The sun is out, it’s starting to feel like it’s almost summer and what better way to enjoy it than with a refreshing G&T in hand?

Aside from a visit to the ‘Gin Palace’ in Dublin (I wholly recommend it!) and a tour of the East London Liquor Company, I’ve never really broadened my gin horizons, so when I heard the ‘Gin Festival’ was on in Hull whilst I was visiting, I couldn’t miss it!

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The travelling festival that pops up in cities all around the country is in its fourth year and I feel they’re really branching out into an untapped area – allowing people to try out a variety of local, worldwide and flavoured gins, whilst in a chilled, vibrant pub atmosphere.

The setup of the event worked pretty well. You arrived and received your complimentary gin glass, a book of which gins were on offer (with info on their flavours, garnish and prefered mixer – very handy!) and an introduction to the various things on throughout the evening, including gin masterclasses, with some famous brands in the business.

In the Hull venue, the Guildhall, you then headed through a large room of seating and a band, to get into another room where the bars were. You bought tokens, then when you’d read through your guide and pinpointed which gins you fancied, you headed to the relevant bar and exchanged your token for the gin and its appropriate garnish. You were then advised which Fevertree mixer would go best with your gin and you helped yourself from another station.

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The event is faultless. The use of tokens (£20 for four) makes it easier and quicker – so you can relax, drink and socialise, whilst trying some gins you’d never normally get to try!

My favourites included:

  • The ‘Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb and Ginger’ – not as strong on the ginger side as it sounds, but sweet and flavoursome.
  • The ‘Zymurgorium Sweet Violet’ – tastes like palma violets – great drank straight!
  • The ‘Sir Robin of Locksley’ – made with dandelion and elderflower so naturally a bit sweeter.
  • The ‘6 o’clock gin’ – just very refreshing.
  • The ‘Braeckman Melon Jenever’ – lovely but definitely an acquired taste.
  • The ‘Masons Gin – Yorkshire Tea edition’ – a big hit for our tea loving group!

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The ‘Gin Festival’ team had really thought about the dynamics of the event, with magicians popping up to talk to you, a great band on and the masterclasses to attend. There were also several local gin companies there with stands (and lots of freebies!). To me, the only fault with the venue in Hull was the seating area, as the harsh lighting and greedy groups of people sticking their bags on seats all night meant we had to stick to standing in the bar area and left probably a little earlier than we would have, in search of a pub with a seat.

A great idea, a great setup and a great chance to try many an unusual gin, make sure you check out the ‘Gin Festival’ as it travels around the country over the next few months. Why not check out the London ‘Gin Festival’ in Tobacco Docks this August or see which other locations tickle your fancy here.

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