Last weekend saw the Gin Festival hit up London’s Tobacco Docks for three days of gin infused fun which saw a sold out crowd of people descend on South East London to do what us Brit’s do best; enjoy some alcohol.
Over the past few years’ Gin has had a massive boost in popularity with new distilleries popping up everywhere – including a number a few in London, heck there’s even the Gin Hotel in London. The idea before an alcohol based festival is great as it allows people to trial and taste gins’ which they may never have heard of, or may never have access to as some gin’s at the event are exclusives or brand new.
Once you’ve queued to get into the building you have to queue once again to receive your initial items including a branded gin glass which is yours for the event and a booklet on all of the gin’s on offer during the day. Fortunately, we were able to bypass the queue inside but if I went again I’d definitely turn up about 45 minutes- 1 hour after doors to avoid queuing.
The first thing which struck me when we entered was the wide array of people, initially I thought gin, due to its popularity and slightly hipster image would only attracted younger drinkers, but no there was such a variety of people and everyone seemed in high spirits *pun intended*. There were a number of rooms and areas where brands had set up stalls ready to showcase their brands of gin. One of my favourite things about the spirit is how diverse it can be, for example, you can get a really citrusy tasting gin and then a really dry, course gin. Taste wise they’re so different yet they’re both the same spirit due to the essential botanicals included within it.
The rooms did get understandably busy (especially at the beginning of the day) as the brands were explaining about what makes their gin unique and most were giving out free samples. The first gin that we tasted on the day – which also turned out to my other halves first EVER gin – was Tinker, a brand new Spanish-inspired gin which was only on batch number one. Regardless of what else we tried over the afternoon this still has to be my favourite and I am kind of gutted that I didn’t pick up a bottle of this as it had such a fresh citrus taste which wasn’t too sour or overpowering.
I’m not a huge fan of dry gins’ but I know my dad is so I tried a few in the hopes I could find an unusual new gin to bring him home. As well as the stands there are four bars’ each with a different type of gin including United Kingdom gin’s, International gin’s and liquors and other flavoured gin’s. Each bar was laid out fantastically with the bottles hanging behind and bottles upon bottles of Fever Tree tonic to enjoy alongside it. With the booklets provided, we were able to pick out what gin’s we wanted to try beforehand so we just went and ordered them complete with their recommended garnish. To purchase a gin with a tonic was £5 which for an event like this is really reasonable, and to speed up the time at the bars’ you purchased tokens at the entrance so you could just walk up to the bar and have your token crossed off.
The Festival has only been running for a few years’ but has already expanded throughout locations all across the UK and is the original, biggest and best gin festival around. Check out the rest of the dates here.