This weekend saw Whitley Bays first ‘Weekend of Gin and Vodka’, providing an opportunity for local Gin and Vodka lovers to taste and appreciate the popular tipples.
Tying in with this event, Olives at the Station held a Gin and Vodka tasting evening last night, and I was kindly invited along to blog about the event.
Now I should probably point out that I never drink Gin, or Vodka. I stick to cocktails as I dread the actual thought of a hangover. My spirit drinking days are over. However, I have noticed a recent rise in popularity amongst Gin, and felt very tempted by all the different flavours so was more than happy to go along and see what it was all about.
I took along my friend who always sticks to Vodka on a night out, so thought it would be interesting to see her views on the range of Vodkas available.
This experience was a chance to sample a range of shots supplied from a variety of different brands, local business and distilleries including Hepple Gin, Gin and Vodka from Durham Distillery’s, Alnwick Gin, The Geordie Gin Co, Black Cow Vodka, Graceful Vodka and ‘Old Tom’ Gin from Poetic License, and Tynemouth Gin.
Upon arrival, we were presented with a score card where we were able to rate a score 0-5, with 20 minutes to try each drink until the next was served.
I did my maths and worked out that if I was to drink every shot, I was going to be quite merry in about 40 minutes, and unable to find my way home by 10pm. Panic!
However, we all had the option to drink each shot neat, or with a variety of mixers including Tonic Water, Bitter Lemon, or Lemonade, which gave me faith I could just perhaps get through the event, or at least half way.
This was blind tasting, and the first shot I tried with Fentimans Rose Lemonade which I love, ice and a slice of lime selected from a wide variety of accompaniments, and it went down a treat.
Feeling hardcore at this point, I was and ready for shot number 2 and feeling more adventurous trying with lemonade and raspberries.
I changed up my mixers between each shot, and some I could only manage a couple of mouthfuls, but I think that could largely have been down to my choice of mixer rather than the Gin. I sat at a table of 3 other Gin samplers and every one of us enjoyed each shot, and our scoring similar.
I also found that after a couple of sips, the tastes changed and the one which I didn’t enjoy the taste of initially, actually turned out to be my favourite, which was Whiltey Bay Seaglass by the Whitley Bay Gin Corporation.
It had a taste which I recognised but couldn’t quite work out what it was until I heard Mark from the Whitley Bay Gin Corporation mention Turmeric.
The vodka didn’t go down so well on our table unfortunately, again with very similar scoring. My friend enjoyed only two out of the eight shots. I’ve never been a vodka drinker (my one and only night on vodka and orange put me off for life) but I did have a taste of the Thunder Toffee Vodka as the smell was divine.. It was suggested on our table it could go well in a coffee. Not something I would’ve thought of, but then again people think I’m strange for having enjoyed Malibu with Chocolate Nesquick Milkshake back in my party days (try it – a-ma-zing)
At the end of a very enjoyable night, the score cards were collected in and results announced seeing Newcastle Gin coming out on tops along with Annos Vodka, which was my friends top choice.
This event was a brilliant opportunity to relax, and to mingle, meet and socialise, and once again, fabulous hospitality by Olives. I especially enjoyed meeting Wil and Jade from Boda Home who we sat with and hearing a bit about their independent family owned store which I really need to visit. And Mark from the Whitley Bay Gin Corporation who told us a bit more about Gin, and how to drink it regarding choosing the right mixers.
I know for sure, next time I am out (which is actually this weekend coming as my birthday approaches), I will defiantly be enjoying a gin or two. Maybe even more as I woke up with absolutely zero hangover. Result!!