With Mother’s Day fast approaching, you may be on the hunt for an original gift to show your mum just how much you appreciate her. Flowers fade and chocolates rarely last long, so we recommend investing in a decent bottle of gin this year.
Admittedly mums and gin haven’t always had the best press. The spirit was nicknamed ‘mother’s ruin’ back in the 18th century, when cheap gins became widely available in England and sparked a gin-drinking craze among the poorer population. Gin was consequently blamed for all manner of social ills and it took an act of parliament in 1751 to regulate sales and bring the situation back under control.
The current gin craze is an altogether more sophisticated affair, fuelled by cocktail culture and a renewed interest in the provenance of beverages. With small distilleries springing up everywhere, gin fans can buy local and also learn about regional ingredients used by distillers.
On the flip side, this means that gin lovers are also spoiled for choice, as an ever-increasing range of bottles appear in our shops. It can be confusing to know where to start with so much choice – especially if you’re trying to find a special bottle as a gift.
Going back to basics, all gin is distilled as a neutral base spirit and then flavoured with botanicals. A ‘botanical’ is defined as any plant-based substance, ranging from roots, flowers, berries and leaves, to herbs and spices.
All gins must contain juniper berries – it’s juniper that gives gin its piney freshness and crisp, dry palate. In addition to juniper, citrus peel, coriander seeds and angelica root are commonly used to form a botanical core.
Beyond that, a dazzling array of botanicals can appear in gin. So to help you find the right one, here’s our pick of bottles that might appeal to your mum.
Best bottles to buy
Jindea Single Estate Tea Gin
40% abv, 70cl, £29, Majestic
Mums are well known for dispensing cups of tea and sympathy – and if your mother is a tea lover, choose a gin with tea botanicals. Jindea is made with first flush Darjeeling tea and boasts serious drinks industry pedigree. Created by three bar professionals with historic family links to India, working with Ajit Madam, the UK’s first certified Tea Sommelier, Jindea is a refreshing citrusy gin with elegant tea notes and ginger spice.
Silent Pool Rose Expression Gin
43%, 70cl, £47, Harvey Nichols
The latest launch from Surrey distiller Silent Pool is a perfect choice if rose is your mum’s favourite fragrance. Many rose gins can end up smelling and tasting confected, but Rose Expression is well made, with pure floral aromas and a clean rose note that lingers prettily on the smooth palate. A twist on the original Silent Pool recipe, made with 24 individual botanicals, pair it with elderflower tonic for an elegant, floral G&T.
Sibling Spring Edition
42% abv, 70cl, £36.95, Master of Malt
Mums are often the glue that keeps a family together, and this gin is certainly a family affair. As the name suggests, the Sibling Distillery is run by four brothers and sisters – Felix, Clarice, Cicely and Digby Elliott-Berry – who set up shop next door to their parents’ microbrewery in Cheltenham. Sibling makes a seasonal range based on its core gin and this Spring Edition, with additional lemon zest and rosemary botanicals, is ideal for Mother’s Day.
Chapel Down Pinot Noir Gin
41%, 70cl, £33.99, The Drink Shop
For mamas who are partial to both wine and gin, this pink gin from English wine producer Chapel Down ticks all the boxes. Made from distilled Pinot Noir grape skins, infused with botanicals including coriander and rosehip, the pale pink hue comes from dried raspberries and strawberries. Try it in a Tenterden Blush sparkling cocktail: 50ml of gin mixed with 50ml lemonade and topped with 25ml of Chapel Down Brut.
Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla
41%, 70cl, £25, Ocado
For mums with a sense of adventure, who like to explore the world, this twist on Tanqueray’s classic gin is inspired by Seville in Spain’s Andalucia. Including Seville oranges among its botanicals, Flor de Sevilla is smooth and fruity, with a sweet orange lift to the nose and palate. Pair it with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water and serve it in a large balloon glass with plenty of ice and an orange slice for a Spanish-style Gin Tonica.
40% abv, 70cl, £24.50, Waitrose
If you like to say it with flowers, why not say it with a floral gin? Created by Master Distiller Joanne Moore, Bloom is a light gin style, with chamomile and honeysuckle botanicals. It makes a super-smooth and delicate G&T, with a gentle florality that lingers on finish. For Mother’s Day, spirits specialist 31Dover has teamed up with florist Bloom & Wild to offer a free bouquet when you order a Bloom Gin Gift Set, so you can say it with flowers AND gin.
37.5% abv, 70cl, £23, Sainsbury’s
A new launch from the Bombay Sapphire distillery, Bramble is naturally flavoured with an infusion of raspberries and blackberries, which also create its deep pink hue. Inspired by modern classic cocktail, The Bramble, created by legendary mixologist Dick Bradsell in the 1980s, it also works brilliantly in one of my favourite tipples: The Clover Club. Shake 50ml of gin with 25ml lemon juice, 20ml raspberry syrup and an egg white, then strain and serve.
Secret Garden Wild Gin
40%, 50cl, £34.95, 31Dover
If your mum loves gardening or the great outdoors, choose The Old Curiosity Distillery’s Secret Garden Wild Gin, created by former wine merchant Hamish Martin, a man with a herbology diploma and a lifelong passion for plants. Botanicals including nettle, dwarf birch and bog myrtle grow in the distillery’s gin garden in the Flow Country, a peatland ecosystem in northern Scotland. Secret Garden makes a smooth, herbal G&T and 20% of proceeds from sales are donated to the RSPB’s preservation work in the Flow Country.
Salcombe Gin Island Queen
46% abv, 50cl, £65, Salcombe Gin
Surely every mum should get the royal treatment on Mother’s Day, and Salcombe Gin’s Island Queen certainly sets the tone. The Devon distillery joined forces with chef Monica Galetti to create this limited-edition gin, inspired by the historic Salcombe ‘fruiters’ (sailing boats that traded tropical fruits) and Galetti’s Pacific Islands heritage. Pineapple, mango and coconut notes are backed by classic juniper and spice, for a G&T that delivers a subtle tropical twist.
Truffle Gin by The Cambridge Distillery
42%, 70cl, £72.45, The Whisky Exchange
Nothing beats mum’s home-cooked food, and if your mum is a true foodie, treat her to this luxury gin from The Cambridge Distillery. Distilled with white truffle from Piedmont – an ingredient that costs more per gram than gold – it’s made in very small batches: just one litre at a time. With a distinct and pure truffle aroma and flavour, it was designed as a digestif and is smooth enough to sip neat – don’t try mixing it with tonic.