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, driven 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.
Mother’s day gin: Best bottles to buy
Jindea Single Estate Tea Gin
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.
Salcombe’s Seamist may look like a glamorous crystal perfume atomiser, but it contains a clever ‘liquid garnish’ created using coastal botanicals and Cornish Sea salt to encapsulate the essence of the ocean. Pimp your G&T by mixing Salcombe Start Point Gin with your favourite tonic and plenty of ice in a balloon glass, then finish with two sprays of Seamist over the top of the glass. Or create a Mistini using 50ml gin, 20ml dry vermouth and 10ml fino Sherry, finished with four spritzes of Seamist.
Silent Pool English Rose Gin
This special release 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 this is well made, with fresh floral aromas and distinct notes of rose water and Turkish delight that linger on the crisp citrus finish. Celebrate Mother’s Day with an English Rose Tom Collins: mix 50ml English Rose Gin with 25ml lemon juice and 25ml sugar syrup. Top with soda water and garnish with a twist of lemon peel.
Kew Botanical Gin
If your mum is a nature lover and enjoys visiting parks and gardens, this collaboration between Kew Gardens and the East London Liquor Co will make a great gift. Inspired by plants and pollinators, it is made using botanicals that are grown at Kew including Douglas fir, lavender and sweet orange. Use it to mix up a softly floral, fragrant G&T for your mum. She’ll love the bright botanical label too.
Lind & Lime Gin
Made in Edinburgh, this Scottish craft gin comes in a beautiful bottle but – just like your mother – it’s more than a pretty face. It celebrates the work of Edinburgh doctor, James Lind, who in the 18th century discovered that citrus fruit helps to prevent scurvy: one of the reasons why you should listen to your mum when she tells you to eat more fruit… That’s why lime is one of the key botanicals in this gin, along with pink peppercorns, which help to create a truly classy gin with citrus freshness and distinctive spiciness.
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, made with less juniper to create an easy drinking spirit that will even appeal to non-gin drinkers. Made with botanicals including pomelo, chamomile and honeysuckle, you can use it to create a super-smooth and delicate G&T, with a gentle florality that lingers on finish.
Chapel Down Pinot Noir Gin
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.
With its shimmering fish scale bottle and foraged coastal rock samphire botanicals, Mermaid might be as close as you can get to treating your mum to a day out at the seaside during a lockdown Mother’s Day. Made on the Isle of Wight, there is a lovely breezy ozone freshness to the aromas and a slight salty note on the finish. Makes a fresh and creamy G&T, as well as looking beautiful on your mama’s sideboard.
Secret Garden Wild Gin
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.
Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla
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.