Tag Archives: Daffy’s

Review: The Gin Festival Blackpool 2017, Blackpool Tower Ballroom

In recent years gin drinking has enjoyed something of a renaissance. Although gin has been drunk for centuries, gin distillers have been tapping into the growing trend for small batch, artisan and craft gins for a little while now.

In 2012, in celebration of all things gin, the Gin Festival was born. Since then the Gin Festival has been popping up in fabulous locations up and down the UK. The Gin Festival is a fantastic travelling festival; full of vintage flair and with all the gin you could possibly want. It’s a great place to go and try new gins, meet the makers, sample some new things and pick up a new favourite. 

Last year I went to the Gin Festival Manchester and absolutely loved every second. This year I went a little further afield and spent an afternoon at the first ever Gin Festival Blackpool. 

Review: The Gin Festival Blackpool 2017, Blackpool Tower Ballroom

Photo Credit: Bob Bardsley

Set in the stunning Ballroom at the iconic Blackpool Tower, it was the perfect venue for the inaugural Gin Festival Blackpool. The festival took place on Friday 10th March and Saturday 11th March, I went along to the Saturday afternoon session and had a ball!

The Gin Festival Blackpool served up over 100 gins to the eager Blackpool crowd, including many new and exclusive gins. There were masterclasses with distillers, cocktails, hot mulled gin and toe tapping live music. 

With so many gins on offer, my companion Bob and I tried our best to sample as many of them as we could. After consulting “The Gin Book” we were given on arrival, we variously tried Daffy’s, Poetic Licence – Old Tom, Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin, Wight Mermaid Gin, Inverroche Amber Gin, Isfjord Gin, Masons Tea Gin, Whitley Neill Quince, we also tried some hot mulled gin and a brand new gin from Yorkshire, Tinker.

Each gin was served with plenty of ice, a perfectly matched garnish and you could top it us with one of the six premium Fever-Tree tonics and mixers which were freely available.

Review: The Gin Festival Blackpool 2017, Blackpool Tower Ballroom

Photo Credit: Bob Bardsley

Our stand out favourite was a British made, Spanish style gin called Tinker. Tinker is a move away from traditional, juniper gins and is a fresh and innovative gin. Light on the palate and bursting with juicy berries. It is made by distilling juniper, coriander, orange, lemon, cassia, cinnamon, orris, angelica, liquorice, nutmeg and elderberries to create a contemporary classic. It’s one to watch out for in the future, that’s for sure!

If you couldn’t make it to Blackpool, why not book tickets for the Gin Festival in Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham, Swansea, Torquay, Bournemouth, Bristol, Ipswich, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Gloucester, Stoke-on-Trent, Leeds or Oxford.

For more information visit the Gin Festival website.

You can read my guest post on the Gin Festival website here.

Manchester Gin Festival 2016

Over the Easter weekend Manchester played host to the Gin Festival, a touring two day festival of all things gin. I’m a gin enthusiast but not an expert, so I went along to sample the delights of the festival and hopefully sample a few new gins along the way.

Arriving at Victoria Baths, a building I’ve not set foot in for nearly 30 years, my memories were of a rather grotty municipal swimming baths, but I was very pleasantly surprised by its beautifully restored Edwardian features. 

Gin Festival

Once through the door, I was handed a large gin glass (horrah!), a gin guide and pointed in the direction of the gin. My first stop was “The Brand Room”, a room where lots of gin brands had set up stands where gin lovers could go and sample their wares, as well as learn a little more about each gin. It was an interesting room to find out a little more about gin and to suss out any which warranted further tasting and investigation later on.

Gin Festival

Moving on to “The Gin” which was a huge room with four bar areas which housed UK gins, International Gins and Fruit Gin Liqueurs and other novelties. This was where you could consult your gin guide and make your selection. It works just like a beer festival, you buy a number of tokens on a card and when you buy your G&T a token gets crossed off. Each token cost £5 and I bought three. 

Gin Festival

My first port of call was to try a Daffy’s and Indian tonic, garnished with mint and lime. A gin drinking friend had recommended Daffy’s as the best gin they’d ever had, so I had to try it on pain of death. It was a very excellent G&T, the tasting notes say it is woody on the nose with lively juniper and citrus flavours and a buttery finish. It was one of those incredibly refreshing G&T’s and I was sad to finish it. 

After consulting the gin guide (I fancied everything in the gin guide, but I had to ration myself), I opted to try Curio Cornish Gin, which contained hand foraged botanicals from the Cornish cliffs including rock samphire. The tasting notes suggested that it would be reminiscent of the sea, gentle and citrussy with an aniseed finish. It was paired with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic and garnished with chopped fennel, not something I’ve ever had in a G&T but it was a delicious and almost savory combination which I enjoyed tremendously.

Gin Festival

Needing a sit down and something to set me up for a bit more gin, I headed to the “Still & Stove” area which had a number of food stalls offering the now ubiquitous pulled pork. I opted for a hearty Spanish stew of spinach and chickpeas served with cous cous which was very tasty. 

Suitably replete I was ready for a masterclass in gin. I opted to find out more about Masons Yorkshire Gin, having sampled their three quite different and quite beautiful gins earlier in the brand room. I was especially taken with their gin which had been infused with Yorkshire tea, which was delicate and unusual and possibly my favourite gin at the festival.

Gin Festival

Held in another beautiful room complete with stunning stained glass, a full room of gin lovers listened to the history of Masons gin as told by their brand ambassador Sophie. Sophie then passed around samples of the gin to an approving crowd, many of which I’m sure headed straight for the shop in the gin hall and bought a bottle (or two) to take home.

Gin Festival

I had one G&T token left so I had to choose wisely. On the recommendation of Laura, one of the Gin Festival team I selected the Edinburgh Rhubarb & Ginger Gin Liqueur, a beautiful and delicately flavoured gin which was garnished with apple. I was told to try it first before adding soda water because the flavour changed when diluted, and I’m glad I did, it was gorgeous. I regretted adding the soda water as it really watered down the delicious liqueur, I’ll know better next time.

I can’t actually think of a better way to spend a Bank Holiday Sunday than in the beautiful surroundings of Victoria Baths drinking and enjoying gin. It’s such an amazing venue for the Gin Festival. The Gin Festival itself was very relaxed, well laid out with the stands and bar areas having plenty of space around them for the gathering crowds of gin lovers. I can’t fault the selection of gin on offer and I’ve discovered a gin or two I’ll be searching out in the future.

I’ll be watching and waiting for the Gin Festival to swing back into town again, it was so interesting and a lovely social and civilised afternoon, if you like gin then this is an event not to be missed. This weekend was a sell out so you do have to book your tickets (£7.50) early to avoid disappointment. 

To find out more about the Gin Festival and to see if there’s one in your area, visit their website for more information.