On Sunday I went to Gin Festival, Edinburgh* at the Corn Exchange. Gin certainly has an interesting history. Hogarth’s view of the liquor wasn’t exactly glowing as can be seen in his notorious 18th century print Gin Lane (it’s counterpart is called Beer Street) Gin was seen as being one of the main reasons for all the wrongs in society, particularly a rise in crime, and not long after Hogarth’s print the Gin Act of 1751 came into legislature. Interestingly the law to try and limit the intake of gin was only repealed in 1965! It was also during the 18th century that women were allowed to drink in ‘gin joints’ with men, this is where the term ‘mother’s ruin’ comes from. Drinking gin led women astray, they neglected their children and took up prostitution *side eye*.
Gin has certainly went through a gentrification over the year’s and it’s a burgeoning industry. There were over 100 different gins being showcased at the Gin Festival, and there’s new gins being produced all the time. In the main hall in the Corn Exchange there’s literally hundreds of gins to choose from. I went for a cocktail called Drunken Tulip (pictured above). This was a beautiful (if strong) mix of pink 47 gin, prosecco, pomegranate juice, elderflower cordial, fresh lemon and garnished with fresh pomegranates. Along with gin there was a selection of food to eat, from light bites such as popcorn and olives or something more filling like a burger. There’s also talks by industry experts and live music throughout the different sessions (I went to the afternoon session).
My favourite area was the tasting room. Gin makers spoke passionately about their gin, sharing how it’s made, what they hope to achieve form their business as well as talking about what mixers and garnish went best with specific gins. It was a pleasure to hear them talk and share their love of their products. I tried a couple of gins here and both were completely different from the other. First was Makar Glasgow Gin, a warming blend of juniper berries and coriander. It’s a really herby tasting gin and certainly warms the cockles up. Secondly was Brockmans Gin, this was more fruity with blueberry and blackberry notes. I had this straight and also mixed with ginger beer with a blueberry in it. I’m a big fan if this gin and I’ll definitely be purchasing a bottle.
I’m certainly not a gin connoisseur, I’m at the very beginning of beginner and I thoroughly enjoyed this festival. I would’ve liked to see more gin producers in the tasting area as I enjoyed that the best, it was genuinely interesting listening to them talk about the history of their company and hear about the different types of gin. So if you do go to a Gin Festival somewhere in the UK I recommend going to the tasting area but even on all the counters serving gin there’s someone to help you choose a gin and mixer for you. Oh and also you get a ginormous glass when you enter, this is what your drinks will be served in throughout, plus you get to keep it.
For up and coming Gin festivals near you you can check here.
*I was given free entry into the Gin festival, everything else was paid by myself (well technically my husband).