Last weekend, Blackfriar’s in Gloucester was lucky enough to host UK’s original, biggest and best gin festival.
Gin has come a long way since the days it got the name ‘mother’s ruin’. It’s now one of the most popular spirits that works great in cocktails, straight or with a tonic. Gin makers are experimenting with all sorts of concoctions so it’s an exciting time for gin lovers. Better yet, you can adapt it yourself at home.
The festival was created by husband and wife team Jym and Marie Harris in 2012 when they realised there was no festival that reflected their own passion for gin, so they started one themselves. Gin Festival continues to grow and now hosts events all over the UK for 4000 people over two days.
James and I were chuffed to be invited along to the festival, meet fellow gin lovers and hopefully find ourselves a new favourite gin.
Blackfriars is in the centre of Gloucester, so we hopped on a train from Cheltenham and arrived early to beat the queue.
On arrival we were given a Gin Festival.com iconic copa glass to use around the festival which we could then take home; along with a booklet of all the gins on offer.
There were lots of areas to check out, we arrived in the main hall so it made sense to start there. Tables were lined up with a large collection of gins hung up behind them; along with either the letter A, B, C or D – which when referring to The Gin Book above helped locate the gin we liked the sound of.
We decided on a couple of gins and the staff were on hand to suggest what tonic water would really enhance the flavour of the gin and compliment it the best.
There was a table full of all the various flavours that you could pick up for free.
Once we’d filled our glasses, we went to have a look around the other areas with the help of these signs dotted around the venue.
We went to the other side of the building where we found a handful of brands that were offering out tasters of the fine tipple.
We tried a Damson gin by the guys at 6 o’clock and it was delicious, easily enjoyed straight or with the ginger ale tonic.
If you were more into your cocktails, there was a cocktail bar just off the brands room – where the bartenders were shaking up some fun remedies.
If you fancied being a little more educated about how to take your gin, there were even masterclasses free to attend.
The venue had a lovely courtyard in the centre that basked in the evening sun. There were chairs, tables, blankets etc for you to relax with your gin and peruse through the booklet over what to try next.
There was also a food stall with some small tapas type dishes to accompany your beverage that we were more than happy to take advantage of.
Back inside there were stalls selling all sorts of gin flavoured goodies including jams, chutneys and even candles.
There really is something for everyone – it’s a great opportunity to discover how dynamic gin can be. So if you get the chance to go, sample plenty, take a masterclass and balance it all out with some tasty tapas!
To find out more visit the website here.