12 gins you may not have heard of to add to your home bar

Whether you like it neat, with tonic, or something a little sweeter, there’s no denying that gin is one of the most versatile spirits and an absolute must for your home bar cart.

And following the ‘ginaissance’ in the 2010’s, the tipple continues to be incredibly popular, with new flavours and distilling methods making each one more and more unique. According to the National Office of Statistics, there are now more than 800 gin distilleries in the UK, up from 710 in 2020 and just 190 five years earlier, proving there’s a huge market for the juniper-led spirit.

The bar staple has been reproduced and reinvented countless times, but some brands have nailed it much better than others. So ahead of Mother’s Day, I’ve rounded up some of my top brands that tick all the boxes from botanical balance, flavour, finish and value for money.

Some of the smaller brands have really wonderful stories behind them – and one of them is made right here in my home county of Staffordshire!

Whether you love a London Dry or prefer the fruitier options, there’s something for every one and every budget in this list. So here are 12 gin brands you need to add to your home bar cart to make a negroni or spritz to remember.

Sixtowns

Priced at £39.95 a bottle, Sixtowns Gin is made in small batches of 100 or less. But we will never know exactly what’s inside, with part of the magic in the mystery.

Born in Latvia, brothers Vitalijs and Alex watched their grandparents distill grain, who’d watched their parents before them, resulting in a tried and tested, successful recipe. In the late 90s, the siblings decided to bring their expertise and secret family knowledge over to Staffordshire.

The brothers, whose distillery is based in Fenton, said: “Our complete recipe will always be a family secret tested with time and passed down through the generations. Therefore we will never reveal amounts and a complete list of botanicals.”

But they do reveal that the London Dry gin features a good balance of juniper, cardamom and zesty lemon before warming ginger and pink peppercorns develop on the palette.

With an ABV of 40%, the satisfyingly smooth spirit is bottled and sealed by hand, making it a real labour of love with true craftsmanship at play here.

Sixtowns gin is warming, juniper forward and very smooth, with notes of ginger and a hint of citrus. Plus you get a gorgeous keepsake bottle that you can style as a vase afterwards.

Malfy Gin con Arancia

To imagine you’re sitting on a balcony in Venice, you’ll want to try Malfy Gin con Arancia – a ruby red citrus flavoured gin with an ABV of 41%.

Distilled at Torino Distillati in Moncalieri, Italy, Malfy Gin is made using vacuum distillation which uses a lower temperature keeps the botanicals fresh and flavourful.

This premium gin uses juniper, oranges and blood oranges, and four unnamed botanicals with a rich, bittersweet citrus finish that tastes of the long nights of summer. It costs £28 in Tesco and is similarly priced in other supermarkets, too.

Malfy said: “Inspired by this Amalfi lifestyle, Malfy Gin embodies the essence of ‘La Dolce Vita’ and we invite you to sit back and enjoy with every sip.”

It’s fruity without being syrupy, with the juniper still coming through to remind you this is a gin, and not a liqueur. It makes a beautiful cocktail and pairs well with the likes of Campari and Aperol. Other gins in their range include Limone, Rosa and Originale – or lemon, rose and original, and are also worth a try.

Warner’s Rhubarb Gin

Warner’s multi-award winning rhubarb gin is said to be the world’s first, made using one third rhubarb juice to give it it’s naturally pink hue.

The distillery said: “Originally cooked up using rhubarb reportedly from Queen Victoria’s crop, it was meant to be a limited edition, until we realised how stonking it was. Officially the world’s first rhubarb gin. Which is both a blessing and a curse, because it inspired a whole heap of corner-cutting copycats. Bleurgh.”

It’s a gin that Warner’s are extremely proud of for both it’s flavour and it’s quality, and so they should be, seeing as it’s practically made with blood, sweat, tears and tonnes and tonnes of rhubarb juice.

Suitable for vegans, the gin isn’t particularly fun to distill, joke Warner’s, due to volatile ingredients and a bit of a faffy process. But I can tell you that the results are worth juicing all that rhubarb for.

Warner’s suggest serving with a Mediterranean tonic or a ginger ale, but it’s also gorgeously tart neat with a slice of citrus. You can order a 70cl bottle for £38 on the Warner’s website.

JJ Whitley Pink Cherry Gin

JJ Whitley are best known for their artisanal vodkas, but they also have a fabulous selection of gins which come in a tall vintage style bottle.

Most pink gins are flavoured with raspberries, strawberries or rhubarb, but this one uses sugary cherries with a hint of marzipan which makes it taste just like a cherry Bakewell.

J.J Whitley Pink Cherry Gin bursts with flavour, distilled with the heritage of eight generations from the Whitley family. Inspired by flavours from the British countryside, this versatile gin pairs sour cherry and juniper, which later reveals notes of almond and a little lingering spice.

The affordable gin is usually between £16 and £20 in supermarkets, but is just £14 on Amazon at the moment. It’s got an ABV of 38%, and is perfect served in a flute with Prosecco and a Maraschino cherry.

Manchester Gin Raspberry Infused

The Raspberry Infused Manchester Gin is a gorgeous pink gin which featured in Craft Gin Club’s Valentine’s bundle last year.

A bottle costs £42 for a 70cl bottle, and is a smooth, fruity spirit perfect for summer, especially with some frozen raspberries and mint thrown in.

Made in Manchester, the gin features Juniper, coriander, lemon, grapefruit, dandelion, burdock, vanilla, elderberries, cassia, liquorice, grains of paradise, angelica and raspberries.

The brand was launched in 2013 when Seb Heeley and Jen Wiggins met over a gin and tonic. Fast forward a few years, and the couple went from distilling 25,000 bottles of gin from their dining room to relocating their distillery beneath Manchester Central on Watson Street, capable of producing a million bottles a year.

The 40% spirit retains it’s juniper-led flavour, softened by the sweetness of the raspberries, which are infused before, during and after distillation – giving it it’s pink hue.

If you find you love it so much – you can even get it in a 4.5l jeroboam for an eye watering £350.

Opihr Spices of the Orient Gin

Opihr is a gin I discovered a few years ago during a cocktail masterclass, paired with chilli and lime. It’s my favourite tipple for when I fancy a little bit of a spice kick.

Rooted in the Ancient Spice Route and inspired by the merchants who travelled thousands of miles to trade exotic spices and botanicals from distant lands, this London Dry has a seriously unique flavour combinations.

It sees the addition of spicy cubeb berries from Indonesia, cardamom and Tellicherry black pepper from India and coriander from Morocco. The botanicals in Opihr Spiced Gin make the journey to ‘the oldest distillery in England’, G&J Distillers, who are also behind the Bloom and Greenall’s brands of gin.

The 42.5% ABV spirit is one of the stronger, more contemporary gins in this list, using the same distilling method has been used since 1761 to produce an exotically spiced gin. They also do a great Far East Szechuan Pepper edition of Opihr which is more smokey, but the original Spiced Gin is an absolute must-try.

Opihr is typically a gin that’s £20-£25, but Sainsbury’s have got it on for £18 at the moment.

M0THER

M0THER gin wins best origin story for me. Founded by 35-year-old businesswoman and mum-of-two, Alicia Thomas launched the freelance agency M0THER, which connects working mums with flexible creative job opportunities.

Alicia struggled to find a flexible role she could work around my daughter and her childcare, and set up the agency to help as many mums work as flexibly possible around their families.

In 2019, they launched their own gin line as a toast to motherhood with ‘world’s first bespoke gin devoted to the most important women in our lives’.

This M0THER Winter Gin uses the original M0THER blend of juniper berries, bitter orange and orange root with notes of lemongrass, rose petals and cherry blossom flower, and adds mix of winterberries, blackberries and sloe berries – ideal for any pink gin fans.

It’s been so thoughtfully curated, with cherry blossoms being associated with beauty and the birth of new life. The Winter Gin (40% ABV) is distilled in Liverpool and available in a 70cl bottle for £36, 50cl for £30 and mini’s for £5.

Santa Ana Gin

This gorgeous art deco bottle is the Santa Ana Gin, a luxury tipple that pays homage to a legendary Philippine cabaret club.

Created using Philippine botanicals Ylang-Ylang and Alpinia, Santa Ana is delicate and floral, with calamansi and dalandan adding a tropical citrus. Interestingly, Ylang-Ylang is also used as the main ingredient in luxury perfumes such as the iconic Chanel No. 5.

The gin costs £29.95 from Master of Malt, as is reminiscent of 1920s dancehalls and the Philippine Art Deco Movement, full of the glitz, glamour and decadence of an unforgettable era.

The spirit is distilled in the Charente region of France, it also features the seven traditional botanicals including juniper, bitter orange, angelica and orris roots and fennel, giving it that traditional gin feel.

This bottle 100% deserves front and centre of the bar cart with a martini served in a decorative coupe while listening to jazz.

Slingsby

A twist on their traditional London Dry, Slingsby have infused their recipe with Yorkshire rhubarb for a tart flavour balanced with bitter pink grapefruit.

Made using 24 carefully selected botanicals, the Rhubarb gin is made with fruit from the world famous ‘Rhubarb Triangle’ in Wakefield, with local ingredients being paramount to making Spirit of Harrogate recipes as robust as they are.

Tart, sweet and fruity, the brand recommends serving their rhubarb gin with an elderflower tonic and garnished with raspberries and a sprig of mint. Well balanced with an ABV of 40%, this gin reminds me of homegrown rhubarb from our vegetable patch, dipped in sugar.

What’s more, is that their 70cl bottles, costing £30, can be personalised for an extra £5, which prints a special message for your loved one on the label – ideal for gifts and special occasions.

Pink Marmalade

Pink Marmalade is a gin that will seriously wow guests with it’s enchanting colour changing properties. Zesty and 100% natural this premium gin won ‘Best Food and Drink Product of The Year’ at the Not On The Highstreet ‘Make Awards’ last year.

The tipple takes 12 hours to make, starting with the brands’ secret ingredient – signature salted pink marmalade. This is then combined with another 12 choice botanicals to create this dry but delicious spirit.

Due to the inclusion of Butterfly Pea flower, when tonic is added to the gin, it transforms from a cool blue to a subtle pink, making real-life magic before your eyes.

Founded by three friends with a penchant for a party, the bottle is super dreamy with a tactile finish and glitterball grapefruit branding.

A bottle costs £30, and there’s even a collaborative bottle with party queen Sophie Ellis Bexter. It tastes beautifully fruity with some floral notes, with a 42% ABV. Serve with tonic, rosemary and a wheel of grapefruit for a perfect serve, and watch the magic happen as you pour in your mixer.

LoneWolf Gin

From the makers of BrewDog beers, LoneWolf gin comes in four different flavours, including Original, Cloudy Lemon, Cactus & Lime, and Peach & Passionfruit.

Made in Scotland’s first carbon negative distillery, the brand rejected 39 different junipers before finding on they liked from Tuscany, before going on to experimented with over 190 different distillations.

The spirit offers botanicals such as lavender and citrus, with piney notes, and fresh lemon peel, distilled in small batches for more bite.

It comes with a £25 price tag for a 70cl 40% ABV bottle, however Asda have it on sale for £20 this week. But for those looking for something punchier, try their Gunpowder 57% gin.

Strane London Dry Gin

Strane London Dry Gin is distilled in a 100 litre pot still with live flame at the Smögen distillery, on Sweden’s west coast. 

Unusually Strane is created by distilling three differently balanced base gins with juniper, citrus and herbal elements, which are then blended to create the final gins for bottling.

The merchant strength flagship gin is a whopping 47.4%, giving it warmth and character. Very juniper led with subtle citrus and more noticeable herbal flavours give this Swedish spirit a taste test to remember.

As well as sage and minty flavours, there’s also a hit of spice from the cinnamon, too, with two secret botanicals to keep the recipe sacred.

You can buy this fabulously unusual gin from Master of Malt for just under £40.

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