I’m fond of a G&T every now and then, so when I received an invite to the Gin Festival in Newcastle, boasting over 100 gins in one place, I had to go see what all the fuss was about. It just so happened I went along on World Gin Day, almost like I planned it…
Running from Thursday evening to Saturday night in Castlegate Newcastle, the afternoon and evening slots were packed with gin fiends, alongside your more casual gin drinkers too. Tickets are £7.50 each which includes your own souvenir glass to use for all your drinks on the night, handy.
From humble beginnings, founded by husband and wife, Jym and Mari Harris, The Gin Festival has really taken off, celebrating their passion for gin and showcasing a huge variety of flavours around the UK. With plenty more stops on its tour: Leeds, Edinburgh, Birmingham and London to name a few, there’s (hopefully) one near you that you can get along to and check out.
Welcomed in, we set off to study out gin book and pick out which flavours to try. First on my list was Pinkster, a dry gin from Cambridge produced with fresh raspberries. It’s also totally gluten-free! Garnished with mint and raspberries served with tonic, it was refreshing, smooth and alongside the slight hint of fruit, was a very subtle pink toned drink.
Next up was Masons, hailing from Yorkshire. Using Harrogate Spring Water and locally grown juniper they create their smooth gin. The pink grapefruit garnish gives a slight bitterness to the otherwise slightly herbal taste with notes of cardamom.
My favourite of the night had to be Zymurgorium Sweet Violet, from Manchester. This gin tastes like parma violets, with that strong violet aroma, subtle pink tone, sweet pastel flavour and a fizziness in your mouth. I could’ve easily gone back for a second, or third… They also do a rose gin liqueur which I quite fancy trying at some point.
The last gin I tried was Edinbugh Rhubarb & Ginger. Distilled in a 200 year old copper pot with tangy rhubarb and a spicy kick from ginger and lemon zest. This was served with soda water and an apple garnish, which certainly let the rhubarb tones take precedent, but for my own taste I’d probably mix with tonic.
With a range of masterclasses running and gin companies showcasing their flavours – and free samples, the likes of The Lakes Distillery, Locksley Distillery and Brockmans were more than happy to answer questions and chat to anyone, regardless of their gin knowledge. I popped along to try out Poetic Licence’s summer gin – strawberries and cream that was pre-mixed with elderflower tonic. A very pink, summery affair but definitely something I could see myself drinking enjoying the view of the sea from their terrace in Roker, Sunderland.
I’m no expert but I had a great night trying some new flavours and finding out which mixers go best with which gins. If the gin festival returns next year, I think I might just have to pop back.
Are you a gin fan?
A huge thank you to The Gin Festival for the invite and some tokens to use on the night. All photos and views are my own.