In recent years we have experienced an explosion of craft spirits. Let’s make 2017 the year to learn more about these liquors and current drink trends. It might not always be possible to visit the distilleries, but there are more and more innovative spirit events you can take part in. At these events you get a chance to meet the distillers and discover new tipples.
No matter whether you’re a gin lover or enjoy a wee dram, there will be an event for you. Some last for a day or two, some events can be enjoyed for a whole week (London Cocktail Week, for example). You can choose anything between educational events with seminars or fun festivals with live music; all these events have a great range of brands and products. Some events can be spirits-specific, others have a little bit (or a lot!) of everything. Basically, you are spoiled for choice!
Below I’ve listed some of my favourite spirit events. There are enough interesting and fun events taking place in the UK alone to fill this list, but in case you want to explore further afield, I’ve also listed a few events elsewhere in Europe. Just click the name for more information.
1 Milano White Spirits Festival & Cocktail Show – Milan
25th February 2017
You will be able to taste any white spirit you can think of at this all-day event – anything from rum, gin, vodka to tequila, mezcal, cachaça and more. Take part in seminars and masterclasses or go and enjoy cocktails made from white spirits. The event is free; you just need to remember to register online. There will be a 5 euro charge for the tasting kit, which includes a glass and a glass holder.
2 Spirit of Amsterdam – Amsterdam
4th March 2017
This international whisky event will take place in a beautiful 17th-century church. There will be masterclasses and seminars where you can improve your whisky knowledge. The ticket will also include a Clencairn’s tasting glass, which is considered a collector’s item. Tickets are 39 euros for a three-hour session or 70 euros for two people. A perfect event to learn more about whisky.
3 Spirit of Scotland – Rome
4th–5th March 2017
This is one of the most important drink events in Italy. Spirit of Scotland offers over 2,000 labels to celebrate whisky worldwide. The event takes place over two days and has seminars and masterclasses for you to learn something new, or you can just enjoy tasting some fine whiskies and trying them in cocktails. Tickets are only 10 euros and the event lasts from 2pm till 11pm!
4 Mother’s Ruin – Brighton & Hove
10th June 2017
OMG!! I have no words for how excited I am about this event – it sounds divine! A gin-fuelled Edwardian garden party at Hove Lawns is exactly what you need this summer. Save the date and get your early-bird tickets for £10 before 31st March (otherwise £15, still a bargain). Around 40 gins include brands from local producers and others further away.
5 Junipalooza – London
10th–11th June 2017
Junipalooza is back at Tobacco Dock this summer during World Gin Day. Over 40 brands with over 100 gins will keep you busy, yet it allows you enough time to really interact with distillers. This year there’s something extra planned for you – Friday night speed tasting! Distillers will go around the tables to talk to you about their products. It’s literally like a speed date with gin! Tickets are £30, but there’s still some £20 early-bird tickets available!
6 North Hop – Glasgow
16th-17th June 2017
Even if this event was created with craft beer in mind, it has now become much bigger and more like a festival for drinkers and foodies. Plenty of gin, tasty cocktails, amazing street food, live music and, of course, beer and cider! Glaswegians know how to party! Each session is five hours. Early-bird tickets are £15 (+ booking fee).
7 Boutique Bar Show – London
26th September 2017
This is one of my favourite drink events as the venue is beautiful and the exhibitors are all premium brands offering something unique and interesting. You can take part in several seminars and talks or enjoy a masterclass instead. Great atmosphere, just chat away with the distillers whilst sampling all their wonderful products. There’s a wide selection of spirits available and cocktails will be served. Ten out of ten. If you miss out on London, check the dates for Manchester or Edinburgh.
8 Tequila & Mezcal Fest – London
7th-8th October 2017
I love this event because it is so lively, and I am a huge fan of premium tequilas! You exchange some pesos at the entrance to be used for tasting and food. Enjoy live music, Mexican tunes, art and other entertainment whilst eating delicious street food and drinking cocktails. Learn how to pair tequila or mezcal with food, take part in masterclasses and seminars hosted by industry experts or just have a great day eating and drinking with friends. Tickets on sale soon.
9 Barconvent – Berlin
10th-11th October 2017
This is one of the leading international trade shows for the bar and beverage industry. Expect anything from soft drinks to hard liquor to glassware and bar equipment. Brands and visitors all travel to this event from around the world. Two days of entertainment, informative discussions, seminars from top industry experts, tastings and much more, all run with professional German efficiency!
10 Cocktails in the City – Edinburgh
12th-13th October 2017
Edinburgh’s best cocktail bars join forces for two days. With stage demonstrations, masterclasses, DJs, yummy food and special cocktails, this is a great event to go to with friends. The event is hosted in a beautiful venue from 6pm till 11pm. Early-bird tickets cost £10.
Have you visited any drink-related events before? What do you most like about spirit events? Which one would you like to visit in 2017?
Great list! I visited my first and only Gin festival this year at Tobacco Docks, Junipalooza. Absolutely loved it. For £30 I could sample as many gins as I wanted for 4 hours. I got through many. I wanted to viit a gin festival in Brighton later in the summer, but they wanted £15 ( think) entrance fee, then £5 per pop of gin. That would cost too much, so no visit.
My question re the above festivals…where can I see the real costs? Is Junipalooza unique in only charging entry costs?
Glad you enjoyed the post. And the gin festival 😉 Most gin (and other drink) festivals you are allowed to sample everything for free as you pay the entrance fee. Sometimes they do have cocktail bars where you can buy a cocktail or a proper sized G&T. I wasn’t aware you had to pay for drinks in Brighton, how odd. You should be able to find all the info you need online.