When The Gin Festival Came To Harrogate | I Reviewed The Gin Festival With My Friend Janet | Enjoying A Saturday Night Off Work!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

So before Christmas I was very kindly invited to go and enjoy an evening (or an afternoon!) at the Gin Festival when it came to Harrogate. It was definitely an invite I couldn't turn down and so I hastily checked with work that I could have a Saturday evening off and headed on down.....

The Gin Festival was located at the Conference Centre here in Harrogate and once arrived I made myself known to security and I was lead down the stairs into the main hall where I could collect my press pack. Most importantly I was given my very own balloon glass and carrier! Amazing! No need to wonder 'where did I put my glass' or 'I don't have enough hands!' A lovely memento to take home afterwards as well. (All members of the public who attended the festival also got a free glass bag and balloon glass to take home afterwards!)

Inside my tote bag was a guide to all the gins on offer, a lanyard, various money off vouchers and leaflets explaining how the money-less system worked as well as a wristband which was loaded up with £20 - enough for 4 gins at £5 each - which the staff would scan each time I bought a new one .I felt really important actually and despite it being very busy I was able to make my way around the hall fairly easily and try to decide which gin to try first!

The hall was spilt up into four distinct areas, Bars A, B, C and D, seating in the middle, a tonic station, a band at the far left and food stalls. With the handy guide it was easy to make my way around and decide exactly where I wanted my gin to come from. 

Bar A - International
Bar B - International
Bar C - International 
Bar D - Fruity/flavoured, Boutique Bar - additional selection of gins including ranges from guest brands. 

In the end I settled for Bar C and 'Pink Pepper' Gin from Cognac, France. 

" A totally unique, intense and aromatic gin. Pink Pepper has two almost distinct forms, sweet and spiced! When chilled, piquant notes of pink pepper and juniper are prominent. As the beverage warms, soft patisserie tones come to the fore with tonka, honey and vanilla. Playing upon France's perfumery associations, Pink Pepper is created using a non-chill filtered process, similar to perfume. A thoroughly French gin." 

Garnish: Pink Grapefruit
Pairs best with: Fever Tree Indian Tonic

It was just delicious and a great way to start off my night! I finally found my friend and fellow blogger Janet from who won the competition I had held over on my twitter page. It was great to go with someone else - I find crowds really heighten my anxiety and I just can't deal with them! So having Janet and her husband there really helped me out. 

There were several talks happening throughout the night from various gin experts and so we went to the next one which was being given by the guys from Tinker Gin It was basically him chatting about how he came to be making gin and swearing a lot! haha! It seemed to satisfy the crowd anyway! We did get to sample his gin so I guess it wasn't all bad! 

The rest of the evening was spent walking around the hall and sampling all the gins! haha! Got to love a free sample or five!! 

Soon though it was time for food and thankfully Janet let me steal some of her chips....they were much needed at that point! LOL!
As you can see there was plenty to choose from and at reasonable prices, although as a vegetarian I would have been severely limited as to what I could eat - basically it would have been chips but then what oil had those chips been fried in!? You see, not as easy as you think is it?! Anyway both bars were doing a roaring trade and it was good to see them so busy. I don't know if they were local or not or if they were part of the whole gin festival trade (I suspect not but then again, who really knows anymore?!) 

As the night drew to a close it was time for me to choose another gin and this time I went over to Bar D for a Zymurgorium Sweet Violet from Manchester! 

" Zymurgium Violet has an incredible param violet flavour with a good gin presence; it manages to avoid the tendancy towards a syrup like viscosity that many gin liqueurs have. The sweet violets used to create this beautiful gin liqueur give it a sweet pastel flavour and provide a strong violet aroma

Garnish: Lemon
Pairs best with: Fever-tree lemonade. 

Absolute heaven. Parma violets are my favourite sweets and so I am addicted to anything which resmebles them or tastes like them....I so easily could have had another one but I was a good girl and went home instead! haha! It really reminded me of a similar cocktail I had tasted at The Foundry Project in May last year, so so delicious! 

A cool feature of the Gin Festival was the station right in the middle which housed all the Fever Tree tonics and lemonades. You went to the bar, got your gin and then wandered over to this station where they knew exactly which tonic went best with which gin! Absolutely amazing and they also allowed you to keep the bottle so you could top up if required! A genius little touch that meant you could make your gins longer if you preferred it.

All in all I had a really good time at the Harrogate Gin Festival, it was just what I needed in the middle of a stressful work situation, plus getting to hang out with one of my new friends was so lovely. If you're into your gins then I would definitely recommened heading on down when the Gin Festival visits near to your home town! It makes for a relatively affordable night out and getting the chance to try gins you may not have heard of before is always the makings of a good night in my eyes! 

Thanks for reading! 

Love, Sarah

*Tickets kindly provided by The Gin Festival, all opinions my own
** features photos kindly provded by The Gin Festival. 

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