With longer, lighter days finally here and the buds coming out big time, our thoughts are turning to sweet treats and tasty tipples.
Laid-back libations – that offer a fantastic flavour experience without having to forage for too many ingredients – are the order of the day, a spirit you can enjoy neat over ice, or put the shine in a spritz.
Ice at the ready! Any of these spring drinks options is bound to go down a treat at your next garden get-together or park picnic.
1. Bodega Bay Hard Seltzer: Cherry with Mango & Gogi Berry, £24 (4% abv, 12 x 250ml; also available in a mixed case with Apple and Elderflower flavours), Bodega Bay
Hard seltzer took us by storm last summer, and we can’t wait to get the party started with this picnic essential. Naturally flavoured, this cherry infused alcoholic sparkling water can be used as the base for a cocktail or served straight up, well-chilled. Cheers to a cherry-licious refresh!
2. Chase Hedgerow Elderflower Gin, £34 (40% abv, 70cl), Amazon
A floral, crisp gin with an oily character and hint of sweetness, this is made with elderflowers picked from Herefordshire hedgerows. Dainty aromas of flowers and juniper lead to a beautifully smooth palate, and a splash of soda and thin slice of lemon offers a delightfully refreshing drink, without drowning the flavours.
3. Jim Beam Peach Spirit, £13 (was £18, 32.5% abv, 70cl), Asda
The name conjures up images of poached ripe peaches in a rich, bourbon syrup, and this little nugget more than delivers, with hints of caramel and vanilla riding on the finish. Smooth and flavoursome, try it with a dash of soda water over ice for a taste of the Bluegrass State.
4. Jaffa Cake Vodka, £27.95 (42% abv, 70cl), Master of Malt
With soaring aromas of chocolate orange segments and vibrant notes of fresh orange peel and Jaffa Cakes, this incredibly smooth, creamy spirit really does taste like laced chocolatey-orange sponge cake, with a hint of peppery spice. A cute addition to cocktails, particularly a cosmopolitan, top with tonic or serve straight up for a sticky, citrusy shot.
5. Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, £24.90 (20% abv, 70cl), Master of Malt
This eye-catching Italian liqueur is built around the beauty of bergamot, and along with aromatic citrus fruit, there’s a light, bitter herbal note to balance the sweetness. A fragrant infusion of utter deliciousness, it can be enjoyed on the rocks, topped with tonic, or a splash of prosecco and garnished with three olives. Bellissima!
6. Azaline Saffron Vermouth, £24.95 (17% abv, 75cl), Master of Malt
A French vermouth showcasing pinot noir grapes from Burgundy, blended with herbs and spices from around the world to combine aromatic flavour and bitterness. Saffron headlines, but it’s the blackcurrant and spiced cherries that draws you in, with earthy florals making themselves known, ending with a bitter herbaceous hit. A taste sensation, it will lift a spritz or negroni and put the flavours on stilts.
7. Portobello Road Celebrated Butter Gin, £30 (42% abv, 70cl), The Distillery
But, but…! This classic London Dry is enhanced with English unsalted butter, which mellows the gin and gives it a creamy characteristic, with a pinch of salt and light touch of sweetness. Quite something, the combination of flavours are so compelling, it really does hit the spot. Try it with tonic and a slice of lemon, and you’ll find this G&T as bright as a buttercup.
8. Thistly Cross Scottish Fruits Cider Liqueur & Traditional Cider Liqueur, £28.75 each (20% abv, 50cl), Thistly Cross Cider
Something a little different, Scotland’s leading cider producer’s released two cider liqueurs blended with real fruit, slow-fermented and matured for a minimum six months, for a rich, fruity flavour and smooth finish.
Their Scottish Fruits Cider Liqueur is celebrated for its ‘lip-smacking combination of real British elderflowers, blackcurrants, strawberries and apple cider’, and can be lengthened with elderflower pressé. Their Traditional variant offers ‘a richly warming, golden apple cider liqueur, delicious sipped on its own, or topped with ginger ale to dial up the fiery undertones’. We’ll drink to that!
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