It’s always nice to dabble in what you fancy now and again – and that’s true of an alcoholic tipple, of course. One of the most universally popular drinks is gin and tonic, especially for Anglophiles. Forever associated with the elegant, cosmopolitan Brit about town, it’s certainly a drink to be enjoyed in London, that’s for sure. However, to go one step further, there are millions of gin lovers around the world; people who simply can’t get enough of its tangy taste with a suitably delicious mixer and a glorious garnish.
Are you one of them? Well, if you are and you’re likely to be in the UK capital at the end of August, then it’s highly likely the London Gin Festival will be right up your street. In fact, following on the heels of only the second-ever official festival devoted to all things gin in London last summer (which was a huge, sold-out success), this one to be held at East London’s Tobacco Dock venue looks set to be the biggest – and (being in the capital, dare one say it) the best – of the nine official Gin Festivals that are taking place in cities across the UK this summer.
Mentioned on CBS News and in the Metro and Guardian UK newspapers, it’s set to showcase in excess of 100 different gins, bringing to the lips of eager gin enthusiasts then new and exclusive brands and also attended by scores of gin producers. No doubt top of the list of highlights will be the exclusive new brand that’s Tarquin’s ‘Single Estate Cornish Tea’, which is being blended and produced especially for the festival. You can read all about it on its dedicated page at the event’s website.
So what can you actually expect if you go along to this festival? Well, those behind it promise attendees will receive a special festival glass on arrival (which, of course, they can use throughout the event and then take home as a souvenir). And they’ll also get a brochure, listing all the gins available to try at the bars, information about each one and the companies that produce them, in addition to recommendations on how they ought to be garnished and which tonic or mixer to enjoy with them.
Naturally, you’ll need to purchase the different gin types you want to sample at the festival, so you’ll need to obtain drinks tokens, available at the front desk. The tokens will be priced £5 per drink, which is pretty affordable (as far as London drinks prices go!), not least because each one will include tonic and a fresh garnish. Most attendees will probably buy a card of four such tokens (for £20) and more should they want to, but how many tokens you wish to buy and how many brands you wish to try is entirely up to you, of course.
It’s most likely that, in the manner of the other Gin Festivals held this summer, there will be four bars to visit serving drinks; categorised according to types of gin and lettered from ‘A’ through to ‘D’ – the ‘A’ and ‘B’ bars covering UK brands, the ‘C’ bar international brands and the ‘D’ bar flavoured and sloe gins.
Throughout the event there’ll also be live entertainment to enjoy, talks and masterclasses to hear from gin industry experts, food to buy (to soak up some of the alcohol, if necessary!) and the opportunity for discussion and relaxed chat with gin enthusiasts and those who are absolutely passionate about the spirit. All in all meaning the London Gin Festival 2016 could make for a highly enjoyable afternoon or evening should you be visiting the capital towards the end of August and especially staying in the East London/ City area at a base such as the Montcalm hotel at The Brewery London City.
Plus, should you be new to the world of gin but curious about this event, don’t feel overawed by its scale and breadth – all of its sessions are bound to make for a welcoming and friendly occasion; with staff on hand to recommend a few brands to get you off and running and suggest their favourites – and why they like them so much!
The sessions will be held across the August bank holiday weekend, taking place on:
• Friday 26th August (evening: 6.30-11pm)
• Saturday 27th August (afternoon 12.30-5pm/ evening 6.30-11pm)
• Sunday 28th August (afternoon 11.45am-4.15pm/ evening 5.30-10pm)
Tickets are priced £12.50 per person (including the booking fee) and can be purchased ahead of the event at its website.
Be aware, however, that it’s strictly for over 18-year-olds, which means it certainly wouldn’t be suitable for all the family (indeed, if you look young enough, you may even be asked to prove your age by showing ID). Cheers!