After a highly successful launch last year, the annual Bangkok Gin Fest is back to excite the gaze and goblets of all gin lovers. In its second rendition, the festival appears to have returned arguably bigger, better, harder, and stronger, this time featuring an impressive line-up of exhibitors, activities, and guest shifts. Taking place next weekend from 9-10 November, read ahead for what you can expect, and with your tasting glass at the ready, let the games begin.
[All images courtesy Bangkok Gin Fest]
A toast to women in the industry
Following somewhat a controversial awards ceremony at the World’s 50 Best Bars announcement this year, it is wholly refreshing to see that Bangkok Gin Fest is pulling out many a stop to prove that women do have a place, can have a place, and absolutely thrive behind the bar.
Attribute it to the notorious BKK Gin Fest founder Niks-Anuman Rajadhon, long an advocate and a loud voice in the industry, having invited four leading lady bartenders who will be taking up guest shifts at four bars across China Town’s Soi Nana. In a collaboration with four renowned gin brands, it’s a prime excuse to visit the area and its infamous watering holes, but also to get a taste of various gins in various concoctions. You knew cucumber peels were best married with Hendrick’s on ice, but did you know gin and tea have quite the love affair going too? Get a taste of this:
Leila Lee at Teens of Thailand
Presented by the Japanese Roku Gin, Taipei’s Leila Lee will be mixing drinks at Thailand’s very own first gin bar, Teens of Thailand. Having worked at some of the best bars in Taipei and currently working as the head bartender at Placebo, Leila brings with her Taiwanese inspirations, adding Asian teas, herbs, and roots, to her creations.
Grace Tsai at Asia Today Bar
Have you even been to Taipei if you haven’t enjoyed a cocktail by head bartender Grace Tsai at Indulge Experimental Bistro? We don’t need to roll eyes and beg of you an answer. Bringing her talents and her experience of working alongside the legendary Aki Wang to Bangkok (and also recently winning the regional Bacardi Legacy championship, no less), Grace will be making drinks at Asia Today, presented by the Star of Bombay.
June Baek at Tep Bar
We’ve long swooned for Tep Bar, and we’re swooning hard again for June Baek. The senior bartender of Madame Fan Bar at the JW Marriott Hotel South Beach, the bubbly Korean native has countless global accolades to her name, but it is arguably her charm and cheeky antics that bring guests to her bar. Crafting cocktails designed for the individual in mind, June will be making cocktails presented by Caorunn.
Audrey Gustilo at Ba Hao
From Dubai to Manila, the young but well-travelled Audrey Gustilo is currently a bartender at OTO, and quickly rising to become a real one to watch on the Philippine bar scene. Experimenting with both traditional and more contemporary techniques, Audrey will be making Hendrick’s gin cocktails at Ba Hao.
Exhibitors, and an extremely exciting new launch
Beyond the guest shifts, a core component of Bangkok Gin Fest was always to bring together lovers and makers of gin in a celebration of gin culture in Thailand. With over 100 brands showcasing their spirit, head to Baan Silom from 1pm onwards on either 9 or 10 November to explore the selections.
Yet whilst there are plenty of craft and conventional brands to check out, we’re probably most excited about the debut of a new addition to the Thai market. Through the grape vine (though lime vine sounds far more apt here), we’ve sussed out that a particular German monkey (yes, of Monkey47) will be making its first and highly anticipated entry to the local drinking scene. A brilliant reason to stop by and be a first sipper.
Is there anything sexier than a Gin Room?
A new feature, this year’s Gin Classroom at the Bangkok Gin Fest aims to bring together people who want to learn more about the world of gin. There’ll be talks and demonstrations centered around all things gin, from a masterclass over to the ultimate tonic debate.
Who makes the best gin and tonic? Who has the most exciting botanicals? How much more can you express your love for the celebrated spirit? You may find a new fave, you may uncover something new, and you may get entirely sloshed. Be it one or be it all three, there’s a reason why Bangkok is waking up and falling in deep sweet love with gin, and Bangkok Gin Fest is beautiful proof as to why.
Tickets and tasting glasses
Tickets to the Bangkok Gin Fest are available now by the very millennial way of a scannable QR code or via Ticketmelon. Priced at THB 200 (and THB 300 at the door), each ticket may be redeemed for one complimentary gin drink, and guests are encouraged to bring their own glasses in an effort to minimize waste. Each guest will also be gifted one special souvenir gin tasting glass.
We have a feeling it’s going to come in very, very handy.
Bangkok Gin Fest is taking place from 9-10 November 2019 from 1pm at Nineteens Up, 2/F, Baan Silom, Silom Soi 19, Bangkok. Guest shifts are taking place on 9 November from 8pm onwards at Teens of Thailand, Asia Today, Tep Bar, and Ba Hao.