So, this is basically springtime in Glasgow.
And while, I can appreciate how adorable red wellies can be… What you’re missing out on is all the crazy diagonal rain slicing at your cheeks, bits of hail going on and off and strong gusts of humid wind that makes you sweat underneath all the layers of rain protection.
And this will continue for the next few months. Yay…
But, even slightly warmer weather means that spring has arrived and gin definitely seems like a good way to start the season.
So a wee while ago, I saw a deal via itison for a ticket to a gin festival, which was meant to include six samples of gin, unlimited tonic/mixers and fruits and less interesting some ‘local’ entertainment and guest speakers all for £24. Seemed quite reasonable, especially since it’s normally £40.
So the company hosting is Times Like These – who I’ve never heard of and to be honest couldn’t and still can’t really find information on. Their website looks a little dodgy as I think they are very new to this. Still, I pitched the idea to a pal and we thought, well it’s in town and there’s gin. It can’t be too bad.
And luckily it wasn’t…
So the event was held at Trades Hall, home to city weddings and business conferences. I had literally been in the building for the first time the week previous for three hours of work filled jargon. This time when I entered the building I felt like I was attending someone’s wedding and that possibly my faux leather jacket was a bit casual for the affair.
We arrived a little late, but basically the set up was a wedding reception. Giant circular clothed tables and someone greets you upon entry and basically points and tells you where to sit.
And this is awaits you. There were a few bottles of tonic (not enough for the table) and bowls of lime, blood orange, lemon and green pepper.
Our table was made up for parties of 2-3 people, so initially it was really awkward as you needed to ask strangers for tonic, bottle openers etc. I would say the event was mostly for 35-50s, but definitely saw families and a few girl groups making the most of it.
The event itself wasn’t great. A ‘guest’ speaker came on about 20 minutes in, literally begging the audience to spread the word about the festivals because he has children in university and his patter (or lack of) came across slightly aggressive. Maybe because no one was interested in what he had to say – the audience was talking over him right from the very start.
Same with the entertainment. I want to assume this is a little family business and it was the son or family friend that was performing on an acoustic guitar for a good chunk of three hour event. So, in that respect you know, e for effort. But really… just stick some generic tunes on in the background, because that is what music should be at this type of event. Background. I don’t want to yell for someone to hear me, especially if that someone is a stranger I need a lime from.
So, I’m going to admit this now. I’m a bit of a lightweight when it comes to alcohol. To me, six gins in a three hour time span is a pretty good amount, if not too much. So, midway through everyone was feeling pretty happy and loud, even when tonic and lemons were running low. So, for the gins – all local, all Scottish.
1. NB Gin was the gin already poured in our tumbler’s upon arrival. I’d say, think Gordon’s. Just a gin, not awful, but not great.
2. Edinburgh based Pickering’s with their limited release 1947 gin. This is definitely a gin for the colder months. It has cinnamon, cardamom and clove hints, so mixed with blood orange it became quite festive. It injected a little warmth into my cheeks. Really enjoyable, especially since gins tend to be more botanic.
Later on servers came by with little bottles of The Botantist and Makar. The only reason I like gin now is because last year I discovered The Botantist… and soda water. Turns out I’m not keen on tonic, but it was the only option in this place so I feel after a few I might be used it. Win. Anyway…
3. The Botanist is just so clean. No alcohol sting whatsoever, I find it the smoothest and most refreshing of the gins. All the way from Islay, I cannot recommend it more. Again, botanical, but no overwhelming since of florals in the flavor. I know smooth isn’t actually a taste, but trust me. Try it.
Luckily I was able to get an extra wee shot of this when the server was making the rounds … so that makes seven.
4. Makar, to me, is the exact kind of taste I would think of a Glasgow made gin – rough. There is something that tastes unfinished about this product, but I think it comes from the mix of spices in the gin. Some strong flavors like peppercorn, liquorice, and rosemary definitely make for an interesting combination that leaves too bitter of an aftertaste. But, cute bottle.
5. Rock Rose seemed to be a table favorite and even converted a non-gin fan over. Upon the first sip all I got was straight burning alcohol; think vodka. After a few more sips endured, the sting mellowed and overall the gin tasted perfectly fine. I wouldn’t complain if it was served to me again.
6. Last, and potentially least was Gilt, which I believe is the cheapest gin. Again, a bit of a rough finish. Tasted almost chemical. I didn’t bother finishing it because suddenly a new drink became available.
So, right toward the end of the day, a little table popped up for a blended whiskey strawberry liqueur… what?
Fraiser of Scotland have created something very special here. I’m definitely not a whiskey drinker, much more of a strawberry fan – but this combination is excellent. The liqueur is a lovely sweet strawberry syrup with a hint of whiskey. A bit like Fragola. They mixed it with ginger ale and a bit of lime and that’s me sold. I’m going to pick some up for when the sun actually does come out.
So, basically it was an intense three hours of alcohol and chat. I left starving for stodge and with rosy cheeks. I’m not sure I would attend this event again, however I am glad I did (strawberry whiskey!) and I did have a good time. Getting eight drinks for £24 is a pretty fair deal. I would definitely say make sure you’re in good company and that you like gin.
Also, that you get the ticket on sale.