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

Posted by
Amy Swales
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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...

  • Go on gin safari (London)

    When: Daily

    What: Eccentric Mr Fogg’s Tavern in London offers a Gin Safari – a tasting of six gins guided by experts, and with two G&Ts thrown in. Top it off with one of the new gin cocktails, such as a Purple Lady (seen in main image), infused with blue butterfly pea flowers. G&Tea is also available – the truly gin-obsessed can opt for the bottomless version.

    The details: Bottomless G&Tea £140 for two from Virgin Experience Days, 90-minute gin safaris £40 per person. 58 St. Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4EA; mr-foggs.com

  • 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 gin and tonic-flavoured sorbet. It’s made from Fortnum’s own London Dry Gin, so you can always treat yourself to a bottle afterwards.

    The details: Sorbet from £6, 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 at the end of it, using your choice of botanicals, and take it home.

    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

  • 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 and Edinburgh, the tour includes a distillery, there are Leicester dates available in September to celebrate the city's football win, a botanical-themed evening is available in Liverpool, while London also hosts the offshoot Negroni Journey.

    The details: From £45 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 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 the 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 regularly stocks a wide selection of mother’s ruin on its bar. Those overwhelmed by choice can choose a gin glider to taste three different versions alongside premium tonic, while there’s also the G&TEA afternoon tea to enjoy your juniper sip alongside traditional finger sandwiches, scones, jams and cakes. The pub offers rooms and cottages too should you overindulge...

    The details: Gin gliders are £15 and G&TEA is £19 per person, served 3pm–5pm. Corton Denham, Sherborne, Somerset, DT9 4LR; thequeensarms.com

  • Two for one (nationwide)

    When: Every Thursday

    What: Double trouble: Slug and Lettuce have launched #TanquerayThursdays – two-for-one G&Ts at its locations nationwide.

    The details: Find your nearest Slug and Lettuce at slugandlettuce.co.uk

  • 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

  • Junipalooza (London)

    When: Annually

    What: Gin Foundry’s Junipalooza bills itself as a “unique gin festival” thanks to the emphasis on meeting the makers passionate about the gins they’ll be showing off from all over the world. It's an annual event, so keep an eye on the website for details (2016's was held in June). There you'll also find everything you ever wanted to know about gin, including reviews, cocktail recipes and a distillery map. Oh, and it's also the genius behind the Ginvent calendar.

    The details: ginfoundry.com

  • Peas, please (Cambridge)

    When: Daily

    What: Cambridge bar-restaurant Pint Shop takes it gin seriously. So seriously in fact there’s more than 100 on the bar and offers its very own too, 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

  • Bottomless teapots (London)

    When: Mon to Sat

    What: Bottomless teapots of super local gin cocktails (Bermondsey Tonic Water syrup, Little Nan’s Early Grey Gin, ingredients from Deptford market) served with home-made scones, sandwiches and cakes made to family recipes (as well as pick‘n’mix) at fun 90s joint Little Nan's Rio Bar in Dalston.

    The details: Open Tues to Sat from 5pm, bottomless teapots from £18. The Basement at The Golden Anchor, 16 Evelina Rd, London, SE15 2DX; littlenans.co.uk

  • Supermarket sip (nationwide)

    What: The Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin by Aldi is award-winning, beating a tonne of well-known brands costing as much as six times more. What better excuse to sneak one into your weekly shop? (It also comes in a 99p premix G&T can.)

    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 produced distilled with herbs, spices and hand-picked local seaweed from the Welsh coast. Seems appropriate to accompany 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 3-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 several? 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: £44.99, 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 the monthly Gin Social 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 new 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: £28.95, masterofmalt.com (also available from Harvey Nichols, Hedonism Wines, The Oxford Wine Company)

  • Monthly sipping (nationwide)

    When: Quarterly

    What: The Sipsmith Sipping Society delivers gin to your door every quarter. That’s four experimental gins with tasting notes and serving suggestions through your letterbox every three months. Yes. Please.

    The details: £45 per quarter or £160 for an annual subscription. 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 fave 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 maj’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 etc), 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.

  • Experiential imbibing (London)

    When: Daily

    What: TRADE UNION is an “experiential blended restaurant and bar concept” in Wapping in conjunction with speciality coffeehouse Vagabond, male groomers Drakes of London and florist Maua London. Pizzas are on offer too, but what we’re most interested in is obviously the separate gin bar, which will serve eight different G&Ts and 10 gin-based cocktails.

    The details: Open daily 7am–2am. G&Ts from £8.95. Thomas More Square, London, E1; trade-union.co.uk

  • Genial gins (Leeds)

    When: Daily

    What: Relax in the Gin Garden at The New Ellington hotel, where more than 100 gins and a range of mixers await your perusal. Feeling overwhelmed? Choose a cocktail or become a member of the free-to-join gin club, which gets you 15% off gins there for the rest of your life. Enough time to find a fave.

    The details: The New Ellington, 23-25 York Place, Leeds LS1 2EY; thenewellington.com

  • Shipshape sips (London)

    When: Daily

    What: The Clipper Bar at the Intercontinental London – The O2 boasts design nodding to its riverside location and, within its 40-strong collection of gins, 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). Gin-tasting experiences are also available.

    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 2017 Summer Edition can be preordered from June 1, and features meadowsweet and elderflower for a light floral note, plus lemon balm and clover. 2016’s Winter Edition was led by spruce tips collected the previous December. 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 release

  • 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 as is 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

  • Just the tonic (Harrogate)

    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

  • Go antique (nationwide)

    What: Extend your love of vintage to your gin with this Drinks by the Dram set, containing five samples of gin from the 50s and 70s, from brands such as Booth’s, Gilbey’s and Gordon’s, complete with tasting notes.

    The details: £53.95, 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 (sold), sandwiches and teas, as well as tastings and classes here and there.

    The details: Check Jim and Tonic’s Facebook and Instagram pages for upcoming events.

  • 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: £31 per person. 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 a suggested serve is with 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 heard 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

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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.

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