Food

All the best ways to celebrate gin: festivals, teas and tours to get your juniper on

Posted by
Stylist Team
Published

Bit fond of mother’s ruin? Aren’t we all…  

In fact, we’re so obsessed with good old gin that there’s a whole day devoted to celebrating its existence. World Gin Day, organised by juniper maven Gin Monkey, has been going for eight years now, so we thought we’d pay tribute to the juniper-laden juice with a myriad of wonderful ways to celebrate gin throughout the rest of the year.

We’ve pulled together fabulous gin-soaked tours, tasters, classes and cocktails around the UK to indulge in, and there’s something for every lover of genever. Fancy a bar with 300 gins on the shelf or adding a bottle infused with seaweed to your own collection? How about visiting a hotel-slash-distillery or indulging in the simple pleasure of a perfect Negroni?

Click through our round-up below and enjoy as responsibly as you see fit…

Premixed treat (nationwide)
What:
Forget gin in a can: this Spotless Martini premix is a cut above, coming from cocktail supremo Mr Lyan. Make like Bond, only with time to spare.
The details: £27.95, masterofmalt.com

Ice cream for adults (London)
When: Daily
What: Fortnum and Mason’s pretty-as-a-picture parlour not only offers a Build Your Own Sundae menu to concoct yourself a tower of ice-cream heaven (with grown-up touches such as gold leaf and meringue buttons), but guests can tuck into a ‘gin and tonic float’. Featuring Fortnum’s gin, cucumber and mint sorbet, gin and lime jelly, lemon sorbet and tonic water, you can always treat yourself to a bottle of the strong stuff afterwards.
The details: Gin and Tonic float, £12.50, BYO sundae from £6.50. Mon to Sat 10am–7pm, Sun 11.30am–5pm. 181 Piccadilly, London, W1A 1ER; fortnumandmason.com

Make your own (Plymouth)
When: Daily
What: The Black Friars gin distillery in Plymouth is the oldest gin distillery in England, dating back to 1793. There are three different tours on offer, but we can personally recommend The Master Distiller’s Tour – you get to distill your own gin, using your choice of botanicals, and take it home with you at the end.
The details: The Master Distiller’s Tour lasts two and a half hours and is £40 per person. 60 Southside Street, The Barbican, Plymouth, PL1 2LQ; plymouthgin.com

Martini Bar (Bath)
When: Daily
What: Bath Gin’s Canary Gin Bar is a two-floor venue with a dedicated Martini Bar and several gin concoctions for your delectation.
The details: Mon to Sat. 2-3 Queen Street, Bath, BA1 1HE; thebathgincompany.co.uk

A post shared by Gin Journey (@ginjourney) on

Gin Journey (Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Manchester)
When: Regularly
What: A chauffeur-driven tour of five gin parlours in your chosen city. Sounds divine, right? No taxis, no queues, but plenty of learning about gin and, of course, drinking the stuff. In London, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Manchester and Leeds the tour includes a distillery.
The details: From £53.30 depending on city and journey, private parties welcome. Book tickets at ginjourney.com

Tour and tasting (London)
When: Sundays to Thursdays
What: East London Liquor Company’s experts run tours throughout the year. Gin lovers should go for the Spirit of Gin, while those with a partner not quite so fond of the stuff can book the Tasting Experience for Two, which takes in a variety of spirits.
The details: Spirit of Gin includes a G&T on arrival, distillery tour and tasting of seven spirits, £45 per person (available through Virgin Experience Days). Distillery Tasting Experience for Two includes distillery tour and tasting of five spirits, £40 for two people (available through Virgin Experience Days). Unit GF1, 221 Grove Rd, London, E3 5SN; eastlondonliquorcompany.com

Rock Samphire Gin (nationwide)
What: Curio’s highly seasonal Rock Samphire Gin is on the bottling line from summer until the samphire season ends in autumn. Rock samphire (or sea fennel) from the Cornish cliffs is used to add a spiciness, while another botanical is kombu seaweed sourced by The Cornish Seaweed Company.
The details: From £20, curiospiritscompany.co.uk

The gin hotel (London)
When: Open now
What: A gin hotel. Yep. Portobello Road Gin, already famed for its mini museum The Ginstitute, has opened a four-floor complex round the corner called The Distillery, comprising a distillery (of course), visitor centre, restaurant, bar and three hotel rooms. A veritable gin paradise.
The details: 186 Portobello Road, London, W11 1LA; the-distillery.london

Gin club (Scotland)
When: Regularly
What: Gin Club Scotland is a touring tasting session, basically. There are events over the year around Scotland, while private tastings, patisserie pairings and bespoke events can be booked too. There’s plenty of local gin (70% of the UK’s gin is produced north of the border) and you’ll be given a breakdown at the end of your own personal taste so you’ll know what to shop for in future.
The details: Visit the website for details of upcoming tastings; ginclubscotland.com

Gin glider (Somerset)
When: Daily
What: The Queens Arms in Somerset is an award-winning Georgian inn which stocks a wide selection of mother’s ruin in its bar. Those overwhelmed by choice can choose a gin glider to taste three different versions alongside premium tonic. The pub offers rooms and cottages too should you overindulge…
The details: Gin gliders are £15. Corton Denham, Sherborne, Somerset, DT9 4LR; thequeensarms.com

DIY sloe gin (Devon)
When: Daily
What: Learn how to make cider and sloe gin at Bovey Castle in Dartmoor National Park by candlelight. Start by pressing apples in the long barn and finish with a taste of your creations.
The details: Sessions last approximately 90 minutes, £30 per person (overnight stay in a double room £179, including spa access). To book call Bovey Castle on 01647 445 000. North Bovey, Dartmoor National Park, Devon, TQ13 8RE; boveycastle.com

A post shared by Gin Foundry (@ginfoundryuk) on

Junipalooza (London)
When: 9th and 10th June
What: Gin Foundry’s Junipalooza bills itself as a “unique gin festival” thanks to the emphasis on meeting the makers passionate about the international gins they’ll be showing off. Check out the website to find everything you ever wanted to know about gin, including reviews, cocktail recipes and a distillery map.
The details: ginfoundry.com

Peas, please (Cambridge)
When: Daily
What: Cambridge bar-restaurant Pint Shop takes it gin seriously. So seriously, in fact, that there’s more than 100 on the bar - alongside it’s vert own blend too, which is allegedly the only gin in the world to use peas as the leading botanical (taking inspiration from its location on Peas Hill). To herd all this gin love into digestible chunks, the menu is split into four sections – ‘House Serves’, ‘Distilled Gin’, ‘Gin and Tonic’ and ‘Other Gin’. Enjoy.
The details: Open seven days a week from 12pm (Sundays from 11am). 10 Peas Hill, Cambridge, CB2 3PN; pintshop.co.uk

The Tate’s tipple (London)
When: Daily
What: Tate Modern’s 10-story Switch House extension, opened in June 2016, houses the Modern Bar, serving specially created Tate Gin from London distillery Sacred in its cocktails and G&Ts, created seasonally using botanicals such as cardamom, pink grapefruit, liquorice and angelica for a classic, clean citrus flavour.
The details: Tate Gin is available in Tate Modern Bar (Switch House, Level 1), Tate Modern Restaurant (Switch House, Level 9) and Tate Modern New Members Bar (Boiler House, Level 6). Bankside, London, SE1 9TG; tate.org.uk

Tasty tour (Highlands)
When: Daily
What: Balmenach Distillery, home to Caorunn Gin, has opened its doors to the public and now offers a tour. The distillery sits in the heart of Speyside’s rolling hills, with breathtaking views of the Highlands, and visitors will be guided through the process of turning hand-foraged ingredients into the small-batch gin before enjoying a tasting and nosing session.
The details: Mon to Thurs, 11.30am, £10 per person. Call 01479 874933 or email tour@caorunngin.com. Balmenach Distillery, Cromdale, Scotland, PH26 3PF; caorunngin.com

Supermarket sip (nationwide)
What: The Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin by Aldi is award-winning, and also comes in a 99p premix G&T can. What more could you ask for?
The details: £9.97; Aldi

Preach the good word (Manchester)
When: Daily
What: Atlas Bar on Deansgate has more than 250 gins in its ‘gin bible’, so there’s a sip for all here, as well as monthly gin supper clubs hosted by different distillers.
The details: Open from 12pm. 376 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LY; atlasbarmanchester.com

Seaweed gin (nationwide)
What: Gin made from seaweed, yes. Dà Mhìle Gin is an artisanal, organic gin distilled with herbs, spices and hand-picked local seaweed from the Welsh coast. Seems appropriate to accompany it with a seafood dish, right?
The details: £17.50, vintageroots.co.uk

Legendary Martinis (London)
When: Daily
What: This London joint at the Meliá White House hotel is the best way to experience legendary Barcelona bar Dry Martini without hopping on a plane. There’s a selection of 80 gins, each with a bespoke cocktail recipe that can be knocked up by experts at the three-metre bar while you admire the science equipment in the drinks laboratory. Each guest ordering the Dry Martini also receives a personalised certificate (and every cocktail notches up the digital counter behind the bar).
The details: Open from 1pm, Martinis from £14. Meliá White House, Albany Street, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 3UP; melia.com

Pig out (Cardiff)
When: Daily
What: What better way to accompany acclaimed food than with a gin or three? The Potted Pig’s seasonal dishes have been praised since its 2010 opening, and the drinks list has been carefully curated, including gins that sit oh-so-well with pork. And well, anything.
The details: Open Tue to Sun from 12pm. 27 High Street, Cardiff CF10 1PU; thepottedpig.com

DIY gin (nationwide)
What: You can craft your very own gin – and it takes a mere 36 hours. This set includes glass bottles, stainless steel strainer and funnel, and carefully selected botanical ingredients.
The details: £49.99, thefowndry.com

Take your pick (London)
When: Daily
What: Graphic Bar in Soho has always been a juniper-laden hotspot, boasting more than 300 gins in its collection. Sample a few at leisure, or join the monthly Gin Social which sees producers hosting fun, informative evenings.
The details: Open Mon to Sat from 12pm. 4 Golden Square, London, W1F 9HT; graphicbar.com

Gin mix (nationwide)
What: The Wingfield is a gin-based aperitif, a blend of London dry, cucumber, pink grapefruit, elderflower and other fruits and spices. Drink as a Spritz with soda water or sparkling wine.
The details: £37, Harvey Nichols. Also available at Hedonism Wines, The Oxford Wine Company)

Sipping Society (Nationwide)
When: Bi-monthly
What: The Sipsmith Sipping Society delivers two 20cl bottles of gin direct to your door every other month. These experimental flavours are exclusive to Sipping Society members and unable to be bought anywhere else. Previous flavours have even included Strawberries & Cream gin, Gingerbread gin and Popcorn gin! Yes. Please.
The details: £35 bi-monthly or £180 annually. Sipsmith.com

G&Tea (Cardiff)
When: Daily
What: Park Plaza Cardiff has teamed up with Hendrick’s Gin to combine two lovely English classics: afternoon tea and gin. Gin cocktails served in a vintage Hendrick’s teapot, no less.
The details: Served daily in Laguna Kitchen & Bar, 1.30pm–5.30pm, £21.95 per person. Greyfriars Road, Cardiff, CF10 3AL; lagunakitchenandbar.com

Top tonic (nationwide)
What: With so many gins out there, the tonic definitely isn’t one-size-fits-all. Fever-Tree has a range of mixers, including elderflower tonic water, lemon tonic and the rose-tinted aromatic tonic, designed to pair with more robust gins.
The details: Widely available

Drink like a queen (Windsor)
When: Daily
What: Sip a gin and Dubonnet (rumoured to be the Queen’s favourite pre-lunch tipple) and indulge in ever-so-British tea and cakes at the Bel & The Dragon pub, just a stone’s throw from her majesty’s castle. Use the excuse that you’re simply celebrating one of her twice-yearly birthdays.
The details: Bar opens from 10am Mon to Sun. Cocktails from £6, afternoon tea from £13 per person. Thames Street, 1 Datchet Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1QB; belandthedragon-windsor.co.uk

Gin, gin, everywhere… (nationwide)
When: Various dates
What: Gin Festival is, as the name suggests, a gin festival. With gin. Did we mention that? It takes place in UK cities throughout the year (Portsmouth, Sheffield, Guildford, Cardiff, Leeds, London and so on), usually with entertainment, talks, food and more than 100 gins to try, including gins crafted especially for the event. Entry price includes a glass to take home.
The details: There are usually several sessions in each city, prices vary. Visit ginfestival.com for details.

Shipshape sips (London)
When: Daily
What: The Clipper Bar at the Intercontinental London boasts a design nodding to its riverside location and, within its 40-strong collection of gins, it offers a bespoke Clipper Gin with an alcohol percentage of 43.6% (which, we’re told, happens to be the highest recorded speed of a clipper boat during 17th-century races).
The details: 1 Waterview Drive, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0TW; iclondon-theo2.com

Seasonal gin (nationwide)
When: Available seasonally
What: Rock Rose Gin has seasonal editions, with hand-foraged seasonal botanicals and limited-edition bottles. The 2018 spring edition features gorse flowers, dandelion and Coltsfoot (once used in confectionery). All botanicals are hyper local, harvested within one mile of the Scottish distillery’s gardens.
The details: £37.50, keep an eye on dunnetbaydistillers.co.uk for new releases.

A post shared by Jenever (@jeneverginbar) on

70 sips (Liverpool)
When: Weds to Sun
What: Jenever Gin Bar offers more than 70 gins to enjoy with tonic, in a cocktail from the extensive menu, alongside an afternoon tea or in a four-gin tasting set.
The details: Open Weds to Sun. 29a Hope St, Liverpool L1 9BQ; jenever.co.uk

Dorset drinking (nationwide)
When: Available now
What: Conker Spirit’s Dorset Dry balances 10 select botanicals, including particularly Dorset notes of elderberries, samphire and hand-picked gorse flowers. Fitting for the county’s very first gin distillery.
The details: From £22, now available in-store and online at fortnumandmason.com

Eat, drink and be merry (Edinburgh)
When: Daily
What: The owner of The Stockbridge Restaurant, Jane Walker, prides herself on her eclectic drinks list and her passion for Martinis done right. The gin collection boasts saffron-infused Old Raj, sea-buckthorn gin Eden and an oaked Strathearn number. She also regularly teams up with Daffy’s Gin to host masterclasses.
The details: 54 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh EH3 5AL; thestockbridgerestaurant.co.uk

A post shared by Slingsby (@slingsbysocial) on

Just the tonic (Harrogate)
When: Daily
What: The Slingsby Gin Experience offers three sessions: The Spirit of Gin (history lesson and cocktail tips), The Cocktail Master (mixology masterclass) and Just the Tonic (how to find the perfect match). All include four drinks, canapes and various tasters.
The details: £40 per person. 5-7 Montpellier Parade, Harrogate HG1 2TJ; wslingsby.co.uk

Muriel’s menu (Belfast)
When: Daily
What: Muriels Cafe Bar is the little sister of The Spaniard and by all accounts has a huge selection of gins (including the local Shortcross) served Spanish-style. That is to say, huge balloon glasses, a load of ice and various garnishes.
The details: 12-14 Church Lane, Belfast, BT1 4QN; 028 9033 2445

Variety pack (nationwide)
What: Test your taste buds with a Deluxe Gin Tasting Set, containing samples of gin from different distillers.
The details: £49.95, masterofmalt.com

Mobile mixes (London)
When: Various dates
What: Jim and Tonic is gin on the move. Usually popping up at various London festivals and events, the van offers G&T based slushies and ice lollies (that’s us sold), sandwiches and teas, as well as tastings and classes here and there. You can hire them for events, too.
The details: Find out more at jimandtonic.com

Booze cruising (Edinburgh)
When: Summer
What: Juniper Cruises are gin tastings on the Union Canal aboard The Lochrin Belle boat. The two-hour trips include tastings, cocktails and food. On a canal!
The details: £37.50 per person, for two hours. Sets sail from the Lochrin Basin, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh; solid-liquids.co.uk

Bill’s gin (nationwide)
What: Bill’s Restaurants has released its own gin, a London Dry using cardamom and cubeb berries for a slightly spicy finish. Designed to be paired with classic tonic, or Bill’s elderflower pressé for a summery edge.
The details: £29.95, in restaurants online at bills-shop.co.uk

Take a tea (nationwide)
What: A premium gin distilled with hand-picked Ceylon tea in Aberdeenshire, The Teasmith Gin has been created with a nod to the area’s tea-trading history.
The details: £37.50, teasmithgin.com

Cumbrian gem (Lake District)
When: Daily
What: The Lakes Distillery in Cumbria produces whisky, gin and vodka and offers various guided tours and tastings, including meeting and feeding the on-site herd of alpacas (yep, you read that correctly). Afternoon teas and cocktail-making classes can also be arranged.
The details: From £12.50. Setmurthy, near Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria CA13 9SJ; lakesdistillery.com

Winning gin (nationwide)
When: Any time
What: Voted World’s Best Gin 2018 in the World Gin Awards, Swedish Hernö Old Tom Gin is one to try as soon as possible. Aside from the stylish branding, the flavour is described as floral, with notes of pine, honey and spice.
Details: £34.96, Master of Malt

American beauty
When: Monday - Saturday: 11.30am - 12.00am
Sundays: 12.00pm - 12.00am
What: The American Bar at The Savoy snagged the number one slot at The World’s 50 Best Bars awards last year. That’s quite an achievement. It is also the oldest surviving American bar in London. Accompanied by a live pianist and dinky bowls of snacks, this is hard to beat as a spot to enjoy a classic cocktail. With an extensive gin cocktail menu, you might order ‘The Googly’. Inspired by Laurence Olivier, it features Hendrick’s gin, Lillet, dessert wine, lemon, apple, raspberry, sugar, cucumber and watermelon soda.
Details: The Googly is £22. The Savoy, Strand, London WC2R 0EZ.

Images: Getty / Courtesy of brands