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18 Aug 2016

Portsmouth Gin Festival!

What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon, than tasting gin!

On Saturday it was Portsmouth Gin Festival, a celebration of lots of gins in the heart of the city. I was planning on going and had my tickets in my hands, when we got invited last minute to a distant family wedding. Obviously the wedding had to win so I asked my friend Marie and her husband John to go and report for me. Here is their story:

 The event was easy to get to, with the Guildhall being a short walk from Portsmouth and Southsea train station. There were lots of train issues, but luckily we managed to get there. We both knew we liked gin before we arrived, but had never ventured for anything much more exotic than Gordons or Bombay Sapphire.

When we arrived, we picked up a copy of The Gin Book – a guide to what we would be tasting. We quickly read as much as we could in order to expand our repertoire and knowledge before tasting.

Throughout the afternoon, we managed four gins each, plus a taster…that’s about 1.3 glasses of gin per hour! There was so much choice but for our coupons (you purchase them when you’re there) we tried many different types

I tried: Leeds gin, Conker gin, Edinburgh Rhubarb and Ginger gin, Brockmans gin. John tried: Da Mhile Seaweed gin, Strathern Oaked Highland gin, Blackwoods Vintage Dry 60, West Winds ‘The Cutlass’ All gins were accompanied by a selection of Fever Tree tonic, soda water or ginger ale and potentially other mixers.

We found it interesting to notice we had a  male/female biases of the drinks that we chose, I went for the gins accompanied with more fruity and floral flavours.

Our favourite? We both agreed that the Brockmans was absolutely delicious and will be treating ourselves to a bottle at the end of the month!

Aside from the tasting and drinking, there were also events, displays and classes. We attended a masterclass ran by ‘Sir Robin of Locksley gin’ company where we provided with a brief history of gin and an explanation of the difference between distilled gin and London dry gin. They also shared with us a useful website with a recipe for making your own sloe gin 

The staff at the event were really helpful, especially in terms of advising where to go and how John could get around the building with his walking frame.  We were offered assistance on multiple occasions. 

As it was a lovely sunny afternoon, the only area of improvement for me would have been if this event could have been outside or offered outside spaces to sit. I liked the idea of sitting on a picnic blanket and sipping my gin! Apparently other locations like Guildford are more outdoors. 

Thanks Marie! I'm definitely using those tickets next year! Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more reminders in the future about your local gin festival. They do them all over! 

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