Friday, 31 March 2017

Gin Festival Review

I’m not going to say gin is my life, but if I had to take 3 things to a desert island gin would probably make the cut. Ok, it would make all three places and I may sneak in a fourth bottle. So when I heard that a gin festival was coming to town, that’s right, a festival for gin, then naturally I had to go.

Here’s a bit of info on what the gin festival is, where it is, prices etc.

  • Where? - I went to the one in Manchester but they are all over the place. Nottingham, Torquay, Bournemouth, Leeds, Liverpool, Oxford, London, Birmingham and many more.
  • When? - The Manchester one ends on the 2nd April but they’re touring the country up until the 10th September.
  • Entry Price? - Depends where you are but somewhere around £10-£15 for a ticket.
  • Drink Price? - You buy tokens at the token booth which are £5 each. Gin was one token but the cocktails were two tokens.

Okay so now the whats and the where’s are out of the way, let’s talk about the actual festival itself. Firstly, the Manchester one was set in the b-e-a-utiful building called Victoria Baths near Fallowfields, which is an old swimming baths. The food court and the gin tasting areas were in the swimming pool and there were lots of changing room stalls all along the sides where you could stop to eat and have a swig of gin or just enjoy the general good atmosphere. It was all so hipster, top marks for venue.

It just so happened to coincide with Manchester's first sunny weekend in about a million years, so my spirits were high even before I consumed the numerous gins. You get a sort of gin guide book when you arrive, which lists all of the gins available and gives a little back story of them. This was particularly useful. I like trying new gins and living in Manchester has allowed me to try a decent amount. But there was a big selection with plenty of new ones I hadn’t heard of before. One that caught my eye was the Isjford gin. This is made using water from icebergs that have broken for the Greenland Ice Cap. How can you resist that?

As I said earlier it’s a token system. You pay for your tokens at the booth and then use them to get your drinks. What I did like about this is that you pick the gin you want and then you get your choice of tonics. The gin guide book recommends which ones go with each gin, very useful. And the staff are knowledgable and happy to help. But ultimately it is up to you and there is plenty of different flavours to choose from. Also big bonus…they were fever tree tonics! This is one of my favourite tonics to go with gin, I just think it compliments it so well. You can really tell the difference between a cheaper brand tonic and pricier ones like fever tree tonic, the taste is so much better.

Overall I thought it was the perfect weekend activity. There was a lot going on to keep you entertained for a good few hours. The venue was beautiful, the staff were friendly, the gin was on point. And at the end of it all you get to keep your gin glass (at least I think you were allowed to)! Gins were a bit on the pricey side at £5 a pop but these days you pay similar to that in most bars. At least here you’re getting to try something new and probably rare to find. I guess the only thing I would have liked in the Manchester one was an outdoor seating area. As I said it was quite a nice day but everything was indoors. But with Manchester being know as the rainy city I can see why they made that decision! It’d be good to go with your partner or a group of friends, as a day out or as part of pre-drinks, I felt pretty merry by the end I can tell you! So all in all I would, and have, highly recommend this for a day out. I will definitely be visiting this again next year. Or maybe this year but in a different city.

Disclaimer: The tickets and drink tokens were free of charge but my views and opinions are, as always, my own. 


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