Have you ever been to the Gin Festival before? Either in Liverpool or another city? If not, then trust me when I say you’re missing out.
I was contacted by Laura from the Gin Festival to see if I wanted to come along and enjoy an evening of cocktails, G&T’s, live music and masterclasses and no surprise, straight away I said yes.
Before this night I wouldn’t call myself an avid Gin drinker, it’s not my go-to drink, however I think this is because I’ve only ever had a standard G&T, and I’ve now learnt that this isn’t the greatest way to drink Gin. The festival began in 2013 and was first held in Leeds. A husband and wife wanted to set up a festival for people to attend to find new gins, learn more about it and have a fab night too, and 4 years on this is exactly what the Gin Festival is doing.
This Summer is the 6th time the Gin Fest has come to Liverpool, and it’s the 6th time it has been held in the Crypts at the Metropolitan Cathedral in the City Centre. The Venue is one of the coolest event venues I’ve been to, cool for the fact that you’re underneath the cathedral and the high stone ceilings and stain glass windows create a fabulous atmosphere, but also really cool as the setting is totally unexpected for an alcohol infused festival.
Tokens for Gin
On your way in we were greeted by the lovely Lara, who talked us through how the festival worked, we were handed our Gin Festival Goblets (you get these with all tickets) and headed in the direction of the Token bar. All tokens are £5 each and you can buy as many as you like. Each drink you have made in your goblet is worth 1 token (£5), unless you head for a Gin Cocktail which are 2 tokens worth.
The token system is open all evening and you have to buy tokens to be able to buy a gin based drink, great idea really as there are so many Gins on offer and to make it a level playing field between all of them, they all retail at the same price.
What To Choose
Along with your goblet you’ll be given a booklet, which is essentially your Gin bible for the evening, every gin that is on offer at the festival is detailed in this book. The book is split into sections to make a gin that you’re after easy to find. There are UK Gins, European Gins & Liqueur Gins, and each of these has details along with it of what garnish it will be topped with and what tonic it should be mixed with.
In all honesty, I was looking for pretty bottles and cute garnishes because I had no idea what kind of drink I would like, I landed so lucky with the one I chose though, it was the Aduro Pink Passion Gin – very cute bottle, even cuter name, and even more delicious drink! This gin went perfectly with the Fever Tree Aromatic tonic water. Choosing the right tonic to off set the Gin is an important part in the drinking process, this is why so many people don’t like the classic G&T’s.
The Bar System
The bar system is a really cool and a well thought out aspect of the festival. There are 4 bars to order from depending on what drink you’ve chosen, as the bars are split in to where the gin is from and the style of it. Bars A & B stock British distilled gin, C stocks International gin and D stocks Fruity/Flavoured/Sloes & Liquors.
Your booklet will detail what bar to head to for your chosen gin.
There is also a 5th bar, located in the main hall and this is the cocktail bar. There are 6 cocktails to choose from & they make them up then and there for you. I love cocktails so I knew I had to try a gin based one, however me being me spotted the one that also contains Prosecco, so I had to get it.
Get sampling – be warned, they’re shots in disguise
If you’re still not sure though about what kind of gin you want, then you can always make your way along the sampling tables. Each table is hosted by an independent gin company and allows you to taste shot sized tipples of their gin. You can try as many as you like from each stand and there’s around 5 different stands, so pace yourself.
Liverpool Gin were there with their signature (blow your head off) Gin; as I call it, but were also showing off their Orange infused Gin and this was so tasty and refreshing. Both Poetic Licence and Brockmans Gin stood out to me as my favourite sampling tables. Poetic Licence is distilled in Sunderland and they create the delicious Strawberries and Cream Picnic Gin, this was probably my favourite, along with the Brockmans Blackberry Gin.
Become a master of Gin
A great part of the evening are the masterclasses you can attend. More often than not they are hosted by the stalls that have set up as the sampling tables. Liverpool Gin, Tinker, Poetic Licence and Brockmans all hosted a class, but we chose to attend the Brockmans talk. We loved the taste of the Gin and the time of the talk suited us. You learn the history of Gin, where the G&T came from and the rise in popularity of Gin over the years.
Then of course you learn about the brand itself. The Brockmans company sounds awesome to work for, they’re still only a small company after 10 years of being founded, are loved by Guy Ritchie & host the most amazing events, definitely visit the Brockmans site to read more about them.