Monday, 1 January 2018

Spirit of North Hop

As the new year begins, I find myself looking back on 2017 and all the fun things that happened. One of my favourite events of the year was the inaugural Spirit of North Hop festival. Fans of North Hop will already know what it's all about - good drinks, good food & good times. But the Spirit was something a little different.


Showcasing some of the best spirits Scotland has to offer, the festival featured 18 distilleries, a Prosecco bar, bottle bar, three awesome food vendors and a fab mini local market too. As North Hop's north east ambassador I was at both sessions - meaning the chance to try twice as much of the offerings!


Spirits

Each bar was located around the exhibition area as they would be on a map of Scotland. In my opinion the best way to enjoy the festival was to make your way around each one, sampling a 5ml taster of each spirit as you go, and then heading back for a cocktail or perfect serve from your favourites. With plenty food breaks in between of course!


My personal favourites included Misty Isle gin from none other than the Isle of Skye and the blood orange cocktails from Stirling Gin! I couldn't resist buying a bottle of my ultimate favourite spirit though - Shetland Reel's original gin. Gordon purchased the Glenrothes Vintage whisky and fell in love with UWA Tequila's cocktails! Laura was a big fan of El:gin's Moray Mocha, and I managed to hunt down a bottle for her this Christmas - it makes a mean Espresso Martini!


Street Food

What is a festival without street food?! Three epic eateries made choosing what to eat ridiculously difficult. Salt & Sauce were lining stomachs with poutine, mac & cheese and unreal footlong hot dogs. I nursed my hangover with a plateful of Fresh Mex cheesy nachos, piled with guac but it was Yatai that really stole my heart. Incredible spicy pork gyoza and their famous bao buns were a big hit! Really looking forward to seeing them out and about in Aberdeen more.


Market

For some of the best boozy merch, the market had everything covered. From Bakery Lane was providing the sweet treats including Esker Gin cupcakes and Teasmith grapefruit gin marmalade! Juniper Press was on hand with the usual gorgeous prints and Curated Stories pop up shop showcased all their best beer books and gorgeous glassware. Bon Accord drinks had a selection of soft drinks to pair with your spirits for the perfect serve at home!


After Party

As if two sessions in one day weren't enough, the party continued well into the night with live music and cocktails down at Orchid! The team had rustled up a special menu featuring some of the exhibited spirits - the Seawolf Daquiri and Braemble Bramble were a delight!


Towards the end of 2017 festival director Michelle announced the end of North Hop as we know it. Sad news but when one door closes, another one opens! I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for my favourite festival. It's been an absolute honour to be involved with the team and see the immense passion and hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make each and every event possible. Don't miss the final fling at the AECC in March!

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