Gin Festival at Tobacco Dock
When I was asked if I wanted to review ‘Gin Festival’ for The Live Review, I jumped at the chance. The Gin Festival is advertised as a gin lovers dream event and being a huge gin lover I was keen to see if it lived up to the hype.
There were many different aspects to the event, all of which focused on the beverage of the day! First however some basics…..
Arrival & How The Event Runs:
Upon arrival you are given a guide which tells you about all the gins on offer and where to find them, details about the brands there and some practical information also. You also get given a glass for all your gin consumption. These glasses are fab – large and sturdy enough that you don’t feel that you risk breaking them carrying them around at the event. They also make for some great photos throughout the event and a nice token to take home! Upon arrival you also get given a contactless wristband which you load cash onto and use this to pay for your gin. I hadn’t loaded mine in advance but the queue was very quick so it was a painless experience.
There is a room with representatives from all of the brands there. The brands are very varied with the likes of Tinker Gin which launched in 2017 which focuses on easy drinking, fresh flavours, PJ gin which has a range of flavours such as Elderberry and raspberry as well as the more traditional dry gin and Far Reach Dry Gin which uses botanical from remote corners of the world. Each of the brands have tasters available however due to the small size of the room and the number of people in it it was often difficult to hear from the Brand ambassadors and find out more about the gin itself. The brands I did manage to chat to varied in their patter but a big shout out to Dan from Tinker who had mastered speaking to the masses and got his patter down to a ‘t.’ It was this encounter that helped me decide that the Tinker masterclass was the place to be later (More about this in a moment). The room was consistently heaving so in an ideal situation a bigger room would be useful with more space between the brands to help ease congestion.
There are 5 gin bars and a cocktail bar within the event. Your guide tells you where to find each gin and also which mixer and garnish is recommended with it. Schweppes 1783 was the go-to tonic for the event. A premium tonic in 5 flavours including my new favourite cucumber one. All G&T’s were £5 a go apart from 1 premium gin at each bar which was going for £6.50. Within the area with the 5 gin bars there was also live music to help those G&T’s go down even easier!
The Cocktail bar offered 6 different gin based cocktails. In the name of reviewing I tasted 3 of these, including the punters favourite Tinker Berry Fizz, a pink gin, prosecco, elderflower cordial, creme de fraise and cranberry juice mix….these were to die for and may have resulted in a repeat purchase!! Cocktails weren’t cheap at £10 a go but there was plenty in there and well worth it in my opinion.
I attended 2 Masterclasses, one by Far Reaches and one by Tinker. The Masterclasses were essentially a chance for the brands to pitch their gin to the audience for 20 minutes. Whilst I found the background to both of these gins interesting it would have been good to have a topic such as gin cocktail making, how to decide what mixer and garnish to have with different types of gin with each class run by a different brand. I would have felt that these added more value rather than a 20 minute long pitch.
Whilst the focus is on gin at these events food is always important to me and attending the Friday evening session and coming straight from work made food essential! This element did let the side down. There were 3 stalls, all of which were fairly expensive (£5 for cheesy chips essentially). A bigger range of stalls at a variety of cost would have enhanced the event. Whilst I realise this is not the focus the food could have been tied in with recommendations of gin with each menu option.
I would highly recommend this event for all gin lovers. Not only did I get to spend the night drinking delicious gins but I also learnt a lot about gins and my own personal tastes. I wouldn’t hang about though if you decide to go next year or in a different location as these tickets tend to fly…..and now I know why.
TheLiveReview would like to thank Sarah for attending for us and if you would like to check out any of Sarah’s normal blogging adventures please check out MusicalTheatreMusings