by | Sep 6, 2021 | Queen Cleo


The Little Gin & Rum Co started life as an events business, born from a love of all things Gin and Rum. Over the last 6 and ½ years the events core of the business has grown and evolved but we now also have our very own range of gins and spiced rum.

We’re often asked about how we got to where we are today – and so thought we’d share a blog post dedicated to life behind the scenes at The Little Gin & Rum Company.

How do you go about creating you own gin, without your own distillery?

These are exactly the questions we asked at the beginning of our journey. By early 2017, we had been running the events business for nearly 2 years and in that time we had gained a lot of insight into what flavours and pairings consumers were looking for in their gins and we knew what was popular on the bar and in tastings. We also knew what we wanted in a good gin and the flavours that were important to us. We wanted to combine these two pools of wisdom and create our own fabulous range of gins. But where to start?!

Finding the perfect pairing

The first step was several conversations with local distilleries to see if this was something we could partner up on. Our discussions led us to Mark at Union Distillers and from our first meeting we knew Mark was a man we wanted to work with. Mark was warm, welcoming and had us sipping tasters within a very short space of time! His passion and expertise was clear to see but he also listened to what we wanted to create and was able to give us the creative licence to develop our own unique recipes. We saw this approach as a win win – we would be able to create our own unique gin recipes with the support and expertise of an experienced distiller.


We got to explore the distillery in Market Harborough and meet the family led team and haven’t looked back since. The process of creating each of our own Gins was a lot of trial and error, trying different botanical combinations, trusting our palates and the expertise of head distillers Simon and Mark. We started with a classic, easy drinking London Dry and continued with Elderflower, Old Tom, Rhubarb and most recently Pink Grapefruit.


How are Queen Cleo gins made?

Each gin is made using a high strength base alcohol, and for ours it is a grain base spirit. Each gins selection of botanicals (the herbs and spices used the flavour the gin) are added to the base spirit in the still and are left to infuse overnight. Did you know…all gin must contain Juniper Berries in the botanical mix to officially be classed as a gin. There are lots of other common gin botanicals that are widely used and most gins will have juniper, coriander seeds, a root (usually angelica) and an element of citrus (quite often orange or lemon peel). Other additional botanicals can vary widely – hence the unique flavour among different gins. We have stayed true to quite traditional botanicals in our range and have used only natural flavours across all 5 gins to give an authentic taste.


The botanical mix that has infused overnight is then heated in the still and the vapours are collected and condensed as they are cooled to create our high strength gin. The high strength gin can then be cut to the required bottling strength using water (or in the case of our Rhubarb Gin we use Rhubarb Juice as well as water).

These lovely gins are then bottled, labelled and are pretty much ready to go. A couple of weeks is ideal to let the flavours settle, but then our gin is ready to be enjoyed. Each gin is made one batch at a time, and one batch typically makes around 80-90 full size bottles.


It has been such a fun process developing our own gins and we have learnt (and sampled!) a lot along the way. The best part is sharing them with you lovely lot and hearing how much you enjoy them. In fact we had so much fun creating our gins, we then moved on to creating our very own spiced rum – but that deserves it’s own blog!

Keen to try the Queen Cleo range for yourself? Grab your friends, family, clients or colleagues in a fun, informal tasting setting – with lashings of gin! We offer the ultimate virtual gin tasting experience OR we can bring the gin (or rum) experience to you at your office or hired venue. Contact us today to get a date booked in!


After 4 years of being together we never thought that we would one day be in business together. Who knew where a simple text message could lead….

It all started with a conversation with Nicola at one of The Little Gin and Rum Company’s events in Leeds. Amy sent a message to Ian saying “Do you fancy buying a gin and rum company?” and the wheels were set in motion.



“As a sales professional travelling the UK and the world, I have made travelling and alcohol my thing.  With over 20 years experience supplying the hospitality industry with software and e-learning, I can’t wait to start sharing Queen Cleo Spirits with the industry I love.  You’ll usually find me with my favourite Queen Cleo Rum with ginger ale.”


“Where Ian loves sales, I love marketing and as a digital marketing trainer and professional public speaker, I always have a lot to say.  When Nicola and Emma started virtual events in lockdown, I jumped at the opportunity to talk about gin and rum and nearly 200 events later, I still love it.  Old Tom is my favourite tipple and I’ll even drink it neat with just a cube of ice and a squeeze of lime.”


Nicola and Emma have created a gin and rum legacy and we are honoured to take it into the future.   

We can’t wait to share our plans with you and we promise to make Queen Cleo proud. 

You know our favourite Queen Cleo drinks and we’d love to know yours.  Share them with us on Instagram #littleginandrumco.