While we are in a mood to clink glasses across the Atlantic, sample America's Whiskey of the Year, a rare rye, 18 years old, from Sazerac. Or taste Ireland's independent whiskeys, from Connemara to Cooley. Or how about a surprise from Bowmore? Those are the pleasures promised as Whisky Magazine goes "Live" on Friday from 2-8pm, and next Saturday from 12-6pm, at the Royal Horticultural Halls, Vincent Square, London, SW1 (www. whiskylive.com/0870 066 7510). Visitors on Saturday can taste the new spirit from Bruichladdich, with distiller Jim McEwan. A legend among lovers of Islay whisky, Iain Henderson of Laphroaig, also makes a valedictory appearance. Sample the Glenlivet 1959 and meet a Van Winkle. I'll be there. Entry is £25. Ticket for both days, £40. Masterclasses £10 each.
It's an open secret that sparkling wines are England's great white hope for the future. Chapel Down has been considered by the Co-op to be good enough to be turned into an own-label Co-op English Sparkling Wine, which will be promoted at Golden Jubilee time. It's a pity that the best English fizzes, Nyetimber and Ridge View, couldn't have been selected to produce a commemorative label to mark the Jubilee. The honours go to Champagne house Médot & Cie in Pargny-lès-Reims, whose champagne will feature the official logo for the Golden Jubilee and be stocked at Safeway, with 50p on each bottle going to charities nominated by the Queen.