Gin Is Always The Answer

Happy happy Sunday!

Hope you are all well and have been enjoying a lovely weekend; hopefully in the sunshine! I’m just back from a couple of days near Kielder Forest for my birthday, so am feeling nice and refreshed…. until I get back to work tomorrow, that is 🙂

A couple of weekends back; we had a day trip to Leeds Gin Festival. These events have been popping up across the UK over the last couple of years; and as I was too slow off the mark to get tickets for the Newcastle festival, we bought for Leeds instead. The timing also meant that it worked well as a pre-birthday celebration for me – I do like to drag these things out!

We jumped on a train on the Sunday morning into Leeds, then spent a few hours wandering around the shops in the city centre to fill our spare hours (punctuated by lunch in Wagamamas. Mmmmmm chicken katsu curry). I’m not a very good shopper and there’s only so much that James can handle as well; so inevitably at about 3pm we headed into the Hotel Chocolat cafe for a sit down and a drink – purely for research purposes, you understand! It was way too warm for a hot chocolate so we ended up with a wine and a beer….why not! The cafe was well decorated and had a nice ambience; however I’m not going to lie, I must admit I was hoping for a little taster chocolate with my wine……

hotel chocolat cafe

After our foray into the world of chocolate; we still had a bit of time before the Gin Festival started, so we went into The Alchemist for what were possibly the coolest cocktails I have ever seen! They are made with dry ice (I think) and so they ‘smoke’ when they are made. Some are served in chemistry-style funnels like the ones you used in Chemistry classes at school. I could have sat and watched the bartender mixing them for ages!

alchemist cocktail

Gin Festival itself was held in Leeds Town Hall, which is beautifully decorated inside. The room the festival was held in had marble pillars and intricate stencilling on the walls and ceiling, with tiered seats across 2 ends. A stage had been set up for bands at the far end of the hall. We bought us some tokens and got to work! In between drinks we perched on seats just behind the stage and people-watched – one of my favourite pastimes 🙂

As an added bonus you got to keep the very nice, very large, gin glass you were presented with on the way in; along with a booklet listing all the gins that were available at the festival and their suggested garnishes. There was also a discount going for any gins purchased on the night (we are not short of gin to drink at the moment; so I restrained myself – so proud).

I’ll definitely be going back – but hopefully next year I’ll be more organised and get tickets for one a little closer to home!


me alchemist


gin fest


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