There are few moments in life where two words go together as succinctly as ‘Gin Festival’ (close second is ‘free buffet’). On hearing them spout from the mouth of my ol’ uni chum Sophie, I signed myself up on the spot. I imagined gin fountains, musicians playing jaunty tunes on pipes fashioned from bottles of Tanqueray and mini packs of tissues strewn all over for involuntary breakouts of gin tears. In reality, it was just a shit ton of gin in a swanky ballroom. Basically, it was great. Held at De Grey Rooms (actual real name, not trying to be Jamaican) in York, we were met by a jovial chap who set out the agenda and presented us with some beautiful gin goblets. We purchased a drinks card for £20 each that gave us access to 5 drinks from a selection of around 100. ‘Oh, we’ll probably be back for more!’ we mused, scoffing at the sheer assumption that we’d only drink five. Yet after gin samples (where they expected you to drink the gin STRAIGHT by the way – last time I did that I genuinely forgot my name) and gin based lectures, we found the 5 drinks somewhat of a challenge. My favourite gin of the eve had to be Brockmans, though this is probably due to the huge amounts they poured down my throat at their lecture. Yet served with some Fevertree elderflower tonic and garnished with blueberries (fancy), I don’t know how it’s possible for anyone not to love it. The fella hosting the tutorial made me laugh as he kept saying things like ‘when you get home from work and pour yourself a gin to watch Emmerdale…’ I hadn’t before realised that this sort of thing was even socially acceptable! Think of all the gin time I’ve wasted! Sophie was rather taken with a spicy number called Opihr which she purchased an ENTIRE BOTTLE OF (gin dedication) to be drunk specifically with the Hollyoaks omnibus in mind.
Overall, it was a bloody good eve and I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a penchant for gin looking to do something different. Our tickets cost £6 which teamed with the £20 drinks price can sound a lot, yet with freebies included, I’d say £26 for 8 gin and tonics and a fancy glass is pretty good fare! Just make sure you do all the lectures and speak to all the vendors.
If you’re interested in attending a Gin Festival, there’s a fair few coming up (Leeds, Newcastle, Hull & more) and my experience is to book soon as the York event sold out pretty quickly. ALSO – I’d just like to say that I’m not being forced to say any of this. I JUST BLOODY LOVED IT, OKAY?!
Once it had finished, Sophie and I headed back to hers feeling a little (a lot) tipsy for a night of quaffing prosecco in our new goblets (sacrilege!) and falling asleep watching Mulan. The best news from all of this is that there was NO HANGOVER the next day which I can only imagine is because we were drinking premium spirits, allowing us to enjoy the most delicious pancakes from Bistro Guy and even check out the sights. Isn’t York lovely, eh?
What’s your tipple of choice? Does a gin festival fill you with as much excitement as it did for me?