When my good friend Rachel and I received an email from Independent Liverpool informing us they were holding a gin festival on the May bank holiday weekend, we almost text each other simultaneously saying “shall we go” and the answer was of course, yes!
We arrived at The Great Baltic Warehouse, Liverpool, to the sound of jazz filtering out into the street. We got our wristbands and set our watches to gin o’clock! The warehouse was dressed with metres of bunting, long wooden tables seating fellow gin lovers and most importantly lots of little stores selling gin and food delights. We followed the arrow pointing us toward “gin, jazz and good times” and had a walk round all the stalls to see what was on offer. There was a fantastic range of local gins; Liverpool Gin, Tappers Gin, Whitley Neill and Wirral Gin as well as gin cocktails, gin gelato, gin in a tin, gin galore! And even if you weren’t a gin fanatic there were plenty of other drinks available, including a craft beer stall and a lovely lady pushing around a prosecco trolley.
Rach and I started with a Wirral Gin, which was paired with Double Dutch tonic water, a slice of grapefruit, lime and cracked black pepper. It was absolutely delightful, so fragrant and fresh. After our first G&T we were feeling slightly peckish so we headed over Chicha Peruvian where we got ourselves a little starter. Rach kept up with the gin theme with her Liverpool Gin salon ceviche, and I went for the goats cheese and smoked paprika tequenos. Both were fresh, bold and flavoursome, filling a bit of a hole before we moved on to our next drink.
Next we went to the Liverpool Gin stall, which had an excellent array of different local gins, tonics and complementing fruits. I went for a Whitley Neil Rhubarb and Ginger gin, with tonic and edible flower. Rach went for the JJ Whitley Elderflower gin, with basil tonic and lemon zest. Both were lovely and we enjoyed them outside in the botanical garden which was packed with gin enthusiasts soaking up a bit of sun. Outside they had plenty more bars and a hole in the wall where you could get fries, falafel and other tasty snacks. We went into a bit of the courtyard that was undercover and marvelled at how cool everything was – the exposed brick with tasteful graffiti, multi-coloured plant pots, worn, leather arm chairs and sofas being used as outside furniture as well as gold disco balls and festoon lights. They really couldn’t have chosen a better location.
A grumble of our bellies and we were straight over to Hafla Hafla for a BBQ lamb and halloumi burger with a side, or you could probably call it a meal, of sweet potato fries, topped with halloumi, tahini, roasted pine nuts and spicy red onions. Both were so tasty. The burger was lovely and juicy and served with zhoug (a spicy, herbal Israeli paste) which I’d never had before, it was delicious and had a bit of kick to it. Tahini will definitely have to make an appearance on my sweet potato fries in the future! Our after dinner drink was the JJ Whitley Nettle gin, with classic tonic, blackberries, cracked black pepper and mint. With a little dessert from Laura’s Little Bakery – very cute looking unicorn macarons.
We had an absolutely fantastic day. There was such a great atmosphere! The gin was great (our favourite was the Wirral Gin) and the food was delicious and we really hope Independent Liverpool do one again soon!