Last weekend, I re-GIN-dled my love for a much-loved spirit.
Terrible puns aside, the Gin Festival at Bournemouth Pavilion was an absolute delight. The Ballroom was packed with a variety of sights and smells, with over 100 delectable premium gins to sample.
Armed with my trusty partner-in-crime Lisa, we ventured to the Festival on the Friday evening and we were not at all prepared for such an experience! We were kindly looked after by some very hospitable staff and we learnt all about the history of gin and some rather interesting flavour pairings. Oh, and we got to take home our beautiful glasses too!
The idea being that you purchase drinks tokens to exchange for your gin and then you choose which Fever-Tree mixer to pair it with (the sponsors of the evening). I opted for classic tonic water whereas Lisa preferred lemonade in her drinks.
My first choice was Pinkster, a dry London gin made with fresh raspberries. Garnished with a raspberry and a mint leaf, it had a very smooth sweet taste. Lisa opted for Silent Pool with lemonade and an orange garnish. It was also very fruity and had a floral, citrusy aftertaste.
Next we wandered over to the exhibitors of the night. Local Dorset brand Conker Spirit was very light, it didn’t have the burning aftertaste that some shots do and went down very smoothly. Next we spoke to James from the Locksley Distilling Company. They were serving their Sir Robin of Locksley Gin with elderflower tonic, which had a really nice blend and a taster of pink grapefruit.
Our absolute favourites of the night however were Brockmans from Langley. Their gin smelt delectable and got its jam-like sweetness from blackberries and blueberries. Mike from Brockmans told me that they are a brand about the ‘darker side’ of gin, hosting raunchy events and creating some questionable content online. In Mike’s gin masterclass, he told us the story of ‘Mr Gin’ and the creative process that inspired them to combine flavours for a gin you could enjoy over ice. I’ll be buying a bottle of Brockmans for my next night in with friends, that’s for sure!
At this point, musicians Holder & Smith took to the stage. Having performed magic tricks amongst the crowd, the duo played some great and fitting jazz and swing covers to liven up the party mood. Having had a delicious pulled pork roll made by the Pavilion’s in-house catering and a bit of a boogie to ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’, we then decided to enjoy some drinks outside overlooking the beautiful Bournemouth pier.
We opted for two Edinburgh Gin Liqueurs. Lisa had the Raspberry with lemonade and said it was her favourite as it tasted ‘like fizzy squash’. I had the Rhubarb and Ginger liqueur with tonic which was also really sweet with a great tangy aftertaste. This was my favourite too!
At the festival, you could also exchange two tokens for a choice cocktail. Lisa chose a ‘Rhubarb Rumble’ which combined Edinburgh Rhubarb and Ginger Gin Liqueur with Advocaat, apple juice and fresh lemon. We also got a rhubarb and custard sweet, which the cocktail tasted just like and Lisa said it reminded her of ‘her childhood in a drink’!
I too had a gin cocktail, a ‘Drunken Tulip’ made with Martin Miller’s Gin, Prosecco, pomegranate juice, elderflower cordial and fresh lemon. This was really refreshing and I joked that all the fresh, fruity flavour made it taste ‘almost healthy’…
We had a quick chat to the ladies from Gin Explorer too. They are a subscription service who send you 4 carefully chosen 50ml vials of different gins each month. We tried new Black Shuck gin there and the ladies very kindly gave me a code for £5 off your first order with them. Visit GinExplorer.com and use ‘PASSPORT‘.
We had a great time at Gin Festival and I’d recommend that you get tickets to an event near you soon.
Make a night of it!
Have you been to a Gin Festival?
What’s your favourite gin or gin cocktail?
Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.
* This post is a collaboration with Gin Festival.
For more information, see my disclaimers.
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