LOCAL producers will be celebrated at the first Gin Festival hosted by The Castle at Edgehill in Oxfordshire, on July 2nd.
The brand new event, which brings together gin brands from across the county, will include plenty of G&Ts to sample as well as live music and food in the gardens, which overlook the historic Edgehill battlefields.
There will also be the opportunity to join guided tours of The Castle’s new micro-distillery and gin school, run by Pinnock Distillery, which opened in the tower earlier this year. It marked an expansion for Kineton’s Dan Beckett whose collaboration with The Castle at Edgehill also celebrates the brands’ shared historical connections.
The Castle sits at a location overlooking the spot where Charles 1st raised the standard at the Battle of Edgehill in 1642 – the first major battle in the English Civil War between the Royalist forces and the Parliamentarian Army commanded by the Earl of Essex. King Charles was the first ruler to tax alcohol in the 1630s when many people took to distilling in their kitchens.
As well as Pinnock, the range of gins available on the day includes: Warwickshire Gin Company and Newbold Spirit, both in Leamington and Rugby Distillery.
Dan Beckett said: “It’s been a busy start for the gin school here at The Castle so we wanted to extend our celebration of this fabulous drink by inviting other producers to join us to showcase their brands. It is set to be a great event and we hope to see as many people there as possible, especially if the weather’s kind to us.”
Distilled using a small batch method and traditional copper pot, Warwickshire Gin Company celebrates the county with its five exclusive recipes: Leamington on Parade, Kingmaker, Peeping Tom, Pelota and The Philosophers Daughter.
Director Dave Blick said: “It’s great being able to get out to events, giving tasters and talking about our exciting dry gin flavour profiles. It’s been a tough few years for everyone so this is very exciting!”
Local history is also at the heart of Rugby Distillery, with its range of gins themed around the story of the town and its famous game, including Wasps Gin, distilled exclusively for the Coventry-based Wasps team.
Richard Wilson, who runs Rugby Distillery with his sister Emma, said: “We’re thrilled to be involved at the Gin Festival at The Castle at Edgehill. To have our gins featured alongside some of the great gins from our area at such a great venue that is offering a brilliant gin school is a real highlight.”
The ethos behind Ian and Victoria Black’s award-winning Newbold Spirit is a collection of small-batch gins – and rums – that reflect the flavours they wanted to drink themselves.
Victoria said: “Warwickshire has an amazing artisan food and drink culture which will be highlighted by Dan and his team at the festival. It’s going to be great fun – all we need now is a bit of sunshine!”
Tickets, which are £20pp, include a G&T on arrival and food token as well as a free gin balloon glass to take home.
The venue is one of five under the ownership of The Free Spirit Pub Company founded by Mark Higgs.
Mark said: “Here at The Castle we are looking forward to launching our first Gin Festival to celebrate the launch of our nano distillery and Gin school. We have handpicked a small selection of local artisan producers, selected some great live music and of course some delicious food.
“It’s the perfect way to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the gardens with a beautiful view, great gins, entertainment and great company.”
Tickets to the event, which runs from 2-9pm, are available through Eventbrite here
For more information about The Castle and The Gin School visit here
Further Information about The Castle Gin School
Visitors to The Castle can choose from a one-hour Pinnock Gin Taster Session or three-hour Gin School (for parties of up to 14 people) in which they’ll learn about the history and provenance of the product and location, before being guided by Dan through the gin-making process using a range of botanicals. As well as enjoying plenty of Gin samples along the way, they will get to take home a 70cl bottle of their own unique recipe, which can also be reordered at the distillery on a later date.