Gloucester Gin Festival 2017
Having had such an enjoyable time at Gloucester Gin Festival last year, I avidly followed Gin Festival’s social media channels, waiting for details of the event this year. Tickets were purchased as soon as they were released, a babysitter booked and the 17th June 2017 down in the calendar so as not to become double-booked. On the day of Gin Festival, Rich commented on how much he was looking forward to spending some time together at the event, and how the gins were “a bonus”. I smiled and nodded. However, how could over 100 of the best craft gins around be merely “a bonus”?
If, like Rich, you “like” gin, then you will enjoy Gin Festival. There are gins to suit all tastes, cocktails, good food and a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. If, like me, you actually love gin, then Gin Festival really is the highlight of the year. Obviously there are “all the gins”, but each gin is served to you with its recommended garnish, with your choice of 9 premium Fever-Tree tonics. In the year since the last Gloucester Gin Festival, I have had lots of time discovering new gins. Before the festival, I downloaded the current “Gin Explorer Book” to get a headstart planning which gins to try.
I was immediately drawn to Swedish gin, Ragnarok which was served with dill and lemon. With plenty of ice in my copa glass and a good measure of Fever-Tree Indian Tonic, it was a great gin to start the evening. Even better, with the wonderfully warm weather we had over the weekend, it was best enjoyed outside in the grassy courtyard of the beautiful Blackfriars building.
As I said previously, there were over one hundred gins to try and something to suit all tastes. I also enjoyed Blackwoods Vintage Dry 60, Raisthorpe Manor Oak Aged, Poetic License Northern Dry and Siderit Ginger Lime during the evening. All very different from each other. Gin Festival gives you the opportunity to try all these wonderful gins that you would struggle to find in most bars.
At Gin Festival, you can also enjoy some of these gins in cocktails if you want something a bit more than a G&T. Last year I was too busy drinking my way through as many of the gins available at the bars to be able to try any of these. This year, I didn’t want to miss out. I exchanged two of my bar vouchers for a “Tipsy Rocket” which was made with Adnams Copperhouse gin, apple juice, crème de cassis, lemon juice and prosecco. It made a lovely change to a G&T.
Once again, there was some great food on offer this year. The Spanish tapas-style food smelt delicious but we opted for Chinese steamed bao buns with a side of deliciously salted chips to put us in the mood for some more ice-cold gin.
For the gin enthusiast, there are also brands available to chat to and sample some of their gins. I was able to try some of 6 O’clock Gin’s Brunel Edition which won’t be available to buy for another month yet, and Cotswolds Distillery’s 1616 Barrel Aged Gin is definitely on my “to buy” list. I particularly enjoyed talking to Bernadette of Tinker Gin. This was a gin which was produced by Gin Festival founders Jym and Marie Harris and has been able to be produced through crowd-funding. I am particularly proud to have been one of the backers as Tinker gin is really fantastic. We also attended the Tinker gin masterclass, where Bernadette took us through a bit of a history of gin and how Tinker gin came about – and of course gave out a few more samples!
As the evening drew to a close, we realised we still had a couple of bar vouchers left but there was not enough time to enjoy a final gin AND catch the last bus. Thankfully, Gin Festival had the answer, and provided a little jar of our choice of gin to take home. Once I was back, I was able to enjoy my William Chase Seville Orange Gin on my sofa and start to reminisce about what a wonderful evening I had had.
Disclaimer: Having bought my ticket for Gin Festival Gloucester, I was provided with some bar vouchers to sample a few of the gins available on the evening. As always, all thoughts and opinions remain my own. I can thoroughly recommend Gin Festival and will definitely be attending another one!