You have just walked into the Jayamahal palace hotel grounds in the afternoon. There is a nip in the air, and you find yourself looking at the retro-themed decor there, all while wondering which food pop-up to make a beeline towards, and which gin to explore first. The bars are calling, there is great music, and there are stories of brands waiting to be heard.
When Anjali Batra, founder, speaks about the second edition of the Gin Explorers Club festival that is set to take place in Bengaluru on December 9 and 10, she hopes for her attendees to experience all of this, and more.
“We had our first edition in Bengaluru last year around the same time. For us, December will always be about Bengaluru, January is for Mumbai, and February is for Delhi. We pick the best time, weather-wise, in these cities,” she says.
The city gets a lot of love from her for a host of reasons. “The culture of drinking here starts during the day and goes on till night. We love that here, the festival fills up during the day and crowds stay on, since we’ve seen in other cities that most people come in only around 6 pm,” she says. She recalls their experience from last year, when a sudden, short downpour did little to dampen the spirit of the attendees. “ The city has an incredible energy, people are really nice, and respectful.”
Acknowledging that while Bengaluru loves its beer, Anjali says that G&Ts are the perfect choice for someone looking for something stronger, a little more flavourful, and a little more fruity. She is also quick to add that the festival is the perfect place for someone who has never tried gin before, to give it a shot as well.
This year, Gin Explorers Club 2023 in Bengaluru will be a retroverse themed edition, and is hosting around 15 homegrown and international brands that include Beefeater, Roku, Samsara, Tanqueray, Jaisalmer, and Satiwa.
Anjali says that the gin festival will have a 60:40 mix of homegrown and international brands. There has been an explosion of Indian gin brands in the last four years, and she is excited about the innovation and newer brands emerging. Sipsmith, the famed English gin and Ki No Bi, a Japanese gin, will be making their debuts at the festival this year.
The food popups will be hard to miss at this weekend-long cocktail party experience — with Brik Oven, Burgerama, Local Ferment Co, and Nashville Fried Chicken and other restaurants scheduled to make their presence felt.
Even as popular bars from across the country are expected to come in, and do take-overs of the bars set up by the spirits participating in the festival, there is more in store for the attendees this year. People can sign up for mixology workshops, sip-and-paint sessions, and exclusive tasting sessions that will be hosted in an atelier space.
The design element is an integral part of this festival. The festival has been designed keeping in mind how good it will look on camera, and the many photo opportunities that it has in store for its attendees. Anjali describes this as ‘a Coachella vibe and cocktail festival’ put together. “As someone obsessed with design, I’m constantly thinking about how I can give you a vibe, and a cultural experience where you will want to come and spend your time,” she says.
Musicians Lifafa, Anoushka Maskey, Arun Sivag, Farhan Rehman, Frizzell D’Souza, and L’Nee, Stalwart John are among the artistes scheduled to perform.
As someone ‘personally obsessed with gin’ as she says, Anjali traces the beginnings of Gin Explorers Club back to 2018 and how it started off as an experiment of sorts.
“The whole purpose of creating Gin Explorers Club was to make India fall in love with gin,” she says. “Our first ever edition, in Delhi, had just four brands of gin and around 2,000 attendees. Our last edition in Delhi had 15,000 attendees, and we’ve had such an impactful journey towards creating this demand.” For her, the space is not about just what people are sipping on, but also for the stories of the many brands that participate, and knowing about their journeys and quirks.
Anywhere between 8,000 to 10,000 attendees are expected to partake in the gin festivities this year at Bengaluru. “This is the perfect number for a premium experience — I want 10,000 people to come in, have an incredible cocktail experience, and soak in the culture of gin,” Anjali signs off.
Tickets for the Gin Explorer’s Club Retroverse Edition Bengaluru, which will take place on December 9 and 10 from noon to 10 pm, are priced at Rs 1,200 onwards and available at insider.in Entry for ages 21 and above only.