I have just experienced the best festival – music? No. Food? No. Skiing? No – but that would be pretty cool. I have been to a Gin Festival and it was truly amazing. For gin lovers and non gin lovers alike – it’s definitely worth going to these events that are springing up all over the place.
I say non gin lovers too, because I firmly believe that there is at least one gin out there for everyone. Those who say they don’t like gin, just haven’t found the right one yet. Sometimes you have to kiss a few juniper frogs before you find your Gin Prince ….or Princess – so pucker up and start sipping.
What is it about Gin?
When I first tasted gin, there was very little choice – three big names at the most and virtually no choice in tonic. However, when the laws were challenged and changed regarding the legalities of how gin is made and more importantly, the quantity that is produced. The gin gates were opened and small batch juniper nectar flooded into the market.
We were in for a treat as small batch gin producers began experimenting with different botanicals, the flavours that accompany the juniper, to transform a very old drink into a clean and contemporary spirit oozing style and individuality.
Little by little, you would see new and unusual bottles of gin appearing on the shelves of bars, each with their own personality and story to tell. Gin has become a new taste sensation which is being embraced by every generation.
What can you expect from a gin festival?
You are probably thinking why do I need to visit a Gin Festival? Why can’t I just go to any old bar and have my own mini fest, or what about a specific Gin Bar? These venues are great too and you will be able to taste some lovely gins. However, there is definitely something different about tasting gin at a festival.
Armed with your very own gin glass, gin tokens and mini gin book giving you the who’s who of gin, you are let loose in the festival that creates a gin heaven beyond your wildest dreams. Where Willy Wonker’s chocolate factory meets Alice in Wonderland….. let your gin adventure begin.
A completely different venue
The venues are well chosen to allow enough people to attend to create a gin buzz but retaining the intimacy of a speak easy, resulting in a perfect gin festival cocktail. The venue is well organised and thoughtfully set out into sections for free samples, food, bar, cocktail bar, photo booth, separate shop, masterclass area, music stage and central seating – I felt like a child in a sweet shop.
Drinking gin with other gin lovers
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? That drinking in a venue with lots of other gin -minded people would make a difference – but it really does. Entering the main hall, you could feel the atmosphere – friendly yet lively with a chilled out yet exciting vibe. Thats what happens when you get a bunch of people together who are all individual, but all there for the same reason – to celebrate their love of gin.
The opportunity to try gins new to the market
This particular festival, not only celebrated UK gins but had also sourced some great gins from overseas which were a joy to savour. It was lovely to taste a few older gins but when you tasted gins new to the market, it made you feel very honoured to sample flavours which are cutting edge in the gin world. A bit like watching an up and coming band getting started, knowing that in a few years they will have an awesome following and you can say – oh yeh, I tasted that gin when it was just getting started.
Learn more about gin with master classes
Gin is a very complex drink with a chequered past and a stunning future so there is much to learn and what better way than from the Gin Inventors, themselves. Don’t worry, these master classes are far from old school and much more fun and upbeat so you leave feeling both entertained and wiser.
Buy your favourites there and then
Buy while the gin memories are firmly imprinted on your mind. If you leave a gin festival without buying a gin, you will regret it – believe me, you will. There is nothing nicer than finding that perfect gintastic flavour and being able to sample it long after the festival is over.
Enjoy the extras
A festival is a celebration and you can’t have a celebration without live music and food. Fortunately, those nice people at the Gin Festival know this only too well, so they make sure that some good live music is there to entertain, whilst always remembering that the gin is the star of this festival.
Find your perfect gin
As you taste more gins, you do find your favourites but you also develop a gin curiosity – searching for your next new flavour combination.
1. Choose your favourite style of Gin
From classic Jenever to New Western, with London Dry, Old Tom and liqueurs in between.
2. Sample the tastes
Gin can be divided into many different taste categories but try the famous four for starters.
Floral – light and delicate
Herbaceous – fresh and savoury
Citrus – zingy and cool
Spiced – aromatic and warm
3. Enhance with accompaniments
Gin needs to be in the right glass – long stemmed to keep it cool. Then add ice – enough but not too much – bigger cubes are better for longer lasting chilling.
The mixer is equally important as it makes up a vast quantity of the drink so don’t scrimp – choose a quality tonic. Or why not experiment with other mixers such as ginger ale – a G&G?
Finally the garnish – look to your Gin Inventor for best advice about what to add to enhance the drink rather than over power it.
4. Search, Sip and Savour
And now you are ready to boldly go where many have gone before, but where you are possibly going for the first time. To seek out new gins, new flavours and enjoy the genius of gin.
Want to know more?
Gin Festivals in the UK http://ginfestivalsuk.com
Would you like a tour of a distillery? Check out this blog for more information.
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