Junipalooza 2014 on its way!

Junipalooza 2014 on its way!
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There’s something magical about the word ‘Ginsmith’ – it sounds vaguely fantastical and quintessentially British. I imagine a group of well-dressed gentlemen reclining in armchairs, sipping botanicals from teacups, all clad in chequered suits like something out of Lewis Carol. One chap would squint from a monocle and occasionally shout insights such as ‘lemon verbena! There’s definitely a hint!’ Junipa-Poster_banner-copy

Then there’s ‘Junipalooza‘, which almost goes the other way – it conjures the image of tie-dye wearing hippies waving their arms as someone on stage bawls out the lyrics to Gin Soaked and passing round a joint of juniper berries. Yet if someone was to put it bluntly and say ‘Gin Festival : In London,’ then one’s mind could make the leap to the somewhat unglamorous days of Mother’s Ruin – overfed men swigging from unmarked bottles, their noses the shape and colour of a freshly dug beetroot, while a tart in the corner suckles her baby on a cocktail of milk and spirits.

A lot of contradictory ideas flying about there. So what exactly is one to expect from Junipalooza? Well, since World Gin Day falls on Saturday 14th June, Gin Foundry have decided to take this opportunity to celebrate all things Juniper related on the first weekend of June. And this means creating a festival where the focus is on fabulous gins, and there’s not a wonky trestle table in site. They’re actually outlawed.

So cool... so Shoreditch... and yet soon Factory 7 will be heaving with excitable Juniper Geeks like me

So cool… so Shoreditch… and yet soon Factory 7 will be heaving with excitable Juniper Geeks like me

The aim? To create an event that blasts the dull, generic trade show out of the bathwater. We all know the ones – where you wander from stall to stall half heartedly sampling the freebies, wondering if you can make your way round once more if you take your jumper off and ruffle up your hair, all the while being served by dead-eyed drones that blink in confusion if you ask them a question about their product, and would obviously be more suited behind the fish counter in Sainsburys. Gin Foundry promises that Junipalooza will have none of this.  In fact, it will be ‘

An all out event that takes drinks shows to somewhere they have never been before.

Wow, big claim. And yet I’ve no doubt they can make it work. Taking place in Shoreditch (home of Nightjar, Callooh Callay, and hipsters), the event runs for a whole weekend, and will see over 1000 people attending and over 40 gins available to sample. From Elephant Gin to Langley’s No.8, Boxer Gin and Sipsmith’s, the key players are here. Then there are some I (don’t remember) ever trying – Warner Edwards Elderflower Gin, and offerings from Hayman’s. Add to this immersive instillations, top-notch masterclasses, music and, oh yes, gin, then I sense a recipe for success.

And I really can’t wait. Not only because I might get to have a go at infusing my own botanicals. Not just because there’s a Drinks by the Dram shop where over 60 gins are available to buy in 30ml bottles (paycheck = gone). And it’s certainly got nothing to do with the fact there are two on site cocktail bars manned by the likes of Bombay Sapphire and Tarquin’s… no, these aren’t the only reason I’m a bit sweaty and twitchy with excitement.

I will be reporting for you. And drinking gin. I obviously promise an accurate account.

I will be reporting for you. And drinking gin. I obviously promise an accurate account.

I genuinely can’t wait to go and find out all about the variety of gins on offer. I want to ask questions – about the distilling process; about the botanicals – and I want to relay them back here. I want to find out which gins go best with which cocktail – as a simple martini with a twist of orange, or perhaps in a classic negroni? Do the real connoisseurs consider adding absinthe a crime, or do they love the occasional Corpse Reviver #2?

And I will report back to Social and Cocktail with the results – an unbiased look at all things gin related, from advice on mixing cocktails, to which taste nicest straight up, to any hidden secrets of the gin-world (of which I’m sure there are bazzilions, much like the Freemasons but with more tonic involved).

So, if you haven’t bought tickets then have a look here, and if there is a justifiable reason you can’t be in Shoreditch this weekend (under house-arrest, building an ark, etc) then never fear – check out our Twitter @SoCocktail for a constant (and probably increasingly incomprehensible) feed on all the action. Now excuse me, I have to dig out my teacup and tie-dye.

Rebecca Milford



Written by Guest Author

Posted: June 5, 2014