For the ticket price we got a book telling us all about the different gins on offer, tasters from trade stands, cocktail demos and live entertainment. Unfortunately they were all out of goody bags when we arrived at lunch time on Sunday so just got handed the ‘gin bible’ and our glass which we’d get cleaned out and re-filled when we picked whichever gin we fancied.
We bought our £20 cards which gave us 4 gins to try and set off to scope the place out. I’d never been in the Corn Exchange before but i believe I was in the main hall which is very much like my assembly hall from secondary school (I’m still smarting from a lack of gorgeous Aberdeen HMT style theatre). There was a DJ booth on the stage with fairground games below it and a few tables and chairs as well as some barrels for tables too.
I'm not really a gin drinker and would much prefer a cocktail so I happily went to the cocktail masterclass first with half of our group. The first drink made was a White Lady, the second was a Basil Fawlty, but I just can’t remember the third. It was super sour and really delicious so I wish I remembered it more than the Basil Fawlty as I wasn’t really a fan, however it had lots of elderflower cordial in it which isn’t my cup of tea anyway. All of the cocktails he had chosen were in the top 100 gin cocktails (I didn’t even think there’d be that many) as voted by various well known bars throughout the world.
The cocktail guru kindly warned us all that the White Lady had raw egg white in it so we should avoid it if pregnant…..oh yeah, and don’t drink either. I'm sure it was all said on purpose but it was funny all the same (in a Dad joke sort of way).
Afterwards, we walked around the trade stalls and had some samples there. Some of the group were offering advice about which drinks were best and I tried them all accordingly. Now I’m normally someone who drinks a half a shot of Malibu every fortnight once it’s been thoroughly watered down with loads of lemonade and pineapple juice. Therefor before drinking even a single paid for drink I was ‘over my limit’. However, being the trooper that I am I ploughed on with my first gin (a Scottish one) and then a strawberry one for my second. By now everyone needed something to soak up the alcohol a bit so a few of us went in search for seats and chips. Having found both I decided to start filling up on water and gave away my remaining two drinks whilst texting Mark to ask for a BBQ for tea.All in all it was a great day out; I would definitely visit the gin festival again if it was on our doorstep. However, I do think with a large group I would recommend commandeering a place to sit relatively early whilst people take turns visiting the stalls or cocktail making demonstrations. I'm now just on the lookout for a rum festival….oh well, if I do have to visit a far off Caribbean island for it I must!