Gin Festival at Glasgow Blythswood Square Hotel


Event Date : Sunday 5th March 2017

Location : Glasgow Blythswood Hotel


So this year I am trying to learn more about Gin, I am hearing a lot of people talking about it and heard its the next big thing.

I saw this event advertised on Eventbrit, and thought at about £20 a ticket why not lets give it a shot and see what this is like.

The event is being held at the Glasgow Blysthwood Square Hotel, which as you maybe have seen I have been to a few times for a lot of my family events.

Event Details :

The Gin

Arbikie Gin, Caorunn Gin, Eden Mill, Fever-Tree, The Gin Bothy, Hendrick’s Gin, Makar Glasgow Gin, Sipsmith Gin, Stirling Gin, Summerhouse Drinks, Edinburgh Gin

Sunday 5th March – 12-5pm


  • Blythswood Square deliver an Edinburgh Gin cocktail demonstration – 12.30pm & 2.30pm
  • Arbikie Gin – Adam Hunter debates “is provenance the new craft” – 1.30pm
  • Makar Glasgow Gin – gin presentation – 3pm
  • Hendrick’s Gin – masterclass on the classic teapot cocktail serve – 4pm

…plus a goodie bag to take away

The Event : 

The event was held downstairs in the event hall, and looked visually different and smaller than when I was last in for my Grandparents Anniversary. Its amazing how decoration and layout can make a difference on how a place looks.

I decided to do a once a round and talk to each brand, take photos and have a look at what was on offer then start the samples.

Sipsmith Gin

Website :

It all began in 2009, in a tiny workshop in Hammersmith, London. Two childhood friends, Fairfax and Sam, had an unwavering belief in things well made – the way they used to be, the way they should be. So they set up London’s first traditional copper distillery since 1820. Their mission was simple: to bring London Dry Gin of truly uncompromising quality and character, back to the city where it first earned its name. Every bottle of Sipsmith is hand-crafted in genuinely small batches. Every drop of every batch is lovingly laboured over by hand, by our dedicated Distillers. No regimented timings, no automatic cuts, just a craftsman’s flair and a passion for gin well made. We believe this is the only way to craft spirits of this quality.

I started with this Gin as it was right at the door, and got listening to the rep tell some customers about the 3 gins on display and sale today. Once the ladies left I got speaking to the rep, and asked about the history etc and had a sample of the three gins.

I purchased one bottle today, this was was a nice sweet gin.


A little sharp on first taste but once that is done the rest goes down very smoothly.

Lots of juicy sweet flavours with a lovely aftertaste too.

The Gin Bothy

Website :

Inspired by Bothies of the past, Gin Bothy favour the old fashioned approach. We infuse our Gins with local seasonal fruits in extremely small batches, working through the process by hand at each step.

Again I asked to hear the history about the gin, and speak to the rep today.

Unfortunately by the time I came back to try most of the samples were gone so I didn’t get a chance to try this one.

If i see them at another festival I will take the sample right away.

Stirling Gin

Stirling’s first Gin!  Stirling Gin from Scotland’s heart.Our First batch of Stirling Gin was distilled on the 28th of October 2015.

We wanted to bring something unique to the world of ever growing Gins, and in our  recipe we feel we have achieved our goal. A gin that has a big nose and very enjoyable neat or with a premium tonic of your choice.

Our Gin is infused with hand picked Stirlingshire Nettles, Basil, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, Juniper and Angelica Root.


I got speaking to the rep of Stirling Gin who was very enthusiastic about this gin, and we had a really nice chat.

I really liked this gin, and if I had more money with me today I would have purchased a bottle.

Arbikie Gin

Website :
Twitter : @ArbikieGin

Kirsty’s & AK’s Gins are rare as we distil our spirit from scratch from our farm-grown crops & locally foraged botanics. World award-winning


I liked the sound of this gin when the rep was telling me about it, and my friend said it was very nice. Unfortunately this was one that I didn’t get a chance to sample, so I will have to keep a look out for them and try it.


Website :
Twitter : @FeverTreeMixers

Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water launched in the UK in early 2005, the brand name chosen due to fever tree being the colloquial name for the cinchona treein which quinine, a key ingredient for tonic, is found. The highest quality quinine was sourced from the Rwanda Congo border and blended with spring water and eight botanical flavours, including rare ingredients such as marigold extracts and a bitter orange from Tanzania. Crucially, no artificial sweeteners, preservatives or flavourings were added.

The rep today was very friendly and very enthusiastic, she answered all my questions and give me a lot of good detail today.

I tried the Sicilian Lemon one, for me it was just ok but maybe as a mixer it would have been better. Maybe at some point I could try the other flavours, and do a post at a later date.

Caorunn Gin

Website :

Carefully handcrafted in the Scottish Highlands, Caorunn expertly infuses five locally foraged gin botanicals. Artisanal and small batch, beautifully mixing the rugged charm of Speyside with the urban sophistication of modern Scotland.

I liked this Gin, the flavours for me were really good and I would like to try this gin again.

I liked that there was a little model of how the Gin is processed, and it was colourful the table was nicely presented.

Makar Glasgow Gin

Make it a Makar to taste our award-winning Scottish handcrafted gin, hand bottled and distilled in the heart of Glasgow

This was another one of my favourites today, I tried a few samples and also spoke to the rep who was very nice and very friendly.

Makar also hosted a little presentation, which you can read about later in this blog post.

I also managed to try their Vodka, which is another drink I only know of the mainstream brands and also that I have it in cocktails etc so I have never had a good quality one to try.

This vodka was really nice, and had a slight creamy after taste which was nice. This could easily be a nice sipping Vodka and very nice as a mixer.

I will be purchasing this Vodka once I have some free cash.

Eden Mill

The Eden Mill story began at St Andrews in 1810, when the legendary Haig distillers first laid down whisky here at the site we now own and work from. In 2012, we resurrected that proud tradition of crafting. We’re Scotland’s original single site combined brewery and distillery – the first in Scotland. Very few gin makers are as fortunate as Eden Mill and even fewer have all the elements that our team use in creating outstanding flavours and choices.


This was another one I didn’t get a chance to sample, but I did speak to the rep and also learn a little about

Hendrick’s Gin

Hendrick’s is a gin distilled in Scotland with curious, yet marvellous, infusions of cucumber and rose.


As I have said I dont know much about gin, so I am trying to learn this year. Hendricks is the only name I had heard about, just heard that’s all.

I got speaking to the rep today and she was very nice, helpful and I had a little taster.

This was a very nice Gin, the flavours were really nice and it had a nice after taste.

I got a little bottle of this in the goodie bag, and it was finished the following day. This is another gin from todays event that I would purchase.

Summerhouse Drinks

Real lemonades made in Scotland using 100% natural ingredients. Home of 

The rep today was very friendly, and helpful and I managed to sample two today.

The first was the tonic water, I haven’t really tasted a lot tonic water in the past so I couldn’t really compare it.

It’s a little bitter to start with ending in a pleasant enough end and after taste. This one is probably best as a mixer, to try and sweeten the taste.

The second was Raspberry Lemonade, the flavour of the raspberry was very night and not over powering. As I have a sweet tooth, this was a nice one for me and would be good on its own or mixed.

I would like to try both again, more so the raspberry one on its on and in a cocktail.

Makar Glasgow Gin – Gin Presentation

The presentation was held in the cinema room, this was a perfect location for presentations as its a good sized room with many comfy seats.

We got to sample the gins that were on show at the Makar Glasgow table, and learn about Makar Gin. This was a very informative talk, and a very relaxed one as we all listened and got to try samples so it was a fun presentation.

Hendrick’s Gin – masterclass on the classic teapot cocktail serve

We all gathered at the bar area, and waited to see what was happening.

After a few minutes we were then handed a glass of the finished cocktail, and everyone tried it and talked among themselves.

I wouldn’t really class this part of the event as a masterclass, you didn’t really learn how to make them e.g. measures etc you just tried it and kinda moved on.

For me this was a little disappointing, as I am sure maybe a few people standing would have liked to have seen them being made and some background information.

Overall :

Overall the event was really fun and informative.

I have been learning about rum last year and thought I would try Gin, I learned that I am more a flavoured Gin person more sweet.

I am sure that the Gins would be good as mixers, but if I wanted to take them as a sipping gin etc then a more sweet or flavoured would be more my cup of tea.

Sorry I wasn’t that great at going in to much detail, but I am still learning about Gin so if your wanting more info the best thing to do is check websites listed above or try and find a sample and take it from there.

I promise any following gin events I attend, I will do my very best to give you more detail.

I will keep trying Gin, but I think I am more a rum guy but it was a fun and education event.


Loch Lomond Shores Market Day 2017

Loch Lomond Shores,
Ben Lomond Way,
West Dunbartonshire,
G83 8QL

Visit Date : Sunday 19th February 2017

I had heard that a Market was coming to Loch Lomond Shores, and I have never been to one. I have always just come here to visit and shop, so I thought lets give it a shot and see what its like.

The only markets I have been to, were the Christmas Markets so I had that in mind as to what it would be like.

As most of you know I stay in Glasgow, so my girlfriend and I got the Train from Central Station to Balloch. From here we walked through a park and in to Loch Lomond Shores, just be warned the park gets a little muddy when its has been raining but on a nice day its fine.

Before coming to this event, I had a few Twitter exchanges with Loch Lomond Shores and Funky Fudge.

On arrival I could hear someone singing, and the chatter of everyone here and the smell of food. The market was located at the side of the shopping centre, there wasn’t a lot of stalls as I expected more but there was a good mix of items for sale.

To begin with I decided to do a once around, take a look at the stall maybe chat to the sellers and see if there was anything I wanted to get.

I am doing this by memory as these stalls below stood out for me, I am sure I probably missed some so you will be able to find them on the Lomond Shores Website or Facebook events page.

I started with the first stall which was Funky Fudge.

Funky Fudge :

Website : Coming Soon

As I said above I had tweeted Funky Fudge a few times before coming, this was the first time hearing about this company.

I stopped at the stall and said hi, I spoke to the guys today and they were very pleasant and we had a nice chat. The stall was loaded with all types of fudge, and I could have gone crazy as I have a very very sweet tooth.

I had to restrain myself so the fudge I purchased was :

  • Bubblegum
  • Caramack
  • Billionaire Fudge
  • Oreo
  • Chocolate & Orange

The price was £1.50 per bar or 4 for £5, which I thought was a very good price. Its bad to say but all 5 bars were finished within 48hours, here is what I thought of them.

My favourite was the Billionaire Fudge, the texture and taste was 100% perfect. This fudge “Billionaire Fudge” I was told was the companies very first, so this was one of the reasons I took one to try.

The others were nice, but I have a very sweet tooth so I needed the flavours to come over a little more.  I shared some with friends and they said the taste was perfect for them, so its all down to personal taste and my sweet sweet tooth.


When I see them again I will be getting more of this one mmmmm so good.

Cedar Cottage Country Foods

Facebook :

This stall was selling mince pies, burgers etc but one thing that did get my attention and it was due to the smell was the Bratwursts that were cooking.

These Bratwursts were made from local Scottish pork and they were really tasty, if I could have I would have had a second but it was lunch time and I was being good.

I did take a photo of the Bratwurst but its not one that you would share with anyone, not the most artistic so you can just use your imagination.

All Things Nice Food

Facebook :
Website :
Twitter : @allthingsnicefo

This stall was selling homemade jams, chutney etc and I got speaking to the seller.

There were a lot of different types of jams, some I would have loved to try but I didn’t want to spend too much today.

I did purchase a Salted Caramel Chutney Jar, I tried a small sample when I got home on a spoon and it was perfect for me. I look forward to digging in to it more.

Next time I will take a jam and see what its like.

Judes Jewels Jewellery

Facebook :

As the name suggests they were selling jewellery, Scottish themed frames, wooden plaques, cork cord pendants, cufflinks and more

Not really my thing, but if you are into homemade jewellery there was some really nice looking items and some sci-fi stuff for the inner geeks.

Olives and Thingz

As the name suggests they sold lots of Olives.

I spoke to the seller Tony, who was very friendly with everyone and also offered me a sample of the green olives with feta cheese inside them. This was really nice, so nice I purchased a small box.

The Olives I purchased were my lunch the next day, and I could have ate more. I will get some more from Olives and Thingz when I next get to see them.

Erincroft Bakery

Facebook :


Walking past this stall I could have had one of everything, but I was good. There was a lot of really nice items for sale and at good prices.

Next time if I see them at another market, I will sample a few items from them.

McQueen Gin

If you have been following my blogs or tweets you know this year I am trying to learn more about Gin, and also sample a few gins as I dont know much or anything about this type of drink.

My girlfriend and I entered the tent, and was welcomed by the two girls that were at this stall. I got talking and they offered me a sample to try, the sample was a very small amount it was just enough to get any taste. The one I sampled was the chocolate mint, it was very pleasant. Unfortunately a sample wasn’t offered to my girlfriend, who would have also liked to try a sample of the one I had.

You could purchase one bottle or a small boxed pack of 4, the bottles I can’t remember the exact prices as they varied but the 4 boxed were £28.

I was going to go back for the boxed pack, but we got busy in the shops and by the time we came out the market was finished.

Fiona Brown Home Baking

[no photo as it got very bashed on my journey home]

Unfortunately Fiona doesn’t have any social network account, or a website she bakes for these markets and you can find her at most of them.

I got an Extra Caramel Slice from her stall today, as I wanted to try her home baking.

For me it was nice, personally I would have liked a little more caramel than base but thats just me. It’s a lot better than the shops ones, and tasted a lot nice but a little more caramel would have suited me (sweet tooth strikes again)

Singer Lisa Kowalski



Throughout the time I was at the market, I could hear Lisa sing.

This was my first time hearing of and hearing Lisa, the music she played was good for this event as it blended nicely in the background and was very relaxing.

I made sure I stopped and listened to a few songs.

Do check Lisa out on her Twitter or Facebook, here is a short video I took VIEW

Overall :

As I said I am sure there are a few stalls that I have not mentioned, but please do check Lomond Shores events page to get the full details of everyone that was here.

If any of the stalls that were at the event would like me to update any of my information, feel free to contact me and I will be happy to do that.

The next big one at Lomond Shores for me will be in April, its called SpringFest 2017 where there will be more stall food and drink. I will take photos, videos and even a live video which you will be able to watch on my Twitter page.

I will also try and take more money next time, so I can get some more things to add to my review. And will try and take some photos of the shopping centre, so you can see what its like incase you have never been there.

For me Lomond Shores is a very relaxing place to visit, and I look forward to my next visit.

See you soon. 🙂