At the weekend I was invited to the Nottingham Gin Festival at the Nottingham Conference Centre in the center of town. I am a complete novice when it comes to drinking Gin so I was both excited and a little worried that I wouldn’t find anything to suit my taste.
I had spoken to a few gin lovers beforehand to get some advice on what to try and so had an idea of what was the best sort of thing to go for, but I needn’t have worried because with a vast menu there was something for everyone.
My husband loves gin and has tried many, so he knew what he wanted to go for. Plus, as a seasoned Beer Festival goer he knew the drill too when it came to what happens at a festival such as this.
On arrival you are given a rather beautiful glass to use at the festival, you also get to take this home as a memento of your day. You are given a badge, should you need to go outside, a gin book, which tells you all about the different gins and which tonics to pair them with, as well as a pen to make notes in, so you can go back and see which ones you liked.
Once inside, we headed straight to the brand area, where a few of the brands were showing off their gins, with little tasters as well as explaining the story behind the brand.
We started with Masons Gin, I was drawn to this stand mostly because of the Yorkshire Tea gin, I mean, what better place to start my gin journey than one that had been mixed with my other favourite drink.
Also offering samples in the brand area were Adnams, Pinkster, Robin of Locksley and Brockmans, whose gin was the most unique out of the many we tasted on the day.
After we’d had a few tasters in the brand area, including a little taste of one of the cocktails, we headed back to the main bar area, there were some wonderful bands playing throughout the festival and it was nice to have some gentle music in the background.
To make the most of the experience, my husband and I shared the gins. We started off with Blackwoods Vintage 60% and Masons. Having not really drunk gin before, there were a lot of new tastes and the range of Fever Tree tonics really complemented these.
Next up, we tried the Tarquin Single Estate Cornish Tea Limited Edition and Gin Mare. These contained some of the more outlandish garnishes, with the Hibiscus Flower served in the Tarquin Gin adding an element of the theatrical by turning the drink pink.
We then made our way to the masterclass area to watch the presentation by Masons and I am very glad we did. Sophie, who was there representing them was full of information about the whole Gin history. I even learnt a few things, it was a great way to find out more about the drink that this event was all about.
At this point in the afternoon, we decided to grab a couple of cocktails, the waitress talked us through the menu and we had a chat about the different gins available. I chose a Drunken Tulip, which was Fords Gin with Prosecco, pomegranate juice, elderflower and fresh lemon, it was a really fresh drink and perfect for summer. We also started to get a little peckish, so we grabbed some very tasty Corkers crisps from the tuck shop, a great idea for those wanting something to nibble on with their drink. It also served nuts, popcorn, crisps, olives and more.
Following on from the cocktails and crisps we tried a Silent Pool and Sipsmith VJOP. The Sipsmith gin is 57.7% Abv, which makes it one of the stronger gins at the festival. It was very tasty and surprisingly smooth for the strength.
And finally, we had a Whitley Neill and Bathtub Old Tom, now having tried a rum from the makers of the Old Tom we had hoped for good things and we weren’t disappointed. It was a real treat and the bottle is just as fantastic as the taste.
The festival was now winding down until the evening session, it had been a quiet afternoon and not at all as busy as I’d expected. The large conference centre offering ample room for the sold out session. It made it feel less rushed than I’d imagined.
Finally we stopped to chat to the ladies at the Gin Explorer stand, a monthly gin subscription which sounds perfect for a few members of our family and maybe now even me, the perfect way to try different gins direct to your door.
Overall I had a fantastic time at the Gin Festival and both my husband and I left with a new found love of Gin and are ready to stock up on a few of our favourites for summer.
Ellie is a Nottingham based blogger with a newfound love of gin. Over on her blog, The Mummy Diary, she shares her adventures with two young children. Covering everything from days out to craft, baking and lifestyle. Aside from blogging she loves photography, chocolate and collecting vintage pieces for her home.
Homemade syrups are a great way to add your favourite flavours to drinks, both boozy and not. Get started with this simple guide to making your own syrup.
One of the most intimidating, but rewarding, things a gin lover can learn is to how to taste gin properly.
We’re delighted to interview Duncan Fox from Sly Gin about Sly Gin Lemon Verbena, one of the most exciting new gins we’ve added to our gin shop and events.
In this interview with Tom Williams from Barcelona Spirits we discussed their innovative range of 4 New Western-style gins, 5th Gin.