Allie was our guest blogger for the first Gin Festival of 2017. What did she make of Gin Festival London?
On Friday 17th February I was invited down to the London Gin Festival held in the Tobacco Dock. I arrived a little after the start of the event with my good friend Sarah, ready and raring to dive into what seemed to be an exciting buzz of gin fuelled guests wandering around the carefully mapped festival. After being handed two gorgeous balloon glasses (which we actually got to keep) and a handbook, we started our gin journey.
Photography: Allie Smith
Like a well-oiled machine, the festival had a notably fluid layout - which actually seemed to help with any overcrowding in one area. The areas consisted of a hall to buy your credits to spend on the drinks, a food hall, a gin area in which you could meet the brand’s representatives, learn about the gin and buy some to take home of course. There also was a seating area which had a few brilliant and lively music acts play outside and then, of course, my two favourite rooms; the cocktail room and the gin room.
Photography: Allie Smith
’m a cocktail fiend, if there’s a cocktail area, I’m naturally drawn to it, so to find a dedicated room to gin cocktails was my dream situation. The area was buzzing, with low lighting, heaters and, of course, a wonderful bar filled with friendly and incredibly knowledgeable mixologists. Whilst the cocktails will set you back two tokens, I honestly can tell you that they are worth it. My gin cocktails of choice were the Rhubarb Rumble, which used the delicious Edinburgh Rhubarb and Ginger, and my favourite, the Blood Red Snapper - if you’re a Bloody Mary sort of person, this one’s for you. Something that will really stick with my about this festival is how keen the bartenders and mixologists were to inform you about the backgrounds of the gins, recommendations and so much more. I definitely feel like I’ve learnt a hell of a lot just from that one evening!
There were so many highlights for me at Gin Festival London, firstly the general atmosphere was fantastic. It was wonderful to see so many cheerful faces, enjoying themselves buzzing around the venue. The interaction between staff and guests was also such a brilliant sight to see. From the amount of effort they put into creating a wonderful event to the friendliness they showed on the evening, it was all really refreshing.
Another highlight was the share of gin knowledge which every brand and bartender bestowed upon the audiences. It can be quite a daunting subject when you’re used to your local stocking only two types of gin but the event did well to educate and inspire me to learn more about what I drink. Also, the handy Gin Handbook was a great idea, no awkwardly trying to view a bar menu, you simply picked your gin from the book based on what you liked and the bartender garnished it and recommended a tonic. Perfect!
I came away from the event with so many gins that I am keen to try more of. Personally, I loved the Edinburgh Rhubarb and Ginger, it’s tangy yet sweet and exactly what I need more of in my life. Also, I love the Black Tomato - I’ve tried it before but it’s still delicious and perfection in a Bloody Red Snapper. Also I have fallen for the Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic, what a treat - It was fun to try all of the different tonics rather than just going for the old slimline!
I would recommend this event to anybody who slightly likes gin. Honestly, I only really started to like gin within the last year and it was really eye opening to try such a wide variety of gins. It also felt great to support smaller companies both local and international - there’s so many different tastes and options available, even if you’re not the biggest fan of gin at the moment, after attending this event you are sure to find one to suit your taste. It’s a great atmosphere, fantastic value for money and essentially a great way to relax and enjoy an evening but also get a little something back too.
Once again I would like to thank The Gin Festival for having me, It’s really opened my eyes in terms of what’s available on the market. After what I learnt on the night I will be sure to be purchasing my next gins through the Gin Festival website and I will be 100% be returning again in the future.
Photography: Allie Smith
Allie Smith is the blogger behind Rush + Teal, a lifestyle and fashion blog based in London. When not blogging Allie can be found having brunch, locating the nearest happy hour or spending time with her pygmy hedgehog. As a mature student of fashion marketing she spends a good chunk of time exploring the cities exhibitions, events and festivals - all in the name of research of course. Tipple of choice? Gin and Rose Lemonade, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
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