I was invited to attend the Gin Festival when it came to Cardiff and as I had heard really good things about the first time the festival came to Cardiff in 2015 I was really excited to go. There are a few stages to go through before enjoying your gin but it’s all really straightforward and worth it. You pay £7.50 entry which also gets you a pretty gin glass to use at the festival (and take home afterwards) and a little book about all the gins available and which bar to get them from. You also have to buy drinks tokens which are £5 each. One token gets you a choice of gin, some tonic (all Fever-Tree as they sponsor the festival) and a garnish for your drink. You can also visit the cocktail bar where it is two tokens per drink. There is also an off licence so can get your favourite gins delivered to your door.
Once I got to the festival at Portland House I followed the signs to the gin and had a little flick through my book to see what took my fancy. I decided to fold over the pages of the gins that stood out to me straightaway as I thought reading through the book would get harder with each gin consumed.
I tried a few different gins but of course the gins flavoured with tea stood out for me. I tried Masons Tea Gin which is distilled with Yorkshire Tea and made with Harrogate spring water. It was served with Indian tonic water and garnished with lemon over ice. It was really warming to drink but smooth at the same time which is perfect for a tea gin. I also tried Tarquin’s Single Estate Cornish Tea Gin which is made with Tregothnan tea. As Tarquin’s work alongside Gin Festival this is a limited edition which is exclusively available at the festivals. It was served with Indian tonic water and garnished with hibiscus over ice. The addition of kaffir lime zest and ginger to the gin make it another warming drink.
The festival also has free masterclasses you can attend. In Portland House they were held in an old vault downstairs giving them a great atmosphere. You learn about gin in general and about the specific businesses and what makes their gins special. I attended masterclasses by Sir Robin of Locksley, Poetic Licence, Pinkster and Brockmans Gin. They were all really engaging and enjoyable and I enjoyed all the gins sampled. The companies which held the masterclasses also had stands upstairs where you could talk to them about their gins and sample them.