Well, where do I start! There are so many good things to say about Gin Festival Guildford. From being given my own gin glass to keep on arrival to informative talks on the process of making gin and what particular brands are all about. This event was varied, a lot more than just taking a seat and sipping on some gin, unless of course that’s all you want to get out of it!
Based at Guildford Cathedral in their beautiful marquee, this event was decorated perfectly with twinkly lights, lots of wooden tables and even a selfie machine!
When arriving we were amazed how busy it was, inside and out! We were given our gin glass to use for the night and The Gin Explorer book, listing all of the gins available at the event, even stating which bar they are available from (helpfully labelled as bar A, B & C) and which Fever-Tree tonic to pair them with. As more of a vodka drinker, I found this great as I would be absolutely useless otherwise!
On the left of the marquee, there were brands giving out samples of their gins and explaining their brands, on the right were bars where you were able to buy G&T’s/cocktails. A very simple layout which was explained to us when arriving, with masterclasses tucked away at the back.
I managed to sample three of the brands (Black Tomato Gin, Tinker & Brockmans) and speak to them too which was great, I love meeting people who are passionate and knowledgeable about their products.
Black Tomato Gin
Out of them all, this was the most intriguing. A tomato based gin which goes best with Fever-Tree Tonic or Big Tom tomato juice, but most interestingly can be used in cooking too – I was told it works well in a paella.
When served this gin, we were given a sample of it alone, then a second with basil which seemed to bring more of the flavours out. Definitely one to try or buy for a gin loving friend out there, something very different to the norm.
This British made, Spanish style gin was delicious and fresh. I absolutely loved speaking to the girl talking on this stand, she was so excitable and passionate about this gin, explaining what goes into it and what goes well with it (Fever-Tree Naturally Light Tonic Water)
Easy drinking, perfect for a gin amateur like me.
Based here in Surrey, this dark/gothy packaged gin was right up my street, reminding me of Kat Von D’s makeup packaging. A strong citrus/berry flavour is my kind of thing also and I really enjoyed this one straight, although I am looking forward to making a bramble with it.
Can’t wait until payday to get my hands on this one!
The bars were quite busy, but worth the wait. Gin is given to you with the suitable garnish, then you are told which tonics your chosen gin will go with the best, so you can grab them from the Fever-Tree stand. The newly devised wristbands meant for quick payment too, so the queue time was lessened, simply loading some money onto your wristband at a separate booth and away you go!
This event had a cocktail bar which is my kind of thing, so I got my butt in the queue. Although all of the bars were busy there was a band playing at the other side of the marquee, so I enjoyed listening to them while waiting. If you are going to a Gin Festival event in the future, definitely try out one of the cocktails on offer, they were great and a good size too for the price. I had a Fuddled Daisy which was lovely, will definitely be recreating it at home!
Along with drinks, drinks and more drinks, there were masterclasses. I went and saw a lovely lady from Brockmans speaking about the history of gin and the brand. As I previously said, I love listening to people speak about something they are so passionate for and this talk was humorous as well, along with another free sample of their gin, which luckily for me was my favourite of the night!
I know what you’re thinking, “What does this have to do with a vegan blog?” Well, 1. This was based nearby (Lucky me!), 2. There was booze involved! 3. GIN IS VEGAN! I know right – Awesome!
When first looking into veganism, alcohol was not something that crossed my mind. I foolishly presumed that all alcohol was vegan and how wrong I was. Did you know that wine is actually filtered through substances called fining agents, which are most commonly casein (milk protein), bone marrow and gelatin? Neither did I at first!
Vegan alcohol is definitely something I am venturing into and wanting to make a feature on this blog. I am a lot more conscious when choosing wines and beers now, as it can be easy in supermarkets now, a lot are stated as vegan on the back.
Overall, the evening was amazing. So much going on, so I will definitely be returning next year. Thanks, Gin Festival!