The Truth About Whitby Gin Festival

Last Friday the Whitby Gin Festival rolled into town for its first ever event at the Pavilion.

Sara Harland went along to Whitby Gin Festival to sample the finest gin in the land. Read Sara's review and learn the truth about The Gin Society in Whitby!

There are a lot of trends in adulthood right now that I do not wish to partake in such as biking, running and competing in events around these said activities. But there is one movement that I fully support and have become quite active in and that is of sampling different types of gin- so when the Whitby Gin Festival rolled in to town, how could I refuse?

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A Gin Masterclass at Whitby Gin Festival
A Gin Masterclass at Whitby Gin Festival

The gin craze is everywhere and conversations around this spirt have replaced talking about the weather!! Households around the UK are buying the hottest gins and special “gin goblets” to pour measures of this liquor that gets its principal flavour from juniper berries into. People are displaying how hard their day has been with by flooding social media with photos of glasses full of gin, with the caption:

“Much needed after the day I have had!!”

We have become a nation of gin connoisseurs and it socially acceptable to discuss what kind of mixer will enhance your gin with your neighbour.

I was very interested indeed to find out that The Gin Society was coming to Whitby on 10th August to improve my knowledge of gin. The back drop for the festival was The Whitby Spa Pavilion Complex which this complex is built adjoining to the original historic site of a Victorian theatre that has entertained local people and tourists alike for over 130 years.

3 Pugs Gin; Whitby Gin Festival
3 Pugs Gin; Whitby Gin Festival

A Gin Society Festival is built around the concept of buying drinks vouchers at the voucher station bar. The gins are £5 for 25ml measure and Prosecco is £5 and you can take your gin to the next level with a Prosecco cocktail for £10. Also if it is at all possible any vouchers you don’t use can be refunded.

On arrival and within my ticket price I was presented with a Gin Society Festival goblet so that I could keep refilling my goblet up the gins from all the bars that lined the festival. These bars are colour coded to match your tasting note booklet such as a fruit bar with 38 fruits gins, a world gin bar with 40 gins and a British gin bar with 41 gins.

“You could also sample Prosecco cocktails and guest gins.”

I was very proud to see Whitby’s very own gin to be one of the standout guest gins at the Whitby Gin festival. This gin is distilled by hand in small batches and every stage is completed by hand also- from the production line to even labelling the bottle. The flavour of this gin derives from heather from the local Yorkshire moors and sugar kelp foraged from Robin Hoods Bay.

These locally sourced ingredients are then placed into a mix of juniper berries, coriander seed, citrus peels and liquorice root into a copper reflux to ensure only the finest alcohol is captured. The Whitby Gin brand is building up a lot of momentum at the moment and this gin is perfect to pair with rosemary and grapefruit.

Another guest gin that I found to stand out at the festival was a Japanese- inspired gin –KURO. This gin has lots of elements to it such as bamboo, silver birch and spruce to form a fresh sharp gin.

The Whitby Gin festival was held in the Spa Pavilion main venue that has large circular windows that have stunning views of the North Sea and the beach below. So after trying some guest gins, myself and my gin crew sampled more gins from the bars across the room whilst listening to easy listening vintage music with a few dances dance displays thrown in by the DJ and his dance partner.

Zymurgorium Cherry Bakewell; Whitby Gin Festival
Zymurgorium Cherry Bakewell; Whitby Gin Festival

The first gin to hit my gin goblet was a fruit gin, “Zymurgorium”- a Turkish delight flavoured gin from England. I had a Fentimans ginger ale mixer with this gin to bring the floral notes of the rose petal out through with the additional flavours of juniper and mint. My friends chose various different gins and we all sat around discussing what we thought of each gin whilst ticking them off out of our booklet of tasting notes.

It was really good atmosphere and I caught up with friends that I had not seen for a long time, it was a relaxed environment but that could have been the gin kicking in that relaxed me!! The first master class of the evening was Tarsier Southeast Asian gin held in the bar area of the Spa Pavilion complex with the spectacular views of the sea all around. This gin is manufactured in Manchester and came from the creators travels backpacking across Southeast Asia.

This gin is a blend of spicy undercurrents with a citrus flavours and a peppery after taste. We were introduced to their story and what I found that comes across from all the independent gin makers, a passion and dream to make good quality gin to enjoy. This brand started in a Manchester kitchen experimenting for weeks to find the perfect gin.

Gin, glorious gin; The Gin Society Whitby
Gin, glorious gin; The Gin Society Whitby

My friends had a quick pit stop for food and we then carried on sampling more gins. From the British bar, I tried Edgerton Blue Spice with fresh blueberries. I really enjoyed this gin which had hints of lavender, citrus peel and the warmth of the spices were a perfect blend.

My friend tried a Daffy’s gin which is crafted with eight botanicals and I had a slip of a Sir Robin of Locksley gin which had tastes of elderflower, dandelion and pink grape fruit. I prefer fruity gins and so I tried the Faith and Sons, mango flavoured gin from their premium range. I also had Fentimans Mediterranean orange tonic water to enhance the mango flavour more with this gin.

“Gin, glorious gin; The Gin Society Whitby”

At the cocktail bar my friend that does enjoy a tipple or two of Disaronno, asked what would be recommended to capture the almond based flavour she adores and she was advised to try a Cherry Bakewell gin. Nothing was too much to ask staff and mixers fitted the gin perfectly and it was good place to take your gin knowledge to the next level! My last gin was 3 Pugs Gin flavoured with bubblegum and rose lemonade; it was very delicious but be warned it is very sweet.

The Gin Society Festival in Whitby was a good way to broaden my information and upskill myself on the subject of gin. I will definitely be using my Gin Society gin goblet on all social media to show everyone that I have a bad day which the caption- “Much needed after today!”

Whitby Gin Festival AKA The Gin Society Festival in Whitby
Whitby Gin Festival AKA The Gin Society Festival in Whitby

Whitby Gin Festival – The Gin Society is an annual Whitby event delivering an unforgettable Gin Experience, where lovers of gin can meet friends and sip the legendary libation by the seaside.

If you haven’t experienced a Gin Society festival, you’re in for a treat – The Gin Society host events all over the country – check here for the lastest dates.

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