I’ll be honest here, up until a few weeks ago I hadn’t tried gin at all, ever… I don’t really know why, it had just never appealed to me I suppose, but when the opportunity came up to visit the Gin Festival in Cardiff this year, I thought I would drag my gin loving friend along to try it out. And I am really glad I did.
The gin festival was all started by Marie and Jym, a husband and wife team, in 2012, because they love gin and thought other people would enjoy a gin festival too. It turns out they were quite right. The Cardiff gin festival was absolutely alive with people and was actually sold out before the night.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the evening other than, well, gin. But what we were presented with was a menu of sorts with very many different types of gin to choose from, a rather large glass and basically two of the four walls in the big hall, completely covered in bottles, with knowledgeable and friendly bar people ready to help. Before we had really began we found ourselves being educated in the different types of tonic available and which types of gin go with which tonic. I will admit I was a bit like a rabbit in the headlights but the staff were very helpful and chatty.
I tried a few different types of gin and warmed to them all really. We were also lucky enough to try the Cardiff Gin that had only been unveiled that week, it is made locally and very special and is-
“A NEW STYLE OF GIN CHOSEN BY THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH WALES. RICH HERBAL NOTES OF ROSEMARY, FENNEL, SORREL AND LIQUORICE, TOGETHER WITH CITRUS NOTES FROM THE LEMONGRASS AND VERBENA”
We listened to the talk from Eccentric Gin (in what can only be described as the basement) and I found it really interesting, the Eccentric Gin name itself came from an eccentric druid called William Price, who was the man responsible for cremation being legalised. He also lived in Llantrisant where the Eccentric Gin distillery is. As a bit of a gin novice I really enjoyed listening to how the gin is made and the story behind the company.
Once the talk had finished we made our way back to the large hall, and I thought that Portland House really was a perfect choice for the event, the chandeliers, high ceilings and white walls really helped the atmosphere, and listening to and watching the string band play made me feel as though I had been transported back in time.
Finally a cocktail was in order and the little cocktail bar was a lovely environment, with fairy lights twinkling and soft fabric draped from the ceiling, the bar lady was speedy and friendly and the cocktail was delicious!
Who knew gin could be so much fun? And who knew there were so many types? I now know why so many people are fans, I had a lovely evening and my friend agreed it was one of the better nights out she’s had. To top it off we found ourselves in a little bar down the road listening to some more music and finishing the night off with one for the road (Rest assured neither of us were driving that night though).
Thank you to the Gin Festival for your hospitality and for a wonderful introduction to the world of Gin. I’m now a fan.
If you’d like to find out more, or would like to find out if there is a Gin Festival near you, click here- Gin Festival
*We were guests of the Gin Festival for this event, alcohol however was purchased and all opinions my own.