Oslo Gin Festival was the first of its kind in Norway. Last weekend hundreds of people gathered in the capital of Norway to taste and discuss gin, attend masterclasses, and to meet fellow gin enthusiasts.
Never before has a similar event taken place in Norway. The date was not chosen randomly. 11. June is the international gin day! I did not know what to expect. I had never been to an event like this before, and this was the first gin festival in Norway.
What a pleasant experience this turned out to be. The venue was three floors with different gin dealers. I lost count at some time, but it must have been around 20 different gin brands, and a handful of different tonic brands as well.
Located in Norway, the festival had a lot of Scandinavian made gins. The Swedish brand Hernö was a delightful experience. They make a Navy Strength gin (black bottle, 57%) and a London Dry gin (blue bottle, 40,5%). To taste both was an interesting experience which illustrated how much a gin can change in taste and character by adding water and lowering the alcohol content.
Moonshine from Norway
Another pleasant and fun surprise was the number of Norwegian made gins. One of the most creative Norwegian brands was the brand Himkok, made at the bar with the same name in Oslo. Himkok is the Norwegian word for moonshine or homemade spirit.
The bottle to the left has the name HaPå. This is the name of an old bread spread made from nuts and chocolate. The smell brought back old memories from my childhood.
The taste was not as characteristic as the smell, but the hint of chocolate made a very round and pleasant gin taste.
Unfortunately, their homepage is maybe the least informative page on the web, but one day I will have to visit this bar, and have a look at their gin production.
Hendrick’s had the coolest stand, it was filled with all kinds of paraphernalia related to the famous brand and its two main characteristics; roses and cucumber.
Not only could you taste the gin’s, five masterclasses was also possible to attend. I chose “Ginaissancen” – The history of cocktail from 1793 to today. This was 45 minutes packed with history. The presenter was the Norwegian bartender Truls Thomsen, winner of Best Cocktail in the Beefeater World Championship 2015.
We also got three small samples to taste. Finally, I got to taste the Basil Smash, the invention of Joerg Meyer, the owner of Le Lion in Hamburg. See my blog post, Le Lion- Hamburg’s best cocktails.
[bctt tweet=”Bartenders are rock stars who didn’t bother to learn an instrument.”]
I also bought the below book. Propped with London history and famous faces I think it will be an interesting read. See the reviews at Amazon.com: Gin Glorious Gin: How Mother’s Ruin Became the Spirit of London
Oslo Gin Festival 2017 – Mark the date
I had a pleasant chat with the man behind it all, Lars Madsen. He told me that the venue is already booked for next year. Mark off June 10th 2017 for the next World Gin Day and the next Oslo Gin Festival. I hope to see you there. More information can be found at www.ginfestival.no.
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