Festival season is upon us and what better way to celebrate than with an ice-cold glass of gin and tonic? We managed to bag ourselves some last-minute tickets to the Gin Festival in Portsmouth and were eager to get a taste of some of the latest and greatest gins.
Held at the historic Portsmouth Guildhall, the Gin Festival promised an evening of gin tasting, masterclasses and entertainment. Upon arrival, we were handed our Gin Festival Balloon Glass which contained a little Gin Explorer Book, some vouchers and a pen.
Main Bar Area
Entering the main area, there was a great atmosphere created by coloured lighting, live music, and the hustle and bustle of people. Along the outer edges were the bars, labelled A B C and D according to the gin type (see below). We were completely taken aback by how many different gin variations there were! It made choosing just one extremely difficult…
The general format for the festival was as follows:
1. Buy tokens
£5 for 1 token, which gave you 1x gin, 1x garnish and 1x mixer.
2. Pick a gin
- Bars A & B = British
- Bar C = International
- Bar D = Flavoured
The Gin Explorer Book was very handy as it had information about all the gins on offer as well as the recommended garnish and tonic for each.
3. Add tonic
Once you had your gin and appropriate garnish, you headed over to one of the Fever-Tree bars to select your tonic mixer. The tonic choices were:
- Premium Indian
- Naturally Light
Cocktail Bar & Masterclasses
At the Cocktail Bar area, you could explore the different brands and chat to the gin distillers in person. We also headed upstairs to a couple of masterclasses, including one for Tinker (citrusy Spanish style gin) and another for Black Tomato (distinct sweet/savoury gin). The masterclasses were great fun and the distillers themselves were all very entertaining. We were surprised at how few people took advantage of the masterclasses as they were very generous with those tasters!
Overall, we had a fantastic time and left feeling both entertained and educated about the world of gin. The event ticket not only gives you an enjoyable evening but also your very own balloon glass to continue the gin experience at home. It has quickly become my go-to glass for an evening G&T.
There are Gin Festival events right across the country, but I’d suggest getting tickets early because they do sell fast! If your local event happens to be sold out, check again nearer the time as they do release some last-minute tickets too. If you’re off to a Gin Festival soon or are looking to try something new, my personal recommendations are Tinker, PJ Dry, Pinkster and Brockmans.
What’s your favourite gin? Let me know in the comments below!
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