I’ve been having the same conversation with a good 75% of my friends since before the summer. “We go to the same clubs every single weekend” someone will say to general agreement. “We live in Brighton, there’s so much to do here” another will add, to more nodding. “We should really start doing different stuff” somebody else will decide, and we’ll all come away with a renewed sense of endeavour to experience more of what the city we live in has to offer. This, of course, would disappear by early evening on Friday and we’d continue to do the same thing we did every night anyway. Up until recently..
Last weekend, I went to Fright Festival and had an amazing time. This Saturday, I took a couple of my girlfriends along to the Gin Festival at the Clarendon Centre for an evening of alcohol discovery. Round of applause for finally sticking to our guns and not making each weekend a reenactment of the last, please? Thank you.
On arrival, we were given our welcome packs including a great big gorgeous gin glass (that we were allowed to take home) to take around the festival with us that all of our drinks would be served in, which I thought was a very clever idea. Also included were a little black book of all the gins being served at each of the four different bars and a special gin festival pen for tasting notes.
Food was being served downstairs (we vowed to come back to this later) in a lounge like area with squishy sofas, but we raced upstairs to down our coats and bags and get our first drinks.
Despite having had a flick through the gin book, none of us had a clue what we wanted to drink, so we headed to Bar D (which we’d been informed at the door was the place to be for the fruitier, sweeter gins) and asked the lovely gentleman behind it what his favourites were. From this conversation, I ended up with Sovereign Apple & Blackberry topped with a little tonic (all tonics and mixers at the event were Fever-Tree, a most respected and fancy brand) and it was truly delicious.
I’d love to say that we were very adventurous and each tried a gin from all four of the bars, but I’m afraid to say we stayed very firmly at Bar D – there were just too many there I wanted to try. Later in the evening I also sampled Zymurgorium Sweet Violet which I am genuinely very carefully thinking about buying a bottle of, it’s the liquid alcoholic version of those classic childhood sweets, Parma Violets. We all loved that one, tell your friends about it.
Two drinks down and we were getting peckish, so headed back downstairs to check out the food situation. Whilst tempted by the hot street food that was filling the room most pleasingly with the smell of fried stuff, the girls went for popcorn and I went for pig snacks. (I’m going back to vegetarian after Christmas I swear, I have no idea what this meat eating kick is at the moment!).
We went to snoop at the cocktails but decided to swerve upon noticing that they were worth 2 drinks tokens (£10 in ordinary human money) and went to grab our last drinks from, once again, Bar D. My final gin was Ely Dark Chocolate which was topped with orange juice to make for a chocolate orange drink. Whilst it was nice, I definitely preferred my first two – the dark chocolate was a teensie bit bitter for me.
We had a lovely time doing something a little bit different on a Saturday evening, thanks for having us Gin Festival!