FIRST came the craze for outlandish vodkas, then fruit ciders of all persuasions became the rage, even rum and related cocktails had their turn in the sun.

And now gin – much maligned as your maiden aunt’s favourite tipple and once besmirched as Mother’s Ruin – is making a comeback in East Lancashire.

Nelson will host the region’s first festival devoted to the juniper juice early next month, shortly after the Lancashire Telegraph revealed a gin bar would be installed at Burnley Mechanics as part of its current refit.

But don’t expect hardy perennials like Gordon’s, Greenall’s or even Bombay Sapphire in the foreground when Jym and Marie Harris bring their wares to the ACE Centre on Saturday, October 4.

With five micro-distilleries springing up across the UK in the past two months, the Keighley-based couple will be introducing blends from the Shetlands to the south coast, and brands like The Botanist, SLOEmotion, Two Birds and The King of Soho.

Jym, who first became involved with promoting gin two years ago, said: “What we have found over the years is that it appears to be replacing micro-breweries, with people getting bored of the old standards and wanting to try something new.”

Holidaymakers have also brought a thirst for gin back from their Spanish breaks, where the spirit is often served, with plenty of ice and a garnish, in a wine glass.

Like varieties of vodka, the more exotic bottles can feature anything from lemon or lime to fig and mint, pink peppercorn and lemon peel, blueberry and rose, and olive and thyme.

Live music, tasting sessions and cocktail-making are all on the bill for the Nelson gathering, with tickets priced at £6.