Saddleworth Gin Festival is just the tonic

IT used to be disparagingly dubbed ‘mother’s ruin’ but gin is now the favourite tipple for all generations.

The liquor with juniper berries at its core now comes in every possible flavour; tea, marmalade, parma violets, even ants!

And Saddleworth appears to be at the centre of the boom with its own Gin Queen, a pub boasting nearly 1000 different types and for a second successive year, its own gin festival.

So, if you have successfully undertaken dry January, then get ready to celebrate by visiting Uppermill Civic Centre on February 16-18 for a weekend of gin, more gin and plenty of supporting tonics.

The three-day event has been organised by the Gin Society who will stage similar festivals in 2018 from London to Lincoln, Canterbury to Carlisle.

Fittingly, given Saddleworth’s embracing of a spirit so notorious it was banned by an Act of Parliament, Dobcross based Shelagh Bourke is one of the co founders of the Gin Society.

“Last year was our first year as a company and we did 16 festivals,” explained Shelagh. “This time we are doing 25 in England.

“Because of the history of gin, it was illegal to make it independently.

“But when the law was changed it allowed people to start making artisan gin.

Enjoying gin at last year’s Festival

“It has grown to become the drink of choice and so very fashionable. I think the popularity has a way to go yet.”

So, what is Shelagh’s favourite gin? “At the moment I’m partial to a Spanish one called Nordes from the Galicia region,” she revealed.

“I also like Manchester Gin. They do a lovely raspberry flavour which doesn’t taste too sweet.”

You can expect to sample both as two of more than 120 different gins at the festival with chance also to learn a few facts you didn’t know about this legendary libation.

In addition, the Gin Society’s Cocktail Bar will also be serving the ever popular sloe gin, prosecco fizz and a variety of other prosecco cocktails.

Botanical Brewers Fentimans will be supplying their range of tonic waters, including: Mediterranean Orange, Rose Lemonade and Pink Grapefruit.

Enjoying gin at last year’s Festival

To add to the fizzy festival atmosphere, there will be vintage music from our resident DJs, A Train Swing, and Dr Sid, whose speakeasy sounds aim to take visitors back to those decadent days when the gin cocktail was king.

Throughout the day and evening, distillers will be sharing their skills in a series of gin Master Classes.

All gins and tonics plus garnishes are priced at £5.

The Saddleworth Gin Festival takes place of Friday, February 16 (6–10.30pm), Saturday, February 17, (12 noon–4.30pm and 6pm–10.30pm), Sunday, February 18, 12 noon–4.30 pm.

Tickets cost £8.50 (plus booking fee), and are the perfect Valentine’s gift.

Included in the entry price is a bespoke Gin Society gin goblet with a new design, to keep as a souvenir, plus a booklet of tasting notes.

To book go online:


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