This page was updated in September 2020.
Whether poached or roasted, in jams, crumbles or puddings, the nostalgic flavour of rhubarb is one many of us know from childhood.
Growing well in the UK, it’s especially abundant in the Rhubarb Triangle, an area between Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford. More and more, we’re seeing this intriguing crop being infused with our favourite gins, offering a whole new dimension to your G&T.
Appealing even to those who thought they didn’t like gin, the sweet and sour notes of a rhubarb infusion are equally suited to classic tonic as well as ginger ale.
With prime rhubarb season in the UK running from April to June, summer is the perfect time of year to enjoy a refreshing cocktail using rhubarb gin.
We’ve only featured full-strength gin in this round-up, not to be confused with rhubarb gin liqueurs. The latter are made with distilled gin and then sweetened, with a significantly lower ABV than their full-strength counterparts, which legally must have a minimum of 37.5% ABV to be labelled as such.
Don’t be fooled into thinking rhubarb gin will only ever be one-dimensional though. With a variety of botanicals influencing the flavour, we tried everything from the super sweet to the downright earthy.
Alongside the simple serves, it’s a great cocktail ingredient. Perfect in long summer serves, as well as shorter martini and sour-style cocktails, it’s equally delicious when poured over dessert.
Most of the brands in our best buy guide start out with a classic gin – often a London Dry – before varying quantities of freshly pressed fruit juice are added along with other botanicals and flavours, so no two are ever the same.
The best rhubarb gin to buy
Warner’s rhubarb gin – 40% ABV
Originally intended to be a limited edition, Warner’s were inspired by a crop of rhubarb from a crown estate that was reportedly Queen Victoria’s root stock. With a third of each bottle containing fresh rhubarb juice, sadly demand outstripped supply, so now Warner’s have started growing the fruit on their own farm with ambitions to become self-sufficient in the future.
Using their Harrington dry gin as the base, the brand adds full-bodied, tart rhubarb which has been balanced out with just a touch of sweet spice – think cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Opening up with lemon zest and parma violets on the nose, the spirit is backed up with punchy juniper and a creamy vanilla finish.
Slingsby rhubarb gin – 40% ABV
Another experiment that proved too popular to discontinue, an impressive selection of botanicals goes into this Yorkshire-based gin, many of which are grown in the surrounding area.
Some of the more unusual include primrose, nettle and rosehip, along with Harrogate’s famous spring water, known for its therapeutic properties. We got jammy summer fruit from the off, which happily gave way to the tang of Yorkshire rhubarb and zingy pink grapefruit for a perfectly balanced summer spirit.
That Boutique-y Gin Company, Rhubarb Triangle Gin – 40% ABV
When it comes to flavoured gins, no one beats That Boutique-y Gin Company for originality. This is certainly one of their tamer creations, though no less delicious, with the fresh fruit sourced from the infamous Rhubarb Triangle.
With notes of lemon shortbread and warm spice, we think it pairs particularly well with fresh strawberries and a lime wedge. The ideal balance of sweet and tart with a long creamy finish, it could replace dessert entirely.
Edinburgh Gin rhubarb & ginger gin – 40% ABV
A fiery injection of stem ginger gives rhubarb a bit of welly in this offering from Edinburgh Gin. Originally starting life as a lower ABV gin liqueur, it was developed into this full-strength version which has just the palest pink hue.
Containing 14 botanicals – including orange peel, lavender and lemongrass – it’s then post-infused with the winning combo of rhubarb and ginger, which we think provides enough complexity for it to be drunk neat, martini-style.
Shakespeare Distillery rhubarb gin – 40% ABV
This Stratford-upon-Avon distillery is, unsurprisingly, inspired by all things Shakesperean and Tudor. Pot stills are named after some of the bard’s most famous characters, and botanicals are what you’d expect to find in a herb garden from that time (including lovage, rosemary and sage).
Decadently sweet, this is a silky-smooth sipper with big herbaceous notes that works particularly well with ginger ale and a sprig of fresh rosemary to bring out the botanicals.
Aber Falls rhubarb & ginger gin – 41.3% ABV
Aber Falls are a proudly Welsh operation from the locally grown botanicals, to the brand’s Celtic symbol adorning each bottle. As you might expect from the classic combination of rhubarb and ginger, this is wonderfully aromatic with bright ginger lifting and smoothing the tart rhubarb, and the deal is sealed with a smooth warming finish.
The Bath Gin Company hopped rhubarb gin – 40% ABV
Forget any preconceived ideas you might have about rhubarb gin, The Bath Gin Company blow them all out of the water with this earthy, surprising twist.
They’ve taken their London dry and infused it with the same hop flowers used to make beer. This imparts exactly the sort of India Pale Ale notes you’d expect, resulting in a much darker, savoury spirit than we’ve tried elsewhere. As such it can take a little bit of extra sweetness, so try topping up with champagne or tonic.
Tarquin’s rhubarb & raspberry gin – 38% ABV
Not content with one juicy fruit, Cornish gin brand Tarquin’s have added raspberries to the mix as well. This is on top of the 12 botanicals already found in their classic London dry which forms the base for this limited edition.
A truly artisanal spirit, everything that can be is done by hand, including filling, labelling and signing each bottle. Warming cinnamon provides a great balance to the tart rhubarb and ripe crushed raspberries. Try sipping neat to experience the nuanced flavours.
Chase rhubarb & bramley apple gin – 40% ABV
Having put his spuds to good use in Tyrrells crisps, potato farmer William Chase moved into the spirit business. Aside from the 250 potatoes needed for each bottle, botanicals include spicy juniper, ginger and coriander, which all provide a rather fiery kick.
While most rhubarb gins are perfectly suited to long, hot summer days, the juicy organic apples and shock of cinnamon in this spirit made us think of crunchy golden leaves so we’ll be drinking this as autumn approaches.
Agnes Arber rhubarb gin – 41.6% ABV
Agnes Arber may not be a particularly well known name today, however her work in the botanical sciences earned her the Gold medal of the Linnean Society, the first woman to have the honour.
To celebrate this achievement, Agnes Arber the spirit was born, a gin featuring nine botanicals including angelica, cassia, coriander, grapefruit, iris, juniper, lemon, liquorice and orange. We think Agnes would be proud. The dedication continues with a beautiful botanical print adorning the bottle.
This review was last updated in September 2020. If you have any questions or suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on alcohol guidelines, read our guide to drinking responsibly.
Have you tried a rhubarb gin that you could recommend? Leave a comment below.