Gin has become a chic and trendy tipple – but it’s far from being a new drink.
Europeans have been enjoying the spirit for hundreds of years and it’s gone from being ‘mother’s ruin’ in the early 1800s to the basis for fashionable cocktails in the 1920s, and now it’s the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage on the market.
Craft distilleries have blossomed in recent years and government figures show that there are now more than 300 gin distilleries in the UK- double the number five years ago.
With the rise in demand for gin has come an increase in gin bars to match the gin palaces of the 1800s. And gin festivals are starting to pop up just about everywhere.
We’ve found five summer gin festivals in West Yorkshire, all offering the chance to sample craft gins and meet the makers. There are opportunities to learn more about the tipple that was rated in a YouGov poll as the nation’s favourite. Tickets generally include a glass and a complementary drink, and festivals are restricted to those aged 18 and over. It’s usual for organisers to sell vouchers for gin tasting during an event.
Friday, June 8.
The popular Villa Farm Shop and Cafe in Bradley, Huddersfield, is hosting a Pop Up Gin Festival from 5pm until 9pm. Tickets are £10 (from the shop) and include a free gin and tonic and canapes. There are tastings of 10 locally-produced gins on offer and distillers will be around to answer questions.
Saturday, June 16.
GinTopia is holding a Gin Festival at Holmfirth Civic Hall from 7pm until 11pm. As well as local gins, there will be spirits from Europe, Africa and America and Fever Tree tonic to drink with them all. Tickets are £10 (from the civic hall, Andrew’s Greengrocers and TALk Active) and include a G & T. There will be live music, and a raffle to support the civic hall.
Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30.
A weekend of traditional cask and craft beers, as well as 50 gins from around the world is on offer at the Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax. There are three sessions on offer: from 6pm until 11pm on Friday, then noon until 5pm and 6pm until 11pm on Saturday. Tickets are £5 per session if booked in advance, or £6 on the door. (Visit squarechapel.co.uk for details).
Friday, July 27, and Saturday, July 28.
The Gin Society is bringing 120 gins and Fentimans mixers to the Victoria Theatre, Halifax, for a weekend of sampling and meeting the makers. There’s also prosecco on offer for those who want something bright and bubbly that isn’t gin. There are three sessions: from 6pm to 10.30pm on Friday, then noon until 4.30pm and 6pm until 10.30pm on Saturday, all with a backdrop of vintage music. Tickets are from £8.50, if booked early. Visit victoriatheatre.co.uk or eventbrite for details.
Saturday, August 11.
Cannon Hall Farm, at Cawthorne, is a regular host of gin festivals and is planning it’s final event of the year in mid-summer. It takes place from 6.30pm until 11.30pm in an outdoor setting, with hospitality marquee. There’s live music and food on offer as well as craft gins and other drinks. Tickets must be booked in advance and are £14 from cannonhallfarm.co.uk