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Warner’s rhubarb gin – 40% ABV
Overall rating: 5/5
In a nutshell: A multiple award-winning spirit from a family brand that’s a pioneer in the field of rhubarb gins. Each bottle is packed with fruit – an impressive one third of pressed rhubarb juice goes in. After a tart first hit, it mellows to a creamy finish.
Full review of Warner’s rhubarb gin
On a mission to ‘save the world from mediocre gin’ husband-and-wife team Tom Warner and Tina Warner-Keogh set up Warner’s on Tom’s family farm in Harrington, Northampton back in 2012. This personal connection to the land has helped shape an entire range of gins, including honey, lemon balm and this rhubarb version.
The bottle is beautifully decorated with an image of the farm and each one also bears the name of the person who distilled that particular batch along with the year it was ‘born’, or made, similar to recording a wine’s vintage.
All of Warner’s gins begin with water drawn from their on-site spring. From there, botanicals are added – in the case of the rhubarb, coriander seed, elderflower, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, angelica root, orange peel, lemon peel, plus a ‘top secret ingredient’. Where possible these will be picked from the farm. Honey adds a touch of sweetness to the tangy fruit, which comes directly from their own beehives.
In the glass, the gin has just a faint pink hue that almost disappears when you add tonic. It will come as no surprise that rhubarb is very apparent on the nose, but it was particularly powerful here, with each bottle made up of a third of the freshly pressed fruit juice. Reminding us that this is a full-strength gin, juniper jumped out, along with soft lemon notes in the background.
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Trying the gin neat, we were hit by the very pure taste of juicy rhubarb – there was nothing synthetic-tasting here. Black pepper, cardamom and sweet spices add complexity without being overpowering and complement the sharp, fresh and slightly sour notes of the rhubarb.
Smooth with a long creamy vanilla finish, this reminded us of a summer dessert in a glass. In fact we’d happily sip this neat instead of tucking into pudding.
The perfect pour
If you prefer a longer serve, we suggest pairing with a good quality Mediterranean tonic (look out for ones with fragrant rosemary essential oils). Garnish with a slice of the juiciest blood orange you can find which will really help to bring the orange peel botanicals in this gin to the fore. Ginger ale also works well if you’re not a fan of quinine.
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