IT is certainly becoming the drink to, well ... drink.

And if you are new to it or a connoisseur, there will be something to toast when The Spinning Mule in Nelson Square and The Robert Shaw in Market Street, Westhoughton stages its 17-day Gin Festival, starting this Friday.

The Wetherspoon pubs will be serving gins from Sweden, USA and Moldova as well as gins produced in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

There will be flavoured gins, classic gins, gin liqueurs as well as a distilled non-alcoholic.

The flavours include pineapple and mango, cucumber, peach and hibiscus, rhubarb and rosehip, lemon & jasmine.

Among the UK gins are: The Lakes Rhubarb and Rosehip Gin Liqueur, Jawbox Pineapple and Ginger Gin Liqueur, Zymurgorium FlaGingo Pink Gin, Sipsmith Gin Strawberries and Cream.

The overseas gins are: Aviation Gin from the USA, Tower Bridge London Dry Gin from Moldova, Ceders Crisp from Sweden.

The pubs will offer a range of mixers for customers to drink with their gins, including ginger ale, lemonade and two flavoured tonics, Valencian Orange as well as Elderflower.

The Robert Shaw manager, Cheryll Kean, said: “We have sourced an excellent range of gins which have not previously been available in the pub.

"We are confident that our customers will enjoy trying the different gins which each have their own unique appeal.”

The gins will range in price from £2.80 to £3.30 for a single measure and include a free mixer. There will be tasting notes on all the gins.