29 Apr 2018

Gin Festival Nottingham

Whilst many rave about gin, I'm someone who has little experience with the spirit. I usually stick to neutral tasting vodka, finding it a safe bet with its ability to blend seamlessly into juices such as orange or cranberry. So when I was given the chance to attend Gin Festival Nottingham, I thought it would serve as a good opportunity for me to dive headfirst into the gin drinking experience. 

The 4th Nottingham Gin Festival was to be held at Nottingham Conference Centre, which, upon arrival, I discovered was contained within Nottingham Trent University's Newton Building. I've only ever visited the centre on uni business, so it was enjoyable to see such a nice building being used to its full potential by hosting this event. The event was held over three sessions during the weekend - attracting an estimated 4500 people - and I attended the Saturday night slot.

I was kindly handed a blogger's goodie bag at the door, and in it I found a voucher that I was able to activate my wristband with; topped up wristbands being the currency for obtaining gin during the evening. We were also given official Gin Festival glasses to have all our drinks in, which we would be able to take home with us at the end of the night.

Soon it came time to actually try some gin. We chose our drinks from a comprehensive booklet that had been handed to us upon arrival, which listed all the gins that were available that evening and stated which specific bar we would be able to get each gin from. The first gins I opted for were Pink Royal - a mixed berry gin - and Pinkster - a fruity gin containing raspberry and infused with spices. Both these were topped up with tonic water, which could be found for free and in a variety of flavours at every bar. The Pink Royal was a bit strong in taste for my liking, but I found the Pinkster a lot more enjoyable, it's taste being sweeter and fruitier.

As well as bars, there were many gin stalls spread around the venue, where ambassadors for various gin brands were on hand to discuss their craft, and even hand out samples of their gins. There were also masterclasses held all through the night in one of the conference rooms, for those interested in gaining more in-depth gin knowledge. I attended the Slingsby masterclass, where we learned all about the origins of Slingsby and tasted samples of the 57% Navy Strength Gin.

There was a wide choice of high-quality food vendors available in the venue also. As well as an extensive gin tuck shop, giving event-goers the chance to take home bottles of their favourite gins of the night. 

For my last drink of the night, I tried the Rhubarb Rumble cocktail. It contained Edinburgh Rhubarb, Ginger Liqueur, Advocaat and Apple and Lemon Juices, and it was sweet and tasteful. Gin cocktails are something I'm accustomed to, so it wasn't a surprise that I enjoyed it. But what I had also learnt during the course of the night was that Gin and Tonics can be equally pleasurable to cocktails.

Overall, I enjoyed the night. The event did feel more formal than I expected, mostly, I believe, due to the nature of the venue. But this did seem to fit the demographic of the event. And elements like the live bands that played through the night did add extra ambience, making the sleek venue a pleasant environment to enjoy exploring the world of gin in. 

The Gin Festival travels all across the country, with remaining events spanning from now up until September. For more info check out their website here.

Thank you Gin Festival for having me!

Amani x 
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