5 stops, 5 cocktails, 5 samples and a posh minibus to Gintopia
Gin Journey - the award-winning educational booze tour with events in London, Manchester and Liverpool - has announced Leeds as its next city.
The tours - which have been featured in The Guardian and Time Out - will be working their way across the city every Saturday in March, taking in five cocktails and samples in five Leeds venues - including The Alchemist, Pintura and The Domino Club.
Yorkshire, of course, has a strong connection to gin, with a number of excellent distilleries, as well as the notable distinction of being the birthplace of Joseph Priestly - the chemist responsible for the invention of carbonation (leading to a legacy of mixers).
We spoke to the man behind the tours, Leon Dalloway, the self-styled Gin Boss, to find out some more...
How will you tailor make the Leeds tour to suit the city?
LD: “The way we’re making it more Leeds, is that we’ll be telling more of a story about the city. We’ll be bringing quite a bit of local knowledge into it and we’ll be including Yorkshire gins such as Masons.”
Which bars will feature on the Leeds tour?
LD: “It will be starting at The Alchemist on Greek Street and finishing at The Domino Club, little bar underneath a barbers shop in the Arcade. We’ll also stop at Pintura for a little bit of food and a gin and tonic as well as Hedonist Project, which is a gin bar. We’re still finalising the final bar, so that’s a secret for now.”
"The tour is chauffeur driven in a posh Mercedes minibus"
How do we get to try the gins?
LD: “There’s always one traditional gin and tonic on the Gin Journeys, but the rest of the drinks are made up of cocktails and gin samples in each bar. There’ll definitely be at least one Yorkshire gin, plus Portobello Road gin that has a strong connection with Leeds as well - it is made by the guys who own Jakes Bar.
“So we’ll visit five different gin bars with a diff gin sample plus a cocktail using that particular gin to go with it.”
Is this a walking tour?
LD: "Nope, it’s in a chauffeur driven in a posh Mercedes minibus. All the bars are pretty close, so you could do a walking tour, but we like to keep people dry and we do a lot of chat on the bus telling gin stories. We cover a bit of gin history asking questions and giving away little bottles of gin as prizes while we’re driving around."
How many people can book on each tour?
LD: "Eighteen, plus our Leeds host, Cocktail Kate."
"Over time we’ll include more bars and get new gins involved"
How many tours are on offer?
LD: "We have four organised at the moment throughout March (3, 10, 17, 23) and it looks like those are going to be so successful, we’re going to have to roll out some more (The first event has sold out already.) So, we’ll have a break and probably come back in May all guns blazing.
"We’ve done every Saturday since we launched in Manchester and that’s what we’re aiming to do in Leeds. Over time we’ll include more bars and get new gins involved and just try and keep making it better."