Imagine relaxing on a deckchair on a sunny day with a gin and tonic in your hand. There’s a nice breeze and you can smell the BBQ. You’re not on the beach, but in one of the London’s most beautiful venues, The Roof Gardens in Kensington, where the flamingos (yes, real flamingos!) wander freely and gin is poured endlessly. Sounds perfect, right?
Summer is the best time to visit London. There are many drink-related events, anything from Cocktail Week to Imbibe Live to several gin fairs. Have you ever thought of taking part in something like this? It’s a great way to have a laugh and learn something new.
I’ve visited quite a few and some of the bigger fairs are too busy, with hundreds of people all queuing to taste different brands. These events can sometimes seem overwhelming. It feels like when you’ve been to one gin fair, you’ve seen them all. Yet the Telegraph Gin Experience left me positively surprised…
What’s so special about the Telegraph Gin Experience?
The event takes place over two days and is located in the beautiful Roof Gardens in Kensington. You can choose from an afternoon or evening slot. The ticket includes a welcome cocktail, delicious BBQ and private gin fair. You are given a glass at the beginning to sample gins and tonics. Drink them neat, on the rocks or as G&T! Your glass won’t stay empty for long!
What makes the event so unique is that you will have a great chance to chat with each brand, find out more about the distillery, which botanicals they use, and learn how to serve their gins perfectly. I am not saying this is not possible at other gin events, but it definitely is much easier at the Telegraph Gin Experience as you don’t need to rush through it. You can get a drink, relax, then go back and learn some more – it feels more like a garden party than a gin fair.
There’s no better way to spend your day than enjoying the sunshine, socialising and drinking gin.
How about the gins?
This year they had 11 gin brands, with about 50 different G&T combinations to play around with. To mention a few: Martin Millers, Caorunn, Slingsby, Bathtub Gin, Edinburgh Gin, Curio and Brockman’s. Personally, I would have liked to see a few more handcrafted small-batch gins, but overall, I felt a small number of brands worked better for the event. You could spend much more time with each one than in some of the bigger fairs I’ve been to.
Some stands let you choose your own garnishes, try the gins neat and with different flavoured Fever-Tree tonics. Fever-Tree was the only tonic brand at the event, therefore you had an opportunity to really test how different flavour combinations worked with different gins. As part of the welcome booklet there was an ultimate gin and tonic pairing guide, which had recommendations for which tonics to use with specific gins. There was definitely a drink for everyone’s taste!
At the end of the event you had a chance to buy any of the gins available on the day from their small pop-up shop.
And what’s the cost?
The tickets were £60 or, if you wanted to take part in one of the two masterclasses, the ticket price was £75. It might sound pricey at first, but you are in London, the venue is beautiful and the event lasts four to five hours! Make a day out of it, don’t just pop in.
This year you could choose from An Edible Highland Garden Masterclass, where you could learn how to use fresh botanicals in cocktails, and A Liquid History of Gin by Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley, drink experts, authors and Wine and Spirits Competition judges. Both very interesting and exciting masterclasses.
With both tickets you could also enjoy a sumptuous summer BBQ, including five types of salad, meats, fish, grilled vegetables and delicious desserts.
As if that wasn’t enough, there was a gift bag waiting for you at the end, filled with mint chocolates, Fever-Tree tonics, crackers and a mini Bathtub Gin bottle!
A great day out; London is the place to be on a sunny day, and there was no rush to run around. The Roof Gardens always amaze me, especially with flamingos and ducklings hanging around. People were chatting not only with the gin ambassadors but with each other, a real party vibe.
The afternoon slot I found more for a slightly older generation and it would be a great way to spend time with your parents if you fancy taking your mum or dad (or both) out for a treat! The evening slot is a bit more upbeat as a younger crowd comes for G&Ts after work – a great chance to spend some time with friends. Either way, it was an enjoyable event.
Look forward to seeing what next year’s fair will bring us – I will definitely be there!
Like whisky? Maybe the Telegraph Whisky Experience is for you – 5th & 6th December 2016.