Gin Festival


Last week I looked ahead at my calendar and realised that I had nothing at all planned for the weekend just passed.

I wracked my brains for a second, it doesn’t take much longer, but couldn’t think of anything that I might just have forgotten to add. I really did have an entirely blank weekend.

Bemused, I took to Twitter and that evening my query got a response from the lovely Sharon! 

Do I like gin? Is a one-legged bear a catholic?!*

And so it was that I found myself in the company of the lovely Sharon and her “Maw”, Nell, drinking a variety of delicious gins. We met up for lunch with some other folks beforehand, so my day ticked all the boxes of good food, good booze, and good peoples.

I’m sure I’ve read somewhere about the negative effects gin and tonic can have on your mood but clearly whoever wrote that didn’t spend their afternoon drinking with my lovely companions. The main ache I had the next day was not in my head (nor my emotional mood) but in my stomach from all the laughing.

The setup was pretty straightforward. The entry fee of £15 got you a card with 10 boxes. Each time you visited a stand you got a taster of their gin, and they marked the card. That was the theory at least, in practice some vendors marked your card, some didn’t, and it became a little bit of a game to see how many ‘free’ samples you could get; we reckon we tried around 16 gins so we were well ahead of the game, although Markar were counting four samples as ‘one’ so….

Of course we weren’t drinking full measures; a pattern was soon established, typically a small shot glass with about 10ml of gin to let us taste it straight, then a wee top up with mixer/garnish of choice. There were some lovely gins on offer too, a few not so lovely, and I still can’t make my peace with whisky so avoided a handful of ‘whisky cask soaked’ options. It was good to see such a mix as well, from McLean’s gin (made in the guys flat), to the Makar and Botanists of the world.

Highlights for me were the Arbikie AK’s gin (so good I bought a bottle), the MacQueen Chocolate gin, El: Gin Morayberry gin, with Misty Isle and Tyree gins once to look out for in the future. Each vendor was clearly passionate about their offerings, and were more than happy to chat and answer questions. All in all a great event and as it was sold out, and mobbed for most of the day, a good sign that the gin revival is showing no sign of abating.

* IN-JOKE KLAXON – Many years ago me and my friends would run through the gamut of ‘no shit sherlock’ phrases, AKA does a one-legged duck swim in circles? does a bear shit in the woods? is the pope a catholic? – and at some point it all got mashed together into this nonsense sentence.

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