Why the best holidays begin with gin and tonic

A selection of boutique gins
When does your holiday begin? When you buy your ticket, pack your case or arrive at the airport? Not for food and travel blogger Fork and Walk. In this guest post he looks forward to Heathrow’s summer festival of gin – and the first G&T of the journey.

When does your holiday BeGIN?

We get on a plane for many reasons and while business travel is a significant part of life in the skies, most of us are off on a new adventure to discover a new location, return to a favourite place or to celebrate with friends and family. So when does your holiday BeGIN? Is it the point when you buy your ticket, or the joy of packing and getting to the airport, or getting past the security line and entering that magical place between land and plane?

For me the journey begins (and usually ends) with a cool glass of gin and tonic. Despite all my planning and organisation, my holiday vibe doesn’t kick in till the first sip of a G&T or a Martini in the airport bar, which is always more decadent, and a little cheeky, when it’s well before noon. After all, time and rules are out of the window when you’re at the airport. So as you take that first taste you can already place yourself in your destination, be it a beach or a big city.

New places, new flavours

A holiday plan for me always involves new places to eat and the destination bars I have seen online, to try out their latest creation. In a new city it’s what makes the memories that stick with you. Talk to me about anywhere I’ve been and I usually have a story about a great bar, a diner with killer eggs, a bazaar with hidden treasures and often a highly recommended dinner location, but always a great place for a gin and some delicious cocktails. Plus an Instagram account for all the visual planning.

Thankfully these days gin has progressed, from a handful of standards from our childhood memories to a multitude of options, bringing a whole new meaning to botanicals. We have come a long way from just juniper.

Botanicals, of course, are the secret of converting the base spirit into its own unique identity, and gin producers have come up with a variety of ways to make tantalising flavour combinations.

Gin festival

Heathrow has bars and restaurants of all sizes to perfect that first drink, and when the Gin Festival is on they get very creative, which means your holiday is off to an even better start. From the Strawberry Gin Smash in The Gorgeous Kitchen to a perfect Martini in Terminal 5, you have a new hashtag for those holiday posts – #DestinationGin.

I never board a plane without a pit stop in World Duty Free, a great opportunity to find a new gin – often a limited-time offer or small-batch run that you won’t find in your run-of-the-mill stores. They now have more than 40 varieties, with 96% from the UK and other exclusives from around the globe, including the Japanese-inspired Jinzu.

Chase Distillery airport exclusive

This summer, Heathrow and Chase Distillery have partnered to create an exclusive gin available only at the airport. The new flavour, created in “Ginny” – Chase’s much loved Copper Still – is part of a six-week long gin festival celebrating the incredibly popular spirit. I was lucky enough to receive a sample in advance of the launch (for research purposes, naturally) and Chase have created a real summer treat. I love the grapefruit elements to the flavour that make it a perfect summer spirit. I also mixed up the Chase cocktail aptly named “The Great Escape”, which is what we are all doing at the airport. Add to this an exclusive bonus gift with all gins over £29 (some “Gin Tea Bags”, for the ultimate cocktail infusion bringing you flavours of Sweden, America and India) and even more flavour combinations await you.

Only 10,000 bottles of the new Heathrow Exclusive GB Gin were made available to purchase at Heathrow from 1st July. Plus, you can collect double Heathrow Rewards points when purchasing gin at Heathrow before 4 September 2017 too.

The distinctive dark green Chase bottle has a union flag on the front and prominent GB marking to signify a very British drink. The hand-finished red wax seal makes the presentation perfect, a great carry-on-board gift if you’re off to spend time with friends.

Enjoy the new adventure but take a little bit of exclusive Britishness with you to spread the joy and kick-start that holiday. Enjoy your Great Escape!!

Fork and Walk identFork and Walk is a London-based foodie but can often be found on a plane, seeking out new food and drink exploration.

Instagram @Forkandwalk