Admittedly I don’t drink very often but if do decide to have a tipple; I can appreciate a good gin. It’s light, clean-tasting and refreshing, especially with a quality tonic or mixer.
So when Gin Festival approached me to join them at their Swansea event, I thought why not! It would be great to try a few new gins with likeminded gin lovers.
Gin Festival is the original and biggest gin festival in the UK. They welcome everyone, from gin novices to connoisseurs to discover their wide assortment of gins, learn the history of the spirit and meet industry experts. The event was hosted over two days at the Brangwyn Hall, which was an ideal setting with its splendid architecture, beautiful ceilings and marble floors.
Accompanied by my boyfriend Phil, we went to the Saturday afternoon session. On arrival, we were given a large gin glass each which we could take home, an entry badge and “The Gin Book”, which stylishly listed all the gins available with a description on each one as well as garnish and mixer recommendations. It was an invaluable guide, particularly as it was my first gin festival and I wasn’t sure where to start.
To pay for drinks, you can purchase a four token card for £20 which you then use to claim your gin and tonic. A gin & mixer costs one token while a cocktail costs 2 tokens. The gins were separated into bars A and B (UK brands), bar C (international brands) and bar D (sloe and fruit gins).
Out of the gins, I had two favourites. The first one was Pinkster, a quirky gin made with only five botanicals and raspberries. It had a soft, fruity flavour which was deliciously dry but not overpowering. Not to mention that it was gorgeous pink colour. It paired well with Fever-Tree elderflower tonic and a fresh mint garnish. It’s also gluten free!
My other favourite gin was Masons which was smooth, full of flavour and easy to drink. I loved the lavender variety but the tea one was also delicious – it really captured the taste of tea! I found that Masons worked best with Fever-Tree Indian tonic which enhanced the freshness of the gin.
There were also masterclasses hosted by some of the gin brands, which were a great way to find out more about them. Seeing as I was partial to a spot of Pinkster, I attended their session which was informative but fun. Attendees even got more samples after the talk!
Although gin and tonic was the drink of day, I couldn’t resist trying a gin cocktail or two as they sounded wonderful. I opted for an English Garden and a Gin Bouquet while Phil went for the Drunken Tulip. They were a great way to round off the afternoon!
Overall, I really enjoyed the Gin Festival. I loved the calm and relaxed atmosphere, the huge choice of gins available and how friendly and approachable the industry experts were. So if you like a spot of gin in a chilled out environment, I’d highly recommend heading to a festival near you!