Let’s go on a gin journey around Leeds. A Slingsby gin journey to be more exact! A couple of days ahead of the event, our meeting point was revealed but the rest of the bars involved came as a surprise throughout the day. During four or so hours, we talked, learnt and sipped on nothing but gin. It was gin o’clock all afternoon.
Slingsby Gooseberry | Poison Bar
Our gin journey ended at Slingsby’s beginning and started with their most recent gin flavour: gooseberry, which happens to be my favourite of theirs. I like it best served with Mediterranean tonic but the bartenders at Poison Bar in Leeds made a gorgeous cocktail for us which has a gentle rose water flavour. It has the perfect balance between sour and sweet, only wanting you to drink more. On a hot summer day, it is very thirst quenching. Perfectly paired with a cheeseboard it set us up nicely for the rest of the afternoon.
Poison Bar is a small speakeasy bar underneath Remedy Barbers on Albion Street. It was our meeting point for the day’s gin journey experience. Here we got an introduction to Slingsby gin and talked through how to smell and taste a gin for the best experience. I have been on plenty of gin tastings before but somehow I always learn something new, or perhaps get reminded. Don’t stick your nose in the glass to smell, keep it under your chin to smell past the alcohol fumes. Blow out air of your nose when tasting it on your tongue to rid most alcohol taste. Using these two tricks, you’ll smell and taste more flavours.
Slingsby Navy Strength | Salon Privé
Our second stop, another bar I haven’t been to. On top of Leeds Dakota Hotel there is a rooftop bar called Salon Privé. It’s an amazing venue! Perhaps not my clientele but I can see past that with live music, fresh air and most importantly, tasty drinks. Here we sampled Slingsby’s Navy Strength gin and enjoyed it in a sunny cocktail with orange and Angostura bitter notes. I normally don’t like bitter cocktails but this hardly tasted of it so it went down a treat in the sunshine. It was paired with moreish vegetarian and pork gyoza. The vegetarian option is very spicy but both work really well with the cocktail.
Slingsby Rhubarb | Livin’ Italy Dough House
The third location is one of the places on this journey that I’ve previously been to: Livin’ Italy Dough House. These guys have recently been voted best Neapolitan pizza in the UK and they are delicious! I first went three or so years ago with my mum, to their small venue down by Granary Wharf. This new venue, located next door to the Corn Exchange, is distinctively bigger and it focuses more on their pizza offering. Here we shared classic margarita pizzas, followed by a sweet rhubarb and lemon meringue cocktail. I say followed, most started with it but I saved mine for after the pizza slices as I thought it worked better as a dessert, rather than paired together with the food. If you like sweet cocktails, this one is for you. I love meringue, lemon and rhubarb but this cocktail came out too sugary for my taste.
Slingsby Old Tom | Below Stairs
Second to last, we were taken to a hidden away location on South Parade: Below Stairs. Considering three of the best bartenders in the UK work here, it’s interesting that they don’t advertise it more. To be fair, it’s nice to have a spot to go to that not everyone knows about. No queues to the bar, plenty of seating to choose from and the staff has time to make a cocktail perfectly suited for you. The bar owner (also model) love exploring new tastes and incorporate ingredients from all over. On this day, he served us a colourful and unusual concoction which to me tasted a lot like watermelon. I loved it! Watermelon sweets are one of my fave. This cocktail, less sugary than watermelon sweets, was perfectly paired with a charcuterie board.
Slingsby Dry | Blind Tyger
Our final stop on our gin journey took us to yet another small bar: Blind Tyger on Cross Belgrave Street. Wedged between The Watermark Bar and Tobacco Rd (previously Sandinista) you walk through a nautical art themed corridor and up some stairs to this quirky bar. Think cosy atmosphere with cocktails served in tea cups. Here we went back to Slingsby’s beginning and I must say, that I find the dry version stronger than their Navy Strength. Mixed into a Corpse Revive No2 cocktail, it’s delicious. I love a citrus flavoured cocktail and this is no exception. Paired with a fruity pavlova, it’s the perfect palette combination. I lied on the day and said it was the first time I’ve ever had pavlova but now writing this, I remember making my own the other year.
Looking at a map, or if you’re familiar with Leeds, you might wonder why we hopped from one end of the city to another and not visited the bars close to each other after one another. As part of the gin journey, there’s a bus taking you between each bar, giving the tour guides a chance to talk even more about gin. It’s clever really and perfect if you’re not a city local, no risk getting lost. Make sure to listen carefully throughout the journey as bottles of gin are to be won in a quiz at the end.
After a gin filled afternoon it’s safe to say I walked home slightly round under my feet. If you’re looking for a gintastic afternoon, sampling new gins and learning more about this spirit, a gin journey tour is what you need. For this specific Slingsby gin journey, check out Slingsby’s Facebook page for upcoming events. If you want to take a gin journey in your city, head to Gin Journey’s website for location, dates and tickets.
*I was kindly invited along on this gin journey by the lovelies at Slingsby Gin, in return for this blog post. All views, words and photos are as always my own.