I did not expect to go into Olympia and the Imbibe festival this afternoon and sample things!
There was gin, vodka, rum, whisk(e)y, beer and cider. I tried to focus on gin because that’s where I’ve been recently. A good gin with a nice balance of botanicals is a good thing. An unbalanced gin, while still drinkable is not as much of a pleasure. I’ll still drink it, but I won’t enjoy it quite as much.
Of all the drinks in the above carousel, I would say the standouts were:
Portobello Road gin
Cucumber gin was not good, but their sparkling water was great!
Wild tiger rum has potential and a vanilla aftertaste which isn’t even an ingredient.
The Poitín was a revelation. I had no idea it was even legal!
Jim Beam Rye was so much better than the twice barelled.
All in all, a great way to accidentally spend an afternoon!
As an aside, this annoys me about Wales. We have prodigious volumes of water, but thanks to the mines, it’s so often polluted. The guys at Penderyn have their own water source up in the Brecons. Is that a cheat?
Historically, I’ve avoided these things like the plague, imagining they’re dominated by big brands with a few little fish round the edge. Turns out I was wrong. Whoop!
I know for next time how to play it:
Avoid the booze at the start like the plague. Yes, gin at 11 in the morning is lovely, but a hangover at 12 can really put a crimp on the rest of your day.
Pace yourself. You don’t have to sample all of the things. I was feeling a bit wobbly after we’d done the floor and couldn’t really face anything by the time we got to the balcony. The girl throwing up outside had clearly overdone it.
Start savoury and build up to sweet. Don’t mix them!
Take your TIME. There’s all day.
Learn to blank out Jamie Oliver
Chillies are big. Save them for the last of the savoury.
There’s a whole wine thing upstairs which you’ll miss if you’ve overdone the craft gin!
Fancy tea and coffee is a big thing.
Craft gin distilleries are springing up all over the country. And vodka. There’s a distillery bar in the City.
There are lots of cookery courses.
Every man and his dog is doing chutneys, sauces and condiments. It’s getting very hard to differentiate now.
So here’s a list of the companies that stood out to me.
Farmison do deliveries based around Saturday Kitchen. Not completely sure how useful this is, but it’s a good tie-in.
Sea Island Coffee Weird and rare coffee from around the world. Want to try the Hawaiian!
There is so much more and something for every taste. Maybe there’s a case for going in with a mission, say, preserved meats, smoked foods, cheese or condiments and when you’ve exhausted that, go back and revisit things that stood out on the first lap. Certainly next time I’m going far better prepared!