The Gin Festival: Just the Tonic
On Saturday afternoon we headed to the Gin Festival which has been held at Castlegate, Newcastle beginning Thursday 17th November until Saturday 19th November. The Gin Festival host events all over the country so we were super excited that they had chosen one of their event stops to be our great city Newcastle. At Nights out in Newcastle, they’re dedicated to finding what’s on in Newcastle and this is something I hope you haven’t missed out on!
Honestly, I’m not a massive Gin fan. I’ve had a few amazing gin but I wouldn’t run to the bar and Gin be my first choice. As I was handed my Press Pass I also opened my mind to the Gin culture, chatting to Laura, one of the organisers of the Gin Festival she talked about the four bars that had been set up specifically for the event. The first bar, named A was host to dry gins, Bar B was full of British gins, Bar C included a delightful selection of international Gins and finally Bar D was the home of fruit gins like your Sloe Gins.
As we opened the double doors we were greeted by twinkling fairy lights overhead and eager Gin goers mingling. Having no idea about gins we headed past the photo booth which was packed full of props and people having great fun to Bar A. Having pre-selected the gins we’d like to test we were suitably surprised by the Pinkster. This deliciously dry botanical blend was teamed with tonic water and garnished with mint and raspberry. The gluten-free juniper fusion was sweet yet strong and perfect for introducing us into the festival as novices.
Strolling around the festival, the room was absolutely jam packed, extremely taken by the glass presented to us upon arrival, which we were enjoying our drinks from, we headed past the stage where the band were warming up for beginning their set at 3pm.
We passed the Pinkster stand, who were vibrant and enjoying themselves suitably, chatted with the lovely Poetic License team where we tasted their Fireside Gin, just the perfect amount of Christmas spice after our day passing Fenwick’s window and Snowdog Spotting.
We then headed along to the Brockman’s stand where the bartender was absolutely faultless, he prepared me the best gin and tonic I’ve ever had in my entire life and my plus one a Brockman’s Blackberry Bramble based on her favourite spirits and flavours. This was without a doubt the standout Gin of the festival and rightly so, they were set apart by their attention to detail and their ability to understand the differences between their customer’s tastes.
As the band began playing, beginning with a jazz rendition of Dolly Parton’s classic, 9-5, a smile beamed upon my face (this is one of my favourite songs), we strolled past the ‘off license’ selling all the festival’s favourite gins and some memorabilia including slogan tees and gin and tonic ‘flavoured’ candles, sipping our Brockton’s we were thoroughly enjoying the atmosphere and the relaxed feeling alongside the eclectic crowd.
Finishing up our fantastic Brockman’s we headed to bar B and C where a Sir Robin of Locksley was paired with an Elderflower Tonic and Grapefruit garnish and a Pink Pepper with Tonic and Grapefruit garnish respectively were served. Enjoying classic tunes with a jazz twist we sipped on our gin and tonics as we tapped our feet in time to the beat.
Taking in the atmosphere, the mix of crowd and the fine gins on offer we headed finally to Bar D where we were greeted by a JJ Whitley Elderflower gin and tonic with lemon garnish. The favourite of the day, after the Brockman’s gin, of course, we finished our drinks, a little light headed we headed home. A massive round of applause to The Gin Festival, beautifully organised, and perfect for all tastes, an amazing and enjoyable afternoon was had by all, however after 5 strong drinks on a Saturday afternoon and endless tasters of other gins we were truly struggling and our photographs began to become even more angled than usual!
The Gin Festival comes highly recommended if it’s heading to a city near you! Don’t take your car and make sure you’ve an afternoon to sample over 100 different gins because you’ll struggle to make a choice with the fabulous brands and flavours on offer.
Harrogate – 9th-10th December
Liverpool – 16th-18th December
London – 17th-19th December
York – 24th-25th December
Glasgow – 3rd-5th March
Blackpool – 10th-11th March
Manchester – 24th-2nd April
Nottingham – 22nd-23rd April
Swansea – 28th-30th April
Bournemouth – 5th-6th May