World Gin Day: where to drink gin this June
Festivals, tastings and distillery tours to celebrate gin in all its juniper glory
If you need an excuse to drink more gin Saturday 11 June is the eighth World Gin Day. The juniper based spirit in is on a roll and shows no signs of slowing as new brands vie for space on bar gantries and small batch distilleries pop up across the country. Once upon a time opting for a G&T got you a house spirit served with ice and a slice, now there's not just a multitude of gin but also tonic waters, mixers and garnishes to achieve the elusive 'perfect serve'. Luckily there are plenty of ginperts (that's a gin expert) hosting events this June to guide towards the perfect glass of gin. Whether you remember how you got there afterwards is another matter.
In Scotland the Edinburgh Juniper Festival returns to Summerhall for three days of gin antics. There are over 30 gins from top producers to try before you buy, as well as gin talks, cocktails, food stalls from Rost Eats, Inside Out Chef and Fresh r-evol-ution and a bottle shop run by Drinksmonger Bruntsfield, so you can take your favourite tipples home.
The Old Course Hotel in St Andrews launch the Road Hole Gin Festival this June. Distillers from all over the country showcase their products and guests can expect cocktail demonstrations, a Sensory Botanical Room, food pairings and an exclusive Eden Mill Gin Dinner.
In London you can top up your knowledge and your gin cabinet at Junipalooza. This gin festival focuses on meeting the makers behind the drinks and 2016 has an international focus, with ginsmiths flying in from across the globe. Where there is gin there's tonic, and Junipalooza have dedicated Tonic Water stands, so you can find the perfect G&T pairing.
You'll never be a ginpert if you don't try as many gins as possible. Tastings this month include a guided gin tasting by a Master Distiller from The Oxford Artisan Distillery, held in the picturesque Oxford Botanic Garden. Enjoy a taste of science and the taste of gin at the National Space Centre, with their adults only gin evening. There's talks about the history of gin, a gin bar, tasting sessions and a live demonstration kitchen, where you can discover new ideas for cooking with gin. Bombay Sapphire have their own rooftop retreat at Harvey Nichols, sip on classic gin and tonics, or jazz yours up with flavoured tonic waters including elderflower, yuzu and lemongrass.
Fife based Eden Mill are in Glasgow, hosting a tasting of a range of their gins. Sample Eden Mill Original, Eden Mill Oak and Eden Mill Golf, which may or may not be flavoured with retired clubs from local courses. Edinburgh Gin are playing on their city's rich historical heritage and taking their tasting to the ancient subterranean streets of The Real Mary King's Close. Learn about Edinburgh's history and hear from the distiller about the Scottish ingredients of locally produced gins. Should a ghost appear you might need a stiff drink.
A trip to a whisky distillery is one of the standard activities for visitors to bonnie Scotland. Now an increasing number of gin distilleries across the UK are opening their doors to allow gin enthusiasts to fondle the botanicals, marvel at the stills and learn a little more about the different brands. If there's a complimentary G&T at the end of the tour, all the better. Beefeater London reveal the mysteries behind the spirit infamously named 'mother's ruin'. The interactive experience explores the history of gin production in the city across cobbled Victorian street markets and the secret watering holes of prohibition. Get up close with the botanicals and walk through the live production process.
Pickering's Gin at Summerhall Distillery was Edinburgh's first exclusive gin distillery in 150 years. The distillery has been converted from dog kennels, a throwback to the days when the building was the Small Animal Hospital in the Dick Vet school. Guided tours and tastings include a meeting with 500 litre still Gert and a chance to sample all three Pickering’s gin expressions. Or you can test your mental wits in LockedIn Edinburgh's escape game, LockedIn the Distillery. Solve the clues to stop Summerhall Distillery being blow up and save all the lovely gin.
World Gin Day, Sat 11 Jun.