of information about each individual gin, which bar you can order them from and the recommended garnishes. Gins were available from four different bars, split into British, exotic and flavoured gins, as well as cocktails. Ali and I tried two gins each and naturally, sampled each other’s choices too.
Cuckoo Gin (43%) is from a distillery in Lancashire and is a light and classic gin with a hint of citrus. The juniper in this gin combines with the citrus and cinnamon notes giving a slightly peppery finish.
Zymugorium Manchester Marmalade (40%) was my personal favourite from the day. Described as providing a ‘total sensory experience’ in the Gin Festival guide, it tasted very much like marmalade in liquid form. Tangy tangerine flavours were softened by a hint of vanilla, and when combined with tonic I couldn’t get enough of this gin. I’ll certainly be getting a bottle to have at home!
Edinburgh Rhubarb and Ginger Gin Liqueur (20%) is one I’d tried before, but Ali hadn’t. Not as strong as a full-bodied gin but just as tasty. If you like rhubarb you’ll definitely like this, though it’s not tangy at all. A nice smooth taste which is easy to round off the day. As a bonus this gin is readily available so would be a great present for a gin lover!
Gotik (40%) was easily the most unusual gin of the day. To be fair this was probably to be expected as we ordered it from the ‘exotic’ bar! Coming from the Ribatejo Region of Portugal this gin has a distinctive spicy flavour thanks to an unusual combination of botanicals.
THE OTHER BITS
This year’s festival used a contactless payment system which made things incredibly easy. You simply top up a wristband at the payment stand, and swiped it each time you got a drink – easy!
While chatting with the barmen on the cocktail bar, we quickly realised we’d picked the ideal session for us. It sounded as though the Saturday session had been twice as busy. Our Sunday afternoon session was still busy, but we didn’t have to queue for long and had no issues finding somewhere to sit.
Live music filled the venue for the afternoon, and there is the chance to attend masterclasses from various distilleries throughout the day.
In the Two Birds masterclass, we were taught what makes a London Dry just that. We were also taught the differences between London Dry and other types of gin like Old Tom – so it was an educational day too!
One last thing of note was that The Gin Festival were not giving out straws to help reduce waste. As I’m currently trying to move towards a more sustainable lifestyle I was very happy to see this. Good effort team!
All in all, we had a fantastic time at The Gin Festival. See you in 2018!