Over the last few years Gin has had a massive resurgence and re-cemented itself as the UK’s favourite tipple. I’ve recently found a taste for the juniper berry, so I was excited to hear that the Gin Festival was in town. I mean where better to discover new favourites? It’s in it’s fourth year now (third in Norwich) and is an incredibly popular event that sells out quickly. With over 100 gins on offer, samples and cocktails to try I was in gin heaven at the Gin Festival Norwich. From British gins, to international gins and flavoured gins they had it all covered.
The Gin Festival Norwich was spread across three Halls. There was the main hall where the bars were, a brands section where you could sample some gins and a couple of cocktail bars. We headed to the brands section when we arrived to try a few gins before we bought any. There were six brands to sample, covering everything from local gins, well-known brands and a black tomato gin. Yes you read that right, black tomato gin, it tasted like the combination of the smell of tomatoes growing and the taste of tomatoes. It was an interesting one! I still can’t work out how I feel about it, but it would be a lovely accompaniment to brunch.
Five of the best from The Gin Festival Norwich…
Tinker Gin – this was one of the most popular gins in the brands tasting area and rightly so. It’s a Spanish style gin that is distilled right here in the UK. It was fresh, light and fruity with complex flavours. To begin with it tasted fresh and citrusy, the flavour then warmed up and ended with the sweet taste of berries. If you don’t like the bitter aftertaste of most gins, this is the one for you.
Brockmans Gin – This light and fresh gin is distilled in Birmingham and is a step away from the traditional dry gins. It was sweet and I could taste a hint of berry in it. It was the kind of gin that you could quite happily drink straight, but when you added Indian tonic water, it elevated it to a whole new and rather refreshing level.
Bullards Strawberry and Black Pepper Gin – This fabulously sweet and fruity gin is distilled right here above the Ten Bells in Norwich. It’s sweet and peppery when drank straight, but cooling and refreshing when mixed with soda or lemonade. It was deliciously summery, like a nicer version of Pimms. We were also given a sneak peek of their Christmas special – a tonker bean liquor. It was sweet, aromatic and warming. The perfect drink to sip on around fire in the festive season.
Pinkster – This baby pink coloured gin is made from raspberries and four other botanicals, making it a sweet, refreshing and light gin that has a little bit of a peppery kick to it. It was served with tonic water and garnished with raspberries and a mint leaf. To me this tasted like the gin version of a mojito – perfect light and refreshing for this time of year. Plus it looked rather pretty.
Edinburgh Rhubarb and ginger gin – If you like your fruit or flavoured gins you have to give this one a go! I paired it with soda water and it tasted just like rhubarb and custard sweets. It was sweet, light and refreshing, I imagine it would make an incredible cocktail too. The Edinburgh Gin Company also have a plum and vanilla flavour and an elderflower gin which I’d love to try.
I feel like I should also mention the incredible Adnams Coperhouse Gin, which is my usual go to. I didn’t have any at the festival but it’s a fresh, citrusy and slightly floral gin. Hamish also raved about the Siderit ginger and lime gin. He has less of a sweet tooth than me and prefers things a little more zingy, fresh and bittersweet. Finally if you’re a tequila fan, you’ll want to try Ragnarok gin. This Swedish gin is rather sharp and a little bit sweet and peppery.
All in all the Gin Festival Norwich was a wonderful event and I shall definitely be heading back next year. In the meantime I have a long list of gins that I want to get my hands on. If you missed out on The Gin Festival this year I discovered that they sell a range of ‘Gin Festival at home’ boxes, so you can try and recreate the magic from the comfort of your living room. I would highly recommend it to anyone that was thinking of going. It was perfect for both gin both lovers and newbies.
Are you a gin lover?