How do I describe the first outing of Gincident 2013? Gintastic? Ginfully good?
Terrible puns aside, the mere thought of drinking on a boat on a ‘school night’ had me sold before the barge even turned up.
The Liquorists, headed by cocktail connoisseurs Tom Sneesby and Jody Monteith, are the go-to guys for an evening of fun, facts and a hella’ lotta’ booze in Manchester.
MM went along to the launch of this year’s Gincident experience… and needless to say woke up the next day with a very sore head.
We set sail on Thursday, gin and tonic in hand, into the balmy summer’s evening for a leisurely trip from Castlefield Arena, down to MediaCityUK and back.
I’d intended to merely sample the drinks on offer, learn some new facts about my favourite spirit and arrive home slightly merry but clear-headed for work the following day.
By our second gin and tonic, I knew this was not going to happen.
Oh no. The Liquorists, you swines, tempting me with your seemingly endless supply of ridiculously good alcoholic offerings.
Arriving straight from work to a night on the sauce is, for me, an embarrassingly common disaster waiting to happen.
Luckily for lightweights like myself, within 20 minutes of departing the evening meal was plated up.
The website described it as a ‘botanical feast’ which I’d feared may mean an exotic version of a Pizza Hut salad buffet.
But I hold my hands up – I couldn’t have been more wrong.
First off, braised ham hock shredded with fennel and red onion, wholegrain mustard, lemon and herbs.
The spiced chicken salted with chilli, pink peppercorns, star anise and lemon zest was, how my sister put it, ‘the best chicken I’ve ever had.’
We had juniper and coriander salmon laden with gin, served with a cucumber and dill salad with Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar.
‘BOTANICAL FEAST’: Braised ham hock shredded with fennel and red onion, wholegrain mustard, lemon and herbs
And a strawberry salad with spinach and rocket, almonds, feta cheese with red wine and balsamic vinegar.
Every dish not only tasted amazing but went really well with the drinks, and if I could have physically managed it I would have been up for seconds, thirds- maybe even fourth helpings.
Once we were fed and satisfied we were transported straight into cocktail heaven.
They got off to a good start with possibly my favourite drink of the night, Hogarth’s Fizz.
Plymouth Gin, coconut, egg white, lemon juice, chamomile syrup, sugar and soda water topped with a sprinkling of nutmeg.
And don’t let the egg white put you off – it’s a common staple of cocktails and not about to give you salmonella, which was enough reassurance for me to carry on drinking it.
Next up was the Message Gin A Bottle. As a general rule I find that any drink with a pun in its name wins, and this one definitely did.
Martin Miller’s gin, ginger beer and one of my favourites, Jasmine Tea, cleverly packaged in a beer bottle and wrapped with The Liquorists-stamped brown paper.
We moved on to a fruity, strawberry-laden Sitting In An English Garden which mixed Bloom Gin with strawberry liqueur, lime juice and elderflower tonic from the guys at Fever Tree Mixers.
The next drink, The Blossom Will Be, mixed G’Vine Gin with mint syrup, lime juice and white wine.
Finally, we were treated to La Floraison D’Etre, again G’Vine gin with lemon juice, sugar, egg white, Fever Tree elderflower tonic, a tiny bit of olive oil and crushed pink peppercorns.
And as the boat docked and the Manchester sun slowly crept into hiding we finished our drinks, downed some water to soften the impending hangover and headed home.
Thanks to Tom and Jody of The Liquorists for a great evening, Jamie Jones for teaching me that gin is actually a vodka (Google it), Massimo for his cocktail skills and Hannah Eddleston for the amazing food.
Head to www.theliquorists.com for more information on Gincident 2013 and to book onto the boat this summer.