5 minutes with the founders of The Gin to My Tonic gin festival

The Gin To My Tonic Festival is an event that takes place at venues around the UK. The event brings together over 100 different gins from across the UK and beyond; every gin stocked behind the bars has been selected based on outstanding craftsmanship, delightful flavour and the most enjoyable drinking experiences.

Obviously, helping gin-lovers to discover new, rare and high-quality gins is very much a passion we share here at Craft Gin Club! So we caught up with Paul Hudson-Jones and Emira Shepherd; best friends, gin connoisseurs and co-founders of The Gin to My Tonic, to find out more.

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Craft Gin Club: How did you both meet, and when did you discover your shared love of gin?

Paul & Emira: “We were introduced by mutual friends and immediately hit it off. Since then our lives have been very much intertwined. We are each other’s biggest supporters in life. You could say we are the gin to each other’s tonic!

 “We’ve both always enjoyed a G&T, and one day we just started surprising each other with different gins. I guess you could say curiosity got the better of us!"

 Craft Gin Club: When (and how!) did you decide to follow your hearts and make gin your full-time jobs?

Paul & Emira: “We set up The Gin to My Tonic as an Instagram blog as part of a New Year’s resolution in January 2017. We never really expected it to take off in the way that it has, but we ran with the opportunity!”

Craft Gin Club: Tell us more about The Gin to My Tonic show.

Paul & Emira: “The Gin to My Tonic Show is basically our journey of gin discovery brought to life as a giant gin festival!

“It’s a rare opportunity for you to meet the makers of the gins and immerse yourselves in their world. As part of the ticket you can enjoy unlimited tastings, so it’s a great way to find new favourites, too. We also include masterclasses and workshops within the event, so you can learn about distilling and how to make the perfect G&T or cocktail.”

 Craft Gin Club: What’s your favourite part about running these events?

Paul & Emira: “Much like those that attend, we love discovering new gins and hearing the backstories, botanicals and tasting notes.

“Our favourite gins are the ones that have a great design, aroma, taste and finish, which you can also connect with personally.

“Our main ethos has always been to collaborate and support distilleries, and so whilst we’ve built a business, we’ve also made life-long friends. It’s so nice to see someone’s hard work pay off, and their gin being truly enjoyed.”

 Craft Gin Club: Do you have any advice for Craft Gin Clubbers looking to make their passion into their job?

Paul & Emira: “Seize the moment! Self-doubt is an awful thing, so when opportunities present themselves don’t be shy about grabbing them.

“Just make sure you have a good friend in your corner to share the ups, downs and G&Ts with along the way!”

 Craft Gin Club: You’ve got a few events coming up over the next few months – where can gin lovers join in the fun?

Paul & Emira: “Our next big show is in Liverpool on the 6th to the 8th September, which is super exciting! We’ve got some amazing brands joining us from all corners of the globe, along with a number of well-known UK brands and smaller micro-distilleries. 

“We are also travelling the UK with The Gin to My Tonic Festival, taking over 100 gins around the country with us behind our touring bars, complete with live music and several distillers.

“All our events can be found on our Facebook page or on our website www.thegintomytonic.com.”

 Craft Gin Club: What are each of your favourite gin cocktails to enjoy after a long day running one of your amazing events?

Emira: “It’s a Negroni, either classic or white served with Italicus to keep things interesting.”

Paul: “A Red Snapper, preferably with a spicy gin so it’s got a bit of a bite to it!”