I recently was invited to attend the Gin Festival that would be coming to Ipswich. When I first think of a festival I imagine a big field, camping, mess and lots of loud noise – but this was the complete opposite and I was so excited to see what it was all about!
So what is it?
The Gin Festival began in 2013 after a couple decided they wanted to share their love of gin and create events specialising in building their knowledge on the Gin industry. There would be Gin brands, distillers, food stalls and entertainment to be found at all events; making it appealing for those even with a very basic gin knowledge and a fun night out. The festival tours the UK, with most events being extremely popular that they sell out weeks in advance!
You can see if the Gin Festival is going to a town near you by clicking here:
Ipswich Gin Festival
I was allowed to bring a plus one with me and took my lovely boyfriend to come along. The festival was held at the Ipswich Town Hall which was easy to get to as its right in the centre of town and a lovely big venue for an event like this. On arrival we were greeted by the friendly staff who gave us each a gin glass, a Gin guide (AKA your Gin bible for the event!) and a blogger special bag which had sweets and badges inside – which we got to keep all of it at the end.
The venue was set into several rooms; a smaller room at the beginning showing a handful of gin stands, the main room with the main bar, food stalls, a cocktail bar, and then a room upstairs where the master classes were held.
The event is priced at £10 per person for an early bird ticket or £18 for 2nd release which just covers the entrance and a gin glass & booklet. The ticket doesn’t include any free drinks but to buy drinks they are run on a token basis. We were gifted 4 tokens of the value of £20 in my blogger bag, meaning each token was £5 and all drinks were worth 1 token. To me I think that this is quite fairly priced, especially as there was so much choice you would definitely be able to find something for everyone’s taste!
The main bar is set into 4 different parts with designated areas for specific gin types, with gin stands surrounding this for you to chat to and try. First thing we did when we arrived was have a walk around the whole venue. We didn’t want to jump in and buy a gin from the first stall we went to and wanted to hear more about the flavours and who they would suit before purchasing. You are able to sample each gin at the stands as you go around which also helps you decide what will be best to spend your tokens on!
The first stand we went to was Brockmans which is a premium gin. We both sampled some of this neat which had a slight taste of liquorice. Matt liked this one and found it went down easily and was quite smooth, but I preferred it when we put it against a tonic! We continued our way around trying a few other brands such as St George, Black Tomato and Bathtub Gin but our favourites were Poetic Licence and Tinker. We found these the be the sweetest gins and easiest to go down. They both would be ideal to drink during the hot summer evenings! We also were extremely surprised that after speaking to the team from Tinker, it was only a new Gin and hadn’t been around for more than a few months – they told us how they had already sold through their first batch of their Gin alot quicker than expected and once you try it, you can definitely understand why!
We also took some time to try out 2 of the cocktails to mix things up a bit. The cocktails were worth 2 tokens each, which is the equivalent to £10 so and we had to purchase some more tokens for these. There was 6 cocktails on offer and I went for the Rhubarb Rumble and Matt chose the Florida Sling. These were delicious! We both tried each other’s and agreed that our favourite was the Rhubarb Rumble as it tasted just like Rhubarb and custard sweets – bringing back lots of happy memories from our childhoods! (I highly recommend this one if you go! )
The event even had their own “off-license” where you would be able to purchase any of the Gins found at the event and even some other unique gifting or products – such as mugs, soap and body wash!
We thought that the event was really well organised and set up and was something a bit different to do. The people that attended were all chatty and in high spirits, which is great when it gets busy and you end up talking to the people in queues or seating areas around you! All we heard throughout the evening were positive thoughts on the event so I would say that this was definitely a hit for Ipswich and that it would be great if the Gin Festival returned next year – fingers crossed!
You can find the Gin Festival linked below if you want to find out more information:
Website – https://www.ginfestival.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ginfestival
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GinFestival
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ginfestival/