Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Gin Festival Edinburgh 2016.*


Prior to this weekend, I've probably only tried about four brands of gin in my life. I very much enjoyed them, but I would definitely have considered myself a gin newbie. So when I was invited to attend the Gin Festival at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, I was very excited to find out more about the stuff once known as mother's ruin!
(Apologies in advance for the blurry photos - I'd like to say that it's due to the event being fairly dark, but I don't think the gin helped...)


The Gin Festival is the brainchild of husband and wife co-founders Jym and Marie, and is their solution to their disappointment that there wasn't enough knowledge or variety in the gin bars and events they had attended. The Festival tours around the U.K. regularly - there are still seven events scheduled before the end of the year - so you're sure to find one local to you.


Apparently I'm the last person on earth to have heard of the Gin Festival, as not only have some London-based friends of mine attended before, but the place was absolutely packed. In fact at least 3 of the 4 sessions this weekend have been sold out for weeks. I'll admit it, I had no idea gin was such a popular tipple, but after less than an hour at the Festival I could see why it was so busy.

Upon arrival you are given all the essentials: a gorgeous Gin Festival balloon glass, a badge indicating your session so you can come and go as you please, the 'Gin Book' which has details of all 100+ gins on offer at the event, and a pen to take notes with. The idea is you keep hold of your glass all day, filling it up with tasty gins from around the Festival, and then you take it home with you. I loved this - it felt so much more personal than just using plastic cups or normal glasses, and the glass itself is a gorgeous souvenir! 


The bars inside the main hall were handily split up: bars A & B contained gins from the U.K., bar C was for international brands, bar D had all the sloe and flavoured gins, and as we were in Scotland this event had an extra bar - bar E which was for the Scottish gins. The bars use tokens instead of cash: 4 tokens costs £20, a G&T was one token and a cocktail was 2 tokens. 


I was quite overwhelmed at the selection - not having much of a clue about gin I decided to take a few minutes to browse the Gin Book and see what caught my eye. I decided to start off with 5th Gin Water, as the bright turquoise colour really grabbed my attention. The bar staff were incredibly helpful throughout the afternoon, and told me what mixers and garnishes worked best for each drink, so with this I had Fever-Tree Indian Tonic and a garnish of juniper and cardamom. It was herbal, floral and so refreshing, so far away from any of the gins I'd tried before. 


Once I'd got the chance to get my bearings I realised how much they had going on inside the event! There was a cocktail bar serving six delicious-looking concoctions (I tried the Thorny Issue, and my guest tried the Drunken Tulip, both were heavenly), there was a tuck-shop selling snacks for the peckish, and for the truly hungry there were a couple of street food stands to choose from. In terms of entertainment there was live music, a photo booth, and a selfie machine. 


There was a side room where some of the brands had their own stalls, giving you the opportunity to discuss their products in more depth. I got to ask questions and find out how these gins were produced, as well as being introduced to brands I'd never heard of before. It really was a learning experience, and I now know what my favourite flavours are!


They also had masterclasses going on throughout the day, and we decided to attend one hosted by Pinksters. It was a really interesting talk about the history of gin, how the brand developed, how they make their product and what makes Pinksters unique. For someone like me who was completely new to the gin world, I really liked that I came away from the event having a better understanding of it - plus there was a chance to sample their gin which is always a bonus!


Over the course of the afternoon I also tried the Edinburgh Gin Raspberry Liqueur (sweet, fruity and delicious), the Pink 47 gin (crisp, strong and smooth) and the Sir Robin of Locksley which was probably my favourite of them all (I even drank it neat, which says a lot!). As I've already mentioned, I was really impressed with the knowledge of the bar staff at the event - they really knew what they were talking about and made excellent suggestions.


I was very impressed with how much thought and attention to detail had gone into the event - there was so much to see and do that it kept me busy the whole afternoon! I was even more impressed by the atmosphere. I've worked in bars and clubs for years, and honestly, drunk people scare me. This, however, just felt lovely and chilled out, everyone was there to have a good time and there was a really fun and friendly atmosphere throughout. 


I had an absolute ball at the Gin Festival, and I'm already looking forward to it coming back to Edinburgh. In the meantime I'm seriously considering signing up for their Gin Explorer subscription service, as the idea of having beautiful gins and mixers delivered to my door every month is incredibly tempting! 

Have you ever been to the Gin Festival, or would you attend one in the future?

Find the rest of my Blogtober posts here!
*I was invited to the Gin Festival in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own.
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15 comments

  1. Glad you had fun!!! I'm definitely considering the gin explorer box now too!

    Xx

    Http://www.fionnfionnfionn.com

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    1. I know, the boxes look so good! I may have to invest! xx

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  2. This sounds like so much fun! I'm not much of a gin fan but my best friend is so I'll definitely have to recommend Gin Fest to her ��

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    1. It was a really fun afternoon, I'd definitely recommend it. Plus eveni if you think you don't like gin the flavoured and sloe gins are hard to resist! Xx

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  3. It's always Gin O'clock somewhere! I wish I could attend something like this one day !

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    1. Keep an eye out cause I'm sure they'll be near you soon! It's a really fun day out 💗 Xx

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  4. This looks amazing! I love all the photography- it's making me want a cocktail RIGHT NOW! xx

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    1. Oh thank you! Yeah it was so much fun, the cocktails were absolutely amazing! I'd definitely recommend going along if you get the chance! xx

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  5. This looks like so much fun! I hate gin but everything looks so tasty! haha. Your photos are so on point! Xx

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    1. I think even the gin haters would like the cocktails at the very least! Thank you lovely :) xx

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  6. wooowww this looks SO cool! GREAT photos lovely !XX


    www.jessicabkennedy.co.uk

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    1. It was a lot of fun, I'm really excited to go again next year! And thank you! xx

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  7. No need to apologise for the quality of these photos at all, Beth! They all look great! This sounds like an absolutely sensational event - how lucky to be invited to go along! The raspberry liqueur gin sounds just delicious, I really need to try it! A Thorny Issue cocktail also sounds fab! Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Abbey ✨ www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

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    1. Oh Abbey thank you as always! You lil sweetheart. It was definitely a great way to spend an afternoon, and definitely try the raspberry liqueur gin if you get a chance! xx

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  8. It sounds like you had an amazing time and got loads of great photos :) x
    www.itsbethansblog.com

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