The Gin Festival @ Victoria Baths, Manchester - Sunday 2nd April 2017

April 07, 2017

Last Sunday I was invited down to The Gin Festival in Manchester, I brought my friend along who's also a gin fan and we had a fantastic day. The Gin Festival is now a non-stop tour around the UK after starting in Leeds in 2013. The founders Jym and Marie Harries wanted to put together a place for gin lovers to find and taste new gins, learn about gin and have a good time doing so. The festival at Manchester was a 2 week long event including 9 sessions with tickets sold for evening, weekend and day-time sessions and its the 4th time the event has been in Manchester.

First of all the location of the festival was absolutely perfect, gin fans took over the Victoria Baths near St Mary's hospital which was only a 10 minute bus ride from the city centre. Victoria Baths is a grade 2 listed building and from the outside looks like a normal old building but after stepping inside I was blown away with the vintage decor and original features. This is the 3rd time the gin festival has been held at this venue and I hope the next time the festival visits Manchester that its in the same place. I'd love to visit Victoria Baths again even if its just to explore the building more and take some photographs. 

On Sunday we was greeted at the door by the lovely security staff and Gin Festival staff, a member of the team told me and my guest all about the festival including a mention about a secret bar and handed us a glass, Gin book, pen and pin badge each before directing us into the venue to explore the event.

Since I had been invited down I was gifted 4 drink tokens so I headed straight for the off licence to claim these so we could start tasting the wonderful gin's on offer. There are over 100 gin's to choose from available from 4 different bars; the bars was labelled A to D and my favourite was the fruity gin's from bar D. We found it useful to look through the gin book provided and choose a gin before heading to the bar to order the drink. The first gin we tried was from bar A and was called Pinkster; a British dry gin made with 5 botanical's including raspberries and juniper. The bar assistant recommended we mix this particular gin with Fever-tree tonic so we took this on board although other mixers were available (lemonade, ginger bear, Rose tonic, soda water, etc) 

The bar room was filled with people all enjoying a range of drinks and chatting about their favourites. In the next room to the right was a few food stalls, a performance stage and lots of seating; most of which was in the old swimming pool! We went with the Stripped Pig food although wraps and Chinese was available; I choose to choose from the Gin and Turkey menu and went with The Wild Turkey which had Cumbrian turkey, stuffing and wild boar sausage (I opted not to have cranberry) on and it was absolutely delicious, it did really remind me of Festival food too. 

In between these two rooms was a masterclass room and photo booth for all the guests to enjoy, there was plenty to see and do on the day which I thought was great. In another room which was also home to an old swimming pool was a taster/sampler room filled with brands handing out free samples of their gin and a cocktail bar at the back. This was the smallest of the three rooms but each time I entered, it was filled with energy from the gin fans alike. I was able to sample gin from a few companies and enjoyed most of them especially the fruitier spirits. We didn't purchase a cocktail as these was 2 tokens each but it was interesting to see the cocktails being made and I spent some time watching the bar assistants work their magic. My favourite gin's in this sample room was from Tinker and Black Tomato gin, both of which had a really fruity taste that was perfect for me. 

Brockmans was also in this room and this is who we needed to speak to about the secret bar, we needed a password you see. After tasting some of the Brockmans gin and speaking to the assistant we was given a riddle to solve before we was given the password. It was then up to us to find the secret bar and give the password at the door to enter. It didn't take us long to find the secret bar since we had already had a good look around before speaking to the Brockmans representative, the doorman opened the door and asked for the password then let us inside. I was surprised at how small the secret bar was but really happy with the vintage decor and features again, there was a small bar in the corner with a dry ice machine and sofa style seating. 

Our day didn't end there and we headed back into the bar room to try some more gin, we'd given the gin book a good look and choose a fruity gin each to try so headed to bar D. I wanted to try a strawberry gin so the bar assistant told me about the Sikkim Fraise gin which is filled with juniper and summer berries so I went with that. I mixed this gin with lemonade to add to the sweet taste and it worked perfectly. In the bar room was also a snack bar with a range of crisps, nuts and popcorn to buy, this was great for a snack with the drinks.

When you buy your drink tokens you can grab a bag which holds your empty glass when not in use, these was super helpful for when we was walking around the venue. We drank up our 4 gifted drinks and decided to buy another token each which are priced are £5.00 and have a third and final glass of gin before heading home. I went with fruity gin from Edinburgh which had plums that have been infused with Madagascan vanilla in it, again I mixed this spirit with lemonade for the sweetness and I have to say this was my favourite gin of the day and I plan on purchasing a full size bottle very soon.

From arriving at the festival we had something to do, something to see or something to taste, the whole event is truly for gin lovers and fans with lots of fun bits in-between; I would defiantly attend again and try some more fruity gins.

The Gin Festival is a non stop festival and will be in Torquay at the Riviera International Centre on the 14th and 15th of April. If your waiting for the festival to be up north again then it will be in Liverpool at Lutyen's Crypt, Metropolitan Cathedral from the 27th of July until the 30th and you can purchase tickets here

I'd like to thank The Gin Festival for inviting me down and letting me enjoy your event, I can't wait to visit again and me and my plus one had a fabulous and tasty day. 

*I was invited to this event/given a press pass but all thoughts + opinions are my own, see my disclaimer for more info. 

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  1. This looks like such a fabulous event honey, so happy you enjoyed the experience :) I really love the idea of a gin festival, it seems like a unique concept and I like how it was well thought out and such a fun day. Victoria Baths looks so stunningly pretty, am adoring the vintage vibes! Those gins all look so gorgeously good, I love that there were so many different tastes and flavours to try. The fruity gins sound delicious <3

    How fabulous that there was seating in the old swimming pool, that must have been awesome! The cocktails look divine, I would have been over there like a shot hehe 🙈 There's nothing better than seeing the barman work his/her magic, whenever my boyf and I get a mojito the guy at the bar always likes to make a performance out of it haha! I like the mystery of the secret bar too, a nice twist on things :) Really love that there was so much to do and see, so glad you had a blast :D

    Sophie | soinspo xo

  2. There should be a Gin Festival every month haha, the cocktail bar was fab to watch. I work in a bar but we don't do cocktails so don't get the opportunity to work my own magic, not that I'd be a Tom Cruise in Cocktail or anything haha.

    The location as just amazing, really want to go back and explore the building more and take like 1000s of pics haha.

    Thanks for reading lovely :) xx


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