They may have called it mother's ruin back in the 18th century, but gin is the most popular spirit around these days. So popular in fact, it has had a whole day dedicated to it since 2009. That’s right, this Saturday, June 14 is World Gin Day. Thankfully, this doesn’t just involve drinking a couple of extra G&Ts on your own. There are gin events going on around the country to celebrate the day and get your spirits lifted (sorry). Here are our top gin-based picks for the whole weekend:
Drunch, London E9
Enjoy your gin on a canal boat. Drunch (or drunken lunch) is a three hour tour of London's canal system, with your own personal Gin Butler pouring the drinks. However much you love - or hate - gin, the Gin Butler will create a bespoke menu of cocktails, to appease your group's taste. Saturday has sold out, but there are still tickets for Sunday available.
Sunday, 2.30pm, £28, eatmyworld.com
Beefeater Distillery Tour, London SE11
If you're feeling traditionalist about the whole thing, why not tour the Beefeater Distillery? One of the oldest in the world, the Kennington Distillery has just opened a visitor's centre and welcomes guests for tours. Telling the history of gin from its days as London's most scandalous spirit, to today's popularity, the short tour has something for everybody - including a free G&T at the end!
Tours available throughout Saturday and Sunday, £12, beefeaterdistillery.com
Gin Garden Party, Leeds
The New Ellington hotel in Leeds is an obvious destination on World Gin Day, as it already has a dedicated Gin Garden in place year round. With an extensive gin list, you can guarantee you'll be in good hands, and what's more, for this weekend only they have 15% off their (numerous) gins, and special drinks ready for the occasion.
All weekend, free, thenewellington.com
Gin and Jazz event, Essex
Ecclectic Witham club Hold the Anchovies is hosting a night of Gin and Jazz in Essex, with an appearance by local jazz singer Catherine Lima, sponsored by their in-house gin Haymans. It promises a soulful affair, and punters are advised to book a table to get the full 'gin club' experience.
Saturday evening, free, worldginday.com
Gin and Jazz party, London EC4Y
If it's just an old-fashioned knees up you're after, the Gin and Jazz party is what you're after. With a glamorous setting, live jazz band, and a special cocktail list, it might be all too easy to put your cares to one side and imagine you're in The Great Gatsby. Ticket price includes three cocktails, canapes and entry into a raffle. And all the proceeds go to charity Malaria No More.
Saturday, 7.30pm, £25, designmynight.com
Scottish Juniper Festival, Edinburgh
Gin is certainly not just an English obsession. Scottish gin brands have sprung up as eagerly as the rest of the country, and it's all being celebrated in the Scottish Juniper Festival on both Friday and Saturday at Summerhall, in the shadow of Arthur's Seat. Entry buys you samples of Scottish and world gins, and a chance to enter into some 'Spiritual Sessions', such as G&T masterclasses.
Friday 5.30pm, Saturday 12-9pm, Sunday £15, summerhall.co.uk
London Gin Experience, London SE11
This is one for the real gin enthusiasts. Shake, Rattle and Stir organise weekly 'experiences', or a double tour of the Kennington Beefeater Distillery and the Sipsmith distillery in Chiswick, showing you how both substances are made. The organisers state that 'no food is provided' so you'll have to watch your gin intake over the course of the afternoon. They also run a slightly naughtier Gin Journey, chauffeuring you between five bars in Central and East London which can be booked for various evenings throughout the summer.
Saturday, 10.45am, £60, shakerattleandstir.com
The Bath Gin Garden Party, Bath
Bath may be home to some spectacular Roman washing equipment and an inspiration to Jane Austen, but it now also has a gin brand to call its own. Bath Gin has recently opened its own bar, The Canary and is now celebrating World Gin Day in the only way it knows - with an old-fashioned party, boasting a tombola, whack-a-(gin)-rat and 18th-century jaunts a-plenty.
Saturday, 8.30pm, free, worldginday.com
Gin Lane Walk, London WC2A
Although this isn't strictly during Gin Weekend (as nobody is calling it), this Wednesday afternoon tour is a chance to use the event to learn something - without getting a hangover. Starting at Lincoln's Inn Fields and ending at the Royal College of Physicians, walk through the areas of London where gin became the scourge of the 18th century, as depicted in William Hogath's famous painting - you guessed it - Gin Lane.
Wednesday 18th June, 1.30pm, £25, discovermedicallondon.com
Gin and Games, London W2
The Gin Garden is a travelling event that takes place across some of the most beautiful gardens in the UK, offering a pop up gin tasting bar. For World Gin Day, they're setting up shop in Cleveland Square Gardens in Paddington - a private square that is opening up as part of Open Garden Weekend the same weekend with outdoor games. But if you're busy this weekend and sad to be missing out, they are also in residence in Kew Gardens at weekends throughout the summer.
Saturday, 2pm, £10, opensquares.org
Images: Rex Features