I'm not a huuuuge drinker anymore, but I do like the odd cocktail and going out for drinks with friends. It's a little habit of mine to explore and discover new bars around both London and Oxford, and especially if they do drinks I've never tried or heard of. Vodka is usually my spirit of choice, but I've definitely branched out more since I left uni. So, when GinFestival.com kindly contacted me and asked if I'd like to go to the Oxford Gin Festival last weekend, it was the perfect opportunity to expand my gin-related tastes...
                                          

Paddy and I went down to the beautiful Town Hall in Oxford - I'd forgotten seriously how gorgeous this venue is (having only ventured there for the charity Christmas cards sale many a year). The place was packed out - clearly I am farrrrr behind in my gin-themed knowledge so had a lot of catching up to do.


To get drinks, you needed to purchase tokens - £5 per token, which would basically give you one G&T, or 2 tokens (£10) for a cocktail.

There were a couple of rooms at the front of the hall where a load of brands had set up shop, offering free shots to taste - names such as Black Tomato Gin, Tinker Gin, and Cotswolds, and they were also running masterclasses throughout the event. Then also, a pretty instagrammable room - the cocktail bar. I'm considering getting the gin letter signs they had for my future home. Unfortunately, neither of us got round to trying a cocktail but they did look very good if you're a gin fan.


The main hall hosted the 4 bars for G&Ts - yep, 4 big aesthetically-pleasing bars with god knows how many different gins between them. A & B were British ones only; C was for international gin; and D, our favourite, was for flavoured and sloe gins.

Like I said, my experience of gin is fairly limited - Gordon's is pretty much the only one I'm actually familiar with - so this was ever so slightly overwhelming. Luckily, the festival gives out booklets explaining what's what, which gins are which, which bar they're at, and which tonics/mixers - from the brand Fever Tree - they go best with. Thank god for that or I'd have been clueless. The book also has very cute little recipes for the perfect G&T and a bunch of different cocktails, which I will be keeping for future reference so I look like I know things.


We had 4 G&Ts between us. First up were the Poetic License Picnic Gin, which was strawberries and cream flavoured (hello) and the Sovereign Apple and Blackberry gin. Both were pretty good indeed. I know - this is why Bar D was our favourite. The bartenders knew everything too - which tonic/mixer would be best, what you should go for if it was too sweet or whatever for you...Paddy is as useless at gin as I am, so we relied heavily on their knowledge and it worked out pretty well.


The second round was the Edinburgh Plum and Vanilla gin vs. the Sovereign Elderflower and Gooseberry. The elderflower won. IT WAS SO GOOD I COULD'VE DRANK IT ALL DAY. I think, hands down, that was both our favourite overall. I've realised elderflower-flavoured cocktails are becoming a bit of a thing for me so this could very much be the start of a beautiful friendship.


They even had a ruddy mexican wrap bar which both of us were highly annoyed about as we had zero cash on us and it looked/smelled so good. And a popcorn machine. So don't worry, if you need a quick sober up, they've got you covered. *thumbs up*


And, for that oh so coveted Instagram shot, never fear! The festival has its own selfie pod. And by that, I mean photobooth - so you can get all the black and white photos to hang aesthetically in your own home and share online til your heart's content. They've thought of everything, haven't they?

Oh, you get your own fancy glass to keep too. Any free homeware is a HUGE plus from me.


Honestly, for someone who likes gin but is that inept at it, the festival was great. I feel like I actually know something about what gin suits me best - and that's elderflower. If you fancy popping along to one of the festivals, they're all across the country, running til December. Check out the listings here - prices vary depending on location!

I really would recommend going - and not just if you're a gin connoisseur - it's something a bit different that doesn't break the bank!

*This post was kindly sponsored by GinFestival.com. All opinions and reviews are my own.*