Anyone who has cast their eye over my Instagram page (@the.blonde.blog dontcha know) will probably have been able to pick up on the vibe that I’m a girl who enjoy a tipple of gin now and again! My previous post featuring The Mall Clifton Village Launch started the new Instagram hashtag #stylemygin after I was inspired by the various garnishes and tonic on show at the gintastic event (sponsored by Bulldog Gin). It’s perhaps then no surprise to hear that last year I went along to the annual Gin Festival in Bristol (surely the best kind of festival I hear you cry?!). After sampling the delights of over 100 varieties of speciality gin I was keen to take part again this year and as soon as I saw the @GinFestival Twitter feed abuzz with news of a repeat performance I knew I had to be there!
Taking place over the weekend of 11-13th May this was the third time The Gin Festival has visited Bristol and this year it had a change of venue. Relocated from Paintworks to The Station (a unique experience as the building is a remodelled fire station) meant that a whopping 3200 customers were able to head through the doors as part of the three day gin-fuelled event.
First launched in 2013 The Gin Festival has brought tens of thousands of gin enthusiasts together at a variety of locations across the country. With the opportunity to discover and sample gins from a selection of top craft distillers, take part in workshops and masterclasses led by experts or just soak up the atmosphere amongst fellow juniper lovers this is much more than your average evening at a gin bar.
I was greeted on arrival with a huge stemmed copa balloon gin glass (the broadness of the glass helps to lift the aroma of the botanicals whilst the stem helps to keep the gin cold), a Gin Festival badge (in case I needed to pop out from the event and return…who were they kidding…I wasn’t going anywhere!), and ‘The Gin Explorer Book’. This invaluable item contained all details about the gins that were available at the four bars inside the venue. Each gin is served with it’s own expertly matched garnish and tonic to enhance the ultimate gin experience. Flicking through this handy little book I was able to peruse the variety of different flavours in order to discover my ideal gin of choice. The knowledgeable bar staff would then serve your desired drink with the appropriate garnish and their recommendation for the best complimentary tonic (Fever-Tree was the tonic of choice for the event – and can I just say, the choice of flavours was superb, elderflower was my personal favourite!).
Adding to the atmosphere of the event there was also a gin cocktail bar, live music and a choice of food stalls. I was able to sample a delicious raspberry gin and tonic sorbet and a moreish rhubard crumble and custard gin sorbet courtesy of the Fluffy Puffin artisan ice cream stand (highly recommended if you spot the lovely owner Chris out and about a local event). Throughout the evening representatives from some of the distilleries were on hand to share the stories behind their creations and pass on their amazing craft knowledge. I learnt all about the recently launched Tinker gin from it’s expert Dan who described how this British based company has created a gin with a delicate Spanish twist with it’s softer, more rounded style. I also tasted samples of gins from other homegrown gin companies such as Brockmans, Black Tomato and The Cotswolds Distillery.
All in all I came away from the evening with a deeper understanding of the gin making process and the huge variety of flavours that can be fused together to create each unique flavour. Best of all, I was able to take home my souvenir copa glass so that I can use all that ginformation attempt to recreate the festival experience myself and #stylemygin!
Have you ever been to The Gin Festival? Do you have any favourite gin brands, garnishes or tonic that you would recommend for me to try? Let me know in the comments!
The Blonde x
*I was given a ticket to the festival by the lovely folk at The Gin Festival as part of this post. All opinions are my own and I only feature products or events that are fitting and in keeping with the tone and content of my blog or Instagram page.