It's not often you spend a night drinking eleven gins and are still able to remember the evening, but that was my first experience of a Gin Society Festival. In truth I had four gin and tonics and a small sip of the other seven. Gin is not my usual tipple, but I do enjoy one now and again, usually before a meal or on a summers evening relaxing outside. When I discovered there was to be a gin festival in Lancaster it was good opportunity to learn more about this libation and do something different on a Saturday night. I went along with my wife, my son and his fiancé. Without realising it at the time this was a smart move as we could all try something different and so experience a wide selection of different gins and mixers.
The festival was held in Lancaster Town Hall which had a lively relaxed atmosphere. There was music playing and a group of swing dancers performing to the tunes.
The first thing that struck me was how many different varieties of gin were on offer. Not only a wide selection of gins (I counted almost 100) but a wide choice of mixers and 10 different garnishes including basil, ginger, lime, orange, rosemary, cucumber, lemon, mint, pink grapefruit, and strawberry.
As well as the Gin Society's bars, a few British distillers had their own stands. This was a marvellous opportunity to talk to the distillers and learn more about all the factors that go into producing the unique flavour of a craft gin.
I am not qualified to give you a meaningful critique of all the gins we tasted, but can share with you a few of the highlights we found during the evening.
My personal favourite was the Alnwick Gin mixed with pink grapefruit and rosemary. It had a lovely summer feel to it and I could imagine sipping one of these sitting by a barbecue on a balmy summer evening.
There are several Gin Society festivals running through out the rest of the year including; Manchester in March, Carlisle in May and Saddleworth in June. Check the Gin Society Facebook Page for more details.