It's beGINning to look a lot like Christmas...
Ok, so I'm very much aware that my blog looks like some kind of shrine to gin at the moment. See here, or here. I promise you I do like other drinks. I will drink a vodka and coke when the mood strikes, maybe even a Malibu or a Bacardi on a special occasion. I drink wine, too. In my former years white and rose were drunk by the bottle and in my later years (now) I've started in on the red. But, if I'm being honest, I find nothing as refreshing or as drinkable as a Gin and Tonic.
Fortunately, other Scouse gin-lovers like myself get to meet up twice a year thanks to Gin Festival who bring together hundreds of different brands, styles, tastes and makers at their regular events across the country.
The Liverpool event is usually held in the Lutyens Crypt- a part of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Is there anything more Christmassy than week-night drinking inside a cathedral? Inside the enormous gin-temple you'll be given a balloon glass (apparently they keep the gin colder for longer- who knew?), a gin guide book and a fancy wristband to top up your cash on.
There's over 100 different types of gin on offer so you'll want to keep that guide book handy. In my normal, obsessively organised manner I made sure to choose one from each of the four bars so I could sample a range of home-grown British, International and Fruity gins. Choosing from then onwards though was a lot like picking a horse at the national- we just looked for the one with the best name/prettiest bottle and then hoped for the best.
Tonic is unlimited and provided by Fevertree and there's a huge range to choose from- your guide book or the bartenders will tell you which one will go best with your gin.
With a glass full from Cuckoo Gin and Cucumber Gin in hand we set off to one of the gin masterclasses designed to help you improve your drinking knowledge. We went to the Tinker Gin masterclass hosted by Dan to find out about 'Spanish style gin' which was an entertaining mix of interesting, hilarious and rowdy (and included 'free samples'-delicious).
More 'samples' are available throughout the venue so if you can handle a shot of the straight stuff you can fill your boots. We settled down in front of the band (there's live music, too) and went for 2 sweet options to finish the night- a pomegranate gin from Marula and some Rhubarb and Ginger Liqueur from Edinburgh Gin- easily my favourite of the ones we tasted.
All the bottles are available to buy on the night or for free home delivery if you're feeling too unsteady to carry them and there's a gift shop full of lots of gin-themed treats. (yep that is gin and tonic flavoured salted caramel).
Gin Festival is on across the country at different points of the year so keep your eyes peeled and your balloon glass ready for one near to you!