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Ginpourium Gin Fight – Round 1 – The Wild Card

This weekend marked the start of my summer holidays.  Friday night didn’t go so well, I was asleep by 8:30.  Saturday was much better, Hubby had a gig, so I went to watch and have a cheeky couple of gins in the process.  Sunday was the BEST!

We were heading off to The Ginpourium Gin Fight at EAT! Food Festival Reigate, something I’ve been looking forward to for ages!  Now I love a good food fair, no need for breakfast or lunch on those days, due to the amount of samples you get, but this was in a whole other league.

I stumbled upon The Ginpourium on Instagram one night, whilst looking for GIN-spitation.  Having liked and commented on a couple of their posts I was met with a comment reply Thanks @ginobsessions – see you at #TheGinpourium in July?”

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Not really knowing what I had just signed myself up to, I did a little Google and my excitement levels peaked!

“The Ginpourium is open to ALL EAT! tickets holders including two spirit-soaked days, the cocktail-creating-contenders will slug it out  in the GINPOURIUM COCKTAIL FIGHT to determine who steals the much-coveted ‘King of Ginvention’ title – and the glittering trophy the accolade affords its bearer. Hand-picked from the country’s finest talent, our contenders are not your common or garden bartenders – they’re match-ready artisans who’ve honed their craft and are primed to unleash their delectable drinks upon Reigate’s thirsty masses.”

I immediately turned to Hubby, asked how much he loved me and if he wanted to drive me to Reigate in July so I could drink gin.  He of course said yes and that was it!  Early bird tickets were just £27, which gave you entry to the food festival, a Gin Fight voting card and roadmap, six unique cocktails from the gin-fighters and entry into a gin prize draw.  Considering entry to the food festival itself was £10, this was a ridiculously good deal…two tickets purchased.

The Ginpourium lineup was excellent, Butler’s Gin, Collagin, Swedish Tonic, Drunken Dairy, Boxer Gin, Copperpot Bar, Holy Lama Spice Drops, Sacred Gin, Palmers Gin, Deviant & Dandy, The Gin Kitchen, Ginsanity, Herno Gin, Gorilla Spirits Co, Citadelle Gin and a book signing from author David T. Smith, who recently published the book Gin Tonica.  All the ingredients for a GIN-credible day!

Instagram spent several weeks torturing me with teasers and tasters of what was to come…The Ginpourium were even distilling their own brand gin on site!  Eventually the weekend was here, from early Saturday morning The Ginpourium’s Instagram account was posting pictures and I just couldn’t wait to get there…just one more day.

Finally, Sunday arrived and off we went.  We arrived around 11:30, a perfectly reasonable time to have a morning gin, we just needed to find The Ginpourium…thankfully it was perfectly located opposite the entrance.

“Would you like to try some gin?”

Yes, yes I would, I could tell this was going to be a good day.  The stall was selling Boxer Gin and three varieties of Citadelle Gin; Citadelle Gin, Citadelle ‘Aged Reserve’ Gin and Citadelle ‘No Mistake Old Tom’ Gin.  We decided to kick things off with a taster of the Old Tom, made by adding caramelised Caribbean brown sugar to their Citadelle Reserve Gin, then allowing it to age for a little longer.  A spicy, peppery start with a sweet vanilla finish, delicious.

With our insides warmed we headed through the Craft  Market to get a proper morning gin…but there were just so many distractions!  Right in front of us was the mobile still, being used to create The Ginpourium’s very own gin.

Still On The Move is the sister company of Devon Distillery and is run by an utterly lovely chap called Cosmo Caddy.  Loaded up with an Italian copper still and a plethora of spices and botanicals, this little vintage 1937 VW Pickup truck named “Ginny” is ready to distill, bottle and label your gin at any event.

Chatting to Cosmo, I positively gushed about how this would have been such a touch for our wedding, I can actually picture it…choosing the botanicals and having our very own gin distilled and bottled at the venue to mark the day, the pictures would have been amazing!  Between us we agreed that there was only one thing for it, I need to find an excuse to have a big party.  Only established around four months ago, I predict big things for Cosmo and Ginny, this is a definite must have for any gin lover’s event.  I mean, what GIN-thusiast wouldn’t want the spirit of their day captured and bottled?

Blinkers now firmly on, we headed off to the Cocktail Castle, thankfully it was right next door to Cosmo and Ginny so not too much opportunity for distraction.  The next problem was, which to have first?

Round 1 – The Sherbert Spritz

I went for Alex Morrell‘s Sherbert Spritz as my morning gin, the slice of pink grapefruit as a garnish practically made it breakfast.  The Sherbert Spritz combines Beefeater Gin with grapefruit and Thyme sherbet; fruity and refreshing with a sweetness that cut through the bitterness of the grapefruit, all brought together by the warmth of the thyme, a flavour which, amusingly, built over time.  Alex said he used a simple gin to let the grapefruit and Thyme sherbet be the star of the show.  

loved this cocktail and must admit that later in the day I did have a second…well Hubby was driving so he couldn’t drink all of his cocktails.  Alex himself was just as fab as his cocktail, a really chatty, happy guy and he gave me some grapefruit and thyme syrup to take away with me so I can make my own Sherbert Spritz at home.  More excitingly, Alex says he’ll soon be starting to pre-bottle this syrup along with some others, we just have to keep our eyes pealed! In the meantime, I just have to decide whether to save my bottle for our Summer Gin Party or use it for a few morning gins!  Hubby’s first gin of the day was courtesy of The Swedish Tonic Co. it was divine but I’ll be writing more about that later on.

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Once we finished our first gins, we decided to grab a second to drink on our walk around the stalls.

Round 2 – Gin Dandy, Jam & Ginger – Click HERE for full details

Armed with gin, we went in search of food, Hubby gets hangry if he doesn’t eat, so this was vital to our enjoyment of the day.  Whilst sniffing out some grub, we stumbled upon Drunken Dairy, who create alcohol infused hand-made ice creams and sorbets, using only natural ingredients.  No surprise that I went for the GLT, which combines gin, fresh lime and tonic.  Perfectly suitable for Vegans, however, coming in at 5.12% abv it’s definitely not one for the kids.  This sorbet certainly packed a punch and was infinitely better than my attempt at making gin ice lollies last summer.  Sadly, these products can’t be purchased online, but they do attend food markets and events in and around London and they cater for corporate events, festivals, parties and weddings…again, if only we weren’t already married!!  The Drunken Dairy will even try to turn your favourite
cocktail or drink into ice cream or sorbet.

Hubby finally settled on some Sri Lankan lunch and then onward for more gin!

Not going to lie, I was starting to feel rather happy at this point and I was also super excited about my Round 3 drink from Holy Lama Spice Drops and Copperpot Bar.

Round 3 – Keralan Chai Punch – Click HERE for full details

Armed with my samples and three gins down after no breakfast, I definitely needed some food.  I opted for some Columbian Street Food, a delicious Guacatarian Bono courtesy of Maize Blaze.  It was utterly incredible and exactly what I needed before facing Round 4, The Southpaw, offered up by Boxer Gin and Luke Ridge.

Round 4 – The Southpaw – Click HERE for full details

Armed with my amazing gin mug we headed over to a Miele cooking demonstration, where I was given prosecco…I would like to point out that at this point I really didn’t need any prosecco, but I totally took it and drank it.  This is probably the reason I decided that we should try and win a fridge, to be fair we could do with a new fridge…

Time to sit down and enjoy some of the great music and upload some pictures onto Instagram.  Timing couldn’t have been better as I’d just had a message through from The Ginpourium reminding me to go and say hi.

It was brilliant to finally meet James and Zoe, they are genuinely such lovely people and their passion for all things gin just can’t be ignored.  James told me they had come up with the idea for The Ginpourium because food festivals are all so similar, bringing this added something different, fun and exciting.  With the ultimate goal being to have an entire Gin Circus, which sounds brilliant to me!  He insisted there was something that Hubby and I just had to see and he whizzed us round the corner from the Craft Market tent.  I met Cosmo again and also a lovely photographer called Tom.  He had a great shot set up with all the gins featured over the weekend, I cheekily asked if I could take my own picture.  Tom was more than happy for me to do this and pootled off to take his own pictures of me taking pictures…which was quite amusing.  Then Hubby and I both assisted with creating some splashy gin shots, not going to lie, I was having THE BEST TIME! (Simple things!)  Bidding our new friends goodbye we headed off, it was time for my Round 5, The Sacred Negroni.

Round 5 – The Sacred Negroni – Click HERE for full details

Negroni finished, I just had one more round to go.  Round 6, offered up by The Swedish Tonic Co.  I decided to take this one with me…

Round 6 – Yeah! Swe/can – Full details posted on Saturday 29th July @ 6pm GMT

 

Merrily sipping away as I handed in my voting card, I managed to catch Zoe to congratulate her on such a wonderful day and grab a selfie, I was utterly thrilled when she offered us a taster of The Ginpourium’s own gin which was distilled by Ginny,  it was great, I even really enjoyed it neat!  Zoe then had one last treat for us, a tub of Rachel’s Greek style Lemon & Gin yogurt…I know what I’ll be having for breakfast this week!

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