As the warmest months of the year edge closer and drink terraces look set to be busier than ever, our thoughts are turning to drinks in gardens, on patios and balconies. Whether whipping up a cocktail with friends or planning an indulgent libation with family at home, here are the best spirits for your spring socialising.
Walks with Darcy (the distillery dog) through the meadows surrounding their distillery inspired William and Lucy Lowe to capture the taste of the English seasons. Using botanicals grown in and around their own home they created a recipe including juniper, fresh basil, rosemary, angelica, lemon verbena, blackcurrant leaf and rose petals, each individually distilled and expertly blended into this outstanding gin. Bright, herbaceous, beautifully rounded and exquisitely refreshing, this gin captures the quintessential taste of the English seasons. Delivered in a beautiful gift box, this gin is perfect for a long G&T, martini and in summer cocktails – garnish with fresh mint.
Monkey 47 Gin
Named after the 47 botanicals that go into crafting this German gin, it provides a complex taste experience. Heavier woody, spicy and vegetative notes lead, alongside a softer undertone of sweet fruit and herbs, emulating the fragrances of the brand’s Black Forest home. Monkey 47 is full of character, ensuring you’ll never get bored of this spirit and making it perfect for gin connoisseurs seeking something a little different. Try a glass neat with ice to appreciate the diversity of flavours – or add a slice of lime to give it a tang.
Tarquin’s Cornish Sunshine Blood Orange Gin
Give an extra helping of citrus oomph to your spritzes with Tarquin’s Cornish Sunshine Blood Orange Gin, designed to be used in the serve! A combination of blood orange, pink grapefruit, rhubarb, raspberry and gentian root have been infused into the spirit, so it’s got a balanced bitterness among the fruit. The folks over at the distillery in Cornwall recommend adding a splash of fizz and a dash of sparkling elderflower for the perfect serve.
Haig Club – Mediterranean Orange
Fresh and juicy, the citrus flavour found in this new single grain whisky, provides a distinctly Spanish flair. Not least as its orange blossom ingredient originally comes from the city of Seville. And it has celebrity status – Global Brand Partner David Beckham had a hand in this incarnation of the classic brand. Serve it with a dash of Fever-Tree tonic, over ice and garnished with a slice of orange.
Stauning Danish Whisky
This Scandinavian brand only launched in the UK at the end of 2020 but already had a 15-year heritage and reputation for innovative whisky. Stauning was founded by a doctor, butcher, teacher, helicopter pilot and four engineers and named after a small village in Jutland. Made using mostly local produce, it’s matured on-site and distilled in a flame-heated pot still. Following a period in different oak casks, the whisky then takes on a corresponding finish: Rye, Curious Peated Rye White Spirit, KAOS and Bastard Mezcal Finish.
Daddy Rack – Small Batch Straight Tennessee Whiskey
Presented in a funky, arty bottle, Daddy Rack is an all-American whisky handcrafted in small batches from an original recipe. It’s made using 80% corn from local farmers, 10% Malted Barley and 10% Rye, achieving a sweet and smoky tone through a Maple Charcoal filtration process. You’ll also notice notes of butter, roasted apple, caramelised banana, vanilla and a hint of nutmeg in there. Founder J. Arthur Rackham has over five decades of experience in the industry, as demonstrated in this smooth bourbon.
Porter’s – Tropical Old Tom
It may come as a surprise that this exotically marketed old tom gin, hails from the not-so-tropical location of Aberdeen. But well-loved brand Porters have cold-distilled juniper, passion fruit, guava and white tea to bring out the ingredients’ tropical flavours. Well-balanced, the result is refreshing and juicy – a measure of this mixes up a mean martini with an upscale holiday feel. For an extra exotic touch, add a passion fruit garnish.
Not only GQ’s Top Pick for Summer Drink and Vogue’s Spirits Choice of 2019, but this tequila brand has also been recommended by both The Independent and The Guardian. Made using Vivir’s own nine-year-old Weber Blue Agave, the liquor is cooked in clay ovens with natural volcanic spring water from a well at the distillery. Choose between Blanco, Reposado and Añejo, all presented in sleek two-tones bottles.
Compass Box – Glasgow Blend Whisky
Rich and smoky, this full-bodied whisky is made using a combination of 33% Lowland grain whisky and 67% malt whisky from the Highlands, Speyside and Islay. Sherry, bourbon and French oak barrels provide copious flavour, offering spicy, peaty and fruity notes. The bottle nods toward Glasgow’s recent history and humour depicting The Wellington Statue (found outside the city’s Gallery of Modern Art) wearing a traffic cone.
Bladnock – Vinaya Release
Spanning two centuries, this distillery has a long history of classic whisky production. This recent release is named after the Sanskrit word Vinaya, meaning respect and gratitude. Take a sip for notes of apple, sweet floral grass, barley, pepper, boiled sweets and subtle chocolate. The whisky is made with non-chill filtered water from the River Bladnoch, giving it a natural colour.
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Brookies – Byron Slow Gin
Sloe gin is a quintessentially British summer beverage. But Brookie’s take on the original is ‘slow’. There are no sloes used, but it is made in the same way as the classic. Instead, the recipe incorporates the Davidson Plum, a rainforest fruit indigenous to Australia’s Byron Bay, that’s macerated for months ahead of production. It offers up a subtropical experience, with hints of rose, watermelon and bright plum. Mix it up with apple juice, cardamom, cinnamon and orange peel for a unique fruity cocktail.
Kinahan’s – Small Batch Irish Whiskey
Known as the Pioneer of Irish Whiskey, Kinahans was founded on Trinity Street Dublin and dates back to 1779. The brand has received two Royal warrants and creates small-batch blended tipples. To qualify as an Irish whisky, a bottle has had to be matured for at least three years. Kinahans is left for at least six, providing extra depth. Look out for notes of green apple, caramel, dark chocolate and mint.
Quick Brown Fox Coffee Liqueur
Quick Brown Fox is an ethical choice – the drink is made using only fair-trade and organic roasted coffees farmed in Sumatra, Colombia and Papua New Guinea. Indian cinnamon is added to the mix that’s crafted on the shores of New Zealand, and 18-hours of cold extraction giving it a smooth texture. This sophisticated and decadent liqueur is ideal for your post alfresco dinner nightcap.