With last week’s freak heatwave catching some of us a little off guard, we’re adamant that we’ll be prepared whenever the next one decides to grace us with its presence. While pubs are on the brink of reopening their beer gardens (hurrah!) we know on a sunny day we won’t be able to get a table for love nor money, so we’ve rounded up some of our favourite tipples to stock up on ready for the next park picnic. Now we just need the sunshine…
1. A Funkidory Cocktail Delivery
Peckham bar and record store Funkidory has a slew of slick serves for collection or delivery, perfect for garden entertaining. Their bottled cocktails include an Oolong Martini made with Fino Sherry and New Zealand Waikato Oolong, their most recent creation Bandito, a tequila drink made with pink peppercorn and hibiscus cordial, is currently available on Drinks Drop.
2. Otterbeck Distillery’s Cotton Gin
Distilled in the Yorkshire Dales in an 18th century cotton mill, Cotton Gin (£37.95/70cl www.otterbeckdistillery.co.uk) uses locally foraged botanicals to create a creamy and rounded spirit, perfectly balanced and incredibly smooth with a hint of citrus and fragrant earthy pine notes.
They recently teamed up with TV’s Andy Clarke to create a new Martini recipe, a mix of tantalising tarragon, zingy pomegranate, rosé vermouth and crisp Cotton Gin that we can’t wait to try. Chill two Martini glasses before shaking 3 Parts (150ml) Cotton Gin, 2 Parts (100 ml) Londinio Rosé Vermouth, 1 Part (50ml) Pomegranate Juice and a large handful of ice in a cocktail shaker, for 20 seconds or until the shaker condensates and is extremely cold to the touch. Pour into your glasses and decorate with pomegranate seeds and tarragon leaves; summer in an instant.
3. Pack a Punch with a Pocket Negroni
Aberdeen based distillery, Porter’s Gin, which launched its letterbox gift delivery service, Send A Negroni last year is now offering its popular Negroni recipe in perfectly portioned and transportable small cans that fits in your pocket. The renowned Negroni recipe from Send A Negroni is available pre-batched into individual servings ready to be enjoyed in your garden as well as perfect for summer picnics and parties, once lockdown restrictions are lifted. Available to purchase at ShopCuvee.com (RRP £5)
4. Take It Easy With Mother Root Ginger Switchel
For a midweek tipple with all the taste and none of the booze, Mother Root’s Ginger Switchel. Inspired by an age-old American recipe, this all-natural infusion of pressed ginger juice, blossom honey and organic apple cider vinegar will excite your tastebuds and leave you feeling revitalised. Check out the website www.motherroot.london for a host of delicious recipes, we’re looking forward to trying the fruity Switchel Cobbler on a balmy summer’s evening. £19/480ml, www.motherroot.london.
5. Sip On A Dutch Beer from Lowlander
The pioneers of botanical brewing from the Netherlands, Lowlander Brewing, has added two new low alcohol expressions to its range, just in time for spring. Sitting at 0.3% abv and 4% abv, Lowlander’s 0.3% IPA and 4% Cool Earth Lager is are made using Lowlander’s unique botanical brewing method; a hybrid infusion of botanicals and beer, as well as herbs, spices and fruits. Available exclusively from www.sainsburys.co.uk and in 70 stores nationwide.
6. Smarten Up Your Tin Gin
Now we all love a gin in a tin, but with Slingsby Gin’s new ready to serve options, it might be time to elevate the experience from the supermarket own brands. The Slingsby Solo is a pre-mixed G&T, while the Slingsby Spritz is a combination of Slingsby premium gin, sparkling water and a burst of fruit flavours. Both new products can be purchased from the Spirit of Harrogate website and from the Spirit of Harrogate experience store. Available for a trio pack at £7.50 or treat yourself to a full case of 12 for £30. We know what we’re going to be stocking up on…
7. A Taste of the East from Lanique
Made by steam-distilling thousands of hand-picked rose petals sourced from the East, Lanique is perfect paired with prosecco for a unique fizz, served simply with a squeeze of lime, or added as a splash to prosecco and tonic for a rosy twist on the classic Spritz. It’s definitely one to liven up cocktail hour. £29 from www.lanique.co.uk
8. Indulge in an English Wine from Hattingley Valley
Family-owned Hampshire winery Hattingley Valley, has added its first-ever white wine to its collection of award-winning English sparkling wines. The 2020 Chardonnay joins the brand’s STILL By Hattingley range that includes a 2019 Rosé and 2016 Pinot Noir, both released last year. Available online now (£19.50) the new release is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes with clean, fresh palate, with green apple flavours, and a creamy texture that is nicely balanced with its natural vibrant bright acidity. A fine and rich mouthfeel, with a long dry finish, the Chardonnay is perfect for alfresco drinking, pairing beautifully with barbecued monkfish or chicken – a crowd-pleaser when entertaining in our gardens this spring/summer. www.hattingleyvalley.com
9. Spice Up Your Summer With Spirited Union Rum
Balmy evenings in the garden call for a sexy spiced rum and the range from Spirited Union will be calling our name this summer. We’re desperate to try the Spirited Union Queen Pineapple & Spice Rum (£27.50/70cl) is made by macerating the flesh of the fruity Queen Victoria pineapple in Panamanian Rum. The Spirited Union Spice & Sea Salt (£29.95/70cl) is a smooth cask-aged Barbados rum infused with five delicate spices, including Guatemalan cardamom, Madagascan cloves and vanilla for a sweet spice aroma, as well as Peruvian cacao adds a deep richness and moreish honey-nut finish, enhanced with a pinch of Añana sea salt.
10. Embrace the South of France with Domaine du Météore
This dreamy rosé is the stuff holiday dreams are made of. The delicate blend is a mix of organic Cinsault, Grenache Noir and Mourvèdre; dry and delicate, it has aromas of raspberry, strawberry and grapefruit, with a hint of white pepper, while round, smooth and fresh. It’s dangerously drinkable, utterly delicious and desperately moreish. £15.50 at www.domainedumeteore.com or £93 for a case of six… which we’d recommend investing in as a bottle won’t last long.
Ok…We’re adding one more for luck…
Get the Taste of Italy with Hotel STARLINO Rosso
It might still be a little while until we’re boarding a flight to Italy, but with Hotel STARLINO Rosso Vermouth we can recreate the experience in the garden. Launched in the UK last year, it’s a blend of Italian white wine Sicilian Ansonica, Catarro wines and Marsala wine blended with a careful selection of botanicals including wormwood, bitter orange and cloves. The Red Vermouth is then aged in ex-Kentucky Bourbon Barrels for six months to give a rich, spicy, vanilla flavour. £19.84 at www.masterofmalt.com