It’s no secret that both Dr C and I love gin. In fact Facebook tells me that we’ve gone to the Gin Festival in Manchester many times together over the years. Sadly this year I wasn’t able to make it so Dr C dragged her boyfriend along with her for a day filled with gin and laughs.
Over to Dr C… The Gin Festival in Manchester takes place at Victoria Baths. A beautiful old Edwardian swimming pool, guaranteed to give you some swoon worthy Instagram pictures! If you’ve not been to a Gin Festival before I’ll give you the low down on what to expect.
What to Expect at a Gin Festival…
You’ll get a gin Copa glass (yours to take home with you), a booklet describing all of the gins on offer and a top up wristband which you use to pay for your drinks. Then the gin world is your oyster. If like my boyfriend you’re a bit of a vir-GIN when it comes to gins that don’t come in a dark green bottle. Then the Gin Festival is the ideal place to try a range and find your new favourite tipple. Each gin is served with its perfect garnish and accompanying tonic. Gins are priced at £5, with some premium craft gins being £6 and cocktails being £10.
What Happens at a Gin Festival… (Aside from Drinking Gin)
As well as buying gins to drink, there are plenty of testers on offer and this year in the brand hall. We were treated to tasters and expert product knowledge from Brockmans (who we love here at Miss Pond – Press For Gin and Venison Stew). As well as Kuro Gin, Williams Chase Gin, Tinker Gin, Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin (a new favourite of mine!), Slingsby and PJ Gin. As if that wasn’t enough all of these brands also host masterclasses throughout the day. In these you’ll learn all about the history of gin and all about the brands themselves, as well as a few cheeky testers and prizes.
One thing that was a little bit of shock for me this year was the move away from FeverTree tonics to exclusively using Schweppes tonics. I can happily say that I’m a bit of a convert. Schweppes have released a new range of premium mixers. Their 1783 range includes a range of flavours guaranteed to suit most gins. I loved the Salty Lemon Tonic water and the Light Tonic water. I’ll be looking out for them in the shops! There are also food stalls at the festival, but we didn’t check these out as we filled up on delicious Northern Soul grilled cheese before the event!
What We Drank…
We made a pact on the day to not buy any gins that either of us had tried before, which thankfully is quite easy when you come to the Gin Festival! I started off with the Aduro Bell Pepper Gin from Italy and my other half went with the Orkney Rhubarb Old Tom Gin from Scotland. The Aduro was delicious and completely to my taste, it was savoury and spicy and reminded me of the Makar gin perfect serve!
I’m not a big fan of sweet gins, however, the Orkney Rhubarb served with ginger ale was really truly delicious! Next up was the Sikkim Privee Gin from Spain for me and the Persie Sweet & Nutty Old Tom Gin from Scotland for Dan. I’ve had the a few of the Sikkim gins before, but I hadn’t tried the Privee before. It has a red tea base and is served with orange – it reminds me of Earl Grey tea and is delicious! I can’t personally comment on the taste of the Persie gin as it was drunk so quickly by Dan that I can only assume it was wonderful!
Lastly we went with the Gin David from Italy and the Peurto de Indias Stawberry Gin from Spain. Firstly the Gin David bottle is wonderful, honestly click on that link there and have a look! It was smooth and zesty and floral and reminded me of the smells and tastes of Tuscany – a winner for me! The Peurtos de Indias Strawberry Gin was surprisingly delicious, not overly sweet and definitely one I’d try again!
So How Can You Check Out a Gin Festival?
If you like the sound of all of this then the good news is that Gin Festival are doing it all over again from Thursday 29th March to Sunday 1st of April. There are tickets still available for everything apart from the Saturday afternoon session. We had a really great time and now that I’ve opened up the world of gin to my boyfriend I’m hoping we’ll pick up some tickets for the Leeds event in June!
Have you been to a Gin Festival before? Would you check it out? Let me know in the comments,
P.S. Dr C was invited down to Manchester Gin Festival as press. As ever all words, photos and opinions are her own.
P.P.S. Manchester Gin Festival is located at Victoria Baths Hathersage Rd, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester M13 0FE.