When it comes to Gin you don’t have to ask me twice but feel free to make it a double. When the folks behind the Gin Festival asked if I wanted to come along for a gin-filled festive afternoon there was only one answer I could give - and I’m pretty sure it involved junipers!
Set up in the belly of Liverpools Metropolitan Cathedral, or, Paddys Wig Wam as we call it, the Gin festival took over Lutyans Crypt. Considering I’m a scouter born and bread and live 2 minutes away from the Cathedral, I have never been inside the crypts before - so much so that it took me 20 minutes and a lovely tour of the Cathedral grounds to find the entrance *fail*.
We made, it, we found ourselves going deep down under the city streets, where a balloon glass and hundreds of gins where waiting for us. I’d took my Gin-virgin bestie along in a bid to convert her to the wonders of fusions, flavours and botanicals.
With 100 gins behind the bar, cocktails, gin infused hot chocolate and a variety of mulled gins, all served up with a variety of FeverTree tonics, hot food, snacks and live music, it was going to be an afternoon to remember (or try to depending on how many we managed to get through!). After checking our coats we did a quick lap of the main bar-room. The gin bars are split into individually lettered bars, and each letter corresponds with pages in you gin book, the bible of the day, so you know exactly which bar will have the gins you want to try. There was a couple of brand reps set up too including Pinkster, Locksley Distilling Co and Poetic Justice. HUGE thanks goes out to these reps who were quite literally throwing shots of gin at me to try - and who was I to say no? But enough of the samples…I was ready for something much bigger.
First up, Ely Chocolate Orange (30%), an exclusive at the festival, this liquor was spectacular! Served with a Fevertree indian tonic water, it went down a treat! I love chocolate orange and this had a lovely citrus aftertaste that just really hit the spot.
Zymurgorium Sweet Violet (19%) was easily the most magical and profound tasting gin I have ever had the pleasure of tasting! When I was a kid I was obsessed with Parma Violets, a friend of the family would buy me dozens of packs at Christmas - and this drink brought back all of the sweet violet memories and more! Drank neat, it was pure pastel flavour, but mixed with FeverTree lemonade, it had a much more drawn out, subtle flavour.
It was at this point we found ourselves at the Striped Pig for a food stop - hog roast with melted cheese on a toasted brioche bun and a side of pork scratchings! Oh. OH! Was this good! The meat was so juicy and the pork scratchings were like nothing I have ever tasted before - crunch on the outside but not the break-your-teeth kind, with a chewy centre! Amazing!
Food finished. Back to the gin. Catching a couple more samples on our way back into the bar room too, I mean it would have been rude not to!
Tarquin’s Single Estate Cornish Tea Gin Ltd. Edition (47%). Another exclusive to the festival, so I just had to try it. A limited edition batch using locally grown Tregothnan tea, and paired with a Fevertree Indian Tonic, this gin was amazing. So smooth with no dry aftertaste that is commonly associated with gin. Plus I’m a sucker for anything that’s limited edition.
We took some time out to explore the store where every bottle on tap could actually be bought and taken home - trust me, I could have come home with about 3 or 4 bottles of gin after everything I was tasting, especially those that are not readily available in the local Tesco! They also had funky Gin Christmas gifts, festival memorabilia and a selection of tees and hoodies!
As last orders came, I made a mad dash to the bar for one final G & T; Eccentric Citrus Overload (42%). Another exclusive to the festival (do you see my thinking here?). This delightfully sherberty sweet gin mixed with Mediterranean FeverTree tonic was the crowning glory of the afternoon. Plus I’m pretty sure the guy who served it to me had baubles in his beard - Merry Christmas!
I could have easily wiled away a couple more hours and there was more than a handful of Gins I really wanted to try! The whole afternoon was a wonderful experience - and that’s not just the gin talking! My only regret is that I didn’t make it to the cocktail bar! But there’s always the next festival for that!
Huge thanks to the Gin Festival for having me - you even managed to convert my bestie to the way of the Gin!
Are you a gin lover?
Until next time,