Summer is the perfect time to indulge in the finest beverages out there on the market and to treat your tastebud to a little bit of luxury. Our Summer Drinks Guide 2016 brings you some of our favourite tipples and treats of the season from the likes of Crystal Head Vodka, Nyetimber, Suntory, BullDog Gin and Patron. Catering for each taste, there is most certainly something in here to take your fancy.
Crystal Head Super Premium Vodka (£49.99)
Crystal Head Vodka is a showstopper. The unique look of this vodka and its pure flavour make it a real knockout. Crystal Head is a product of Canada and it utilises super pure water from Newfoundland as its base. Distilled four times and filtered seven times through three layers of semi precious crystals known as Herkimer diamonds, this is a most certainly a very pure vodka. Continuing the theme or purity, Crystal Head contains no additives, no glycerol, citrus oils or sugars. Nothing is added to enhance or mask the taste. For taste and clarity, it’s one of our favourite vodkas of the year.
The bottle itself is also a work of craftsmanship. Dan Aykroyd and John Alexander wanted to craft a vessel worthy of one of the world’s purest vodkas and they have certainly done that. Taking the skull as a symbol of life, the look is bold, beautiful and striking. It’s also perfect for re-enacting Hamlet’s “to or not to be” soliloquy in an alcohol fuelled stupor… or so we have heard!
Suggested serve: Smokin’ Head Caesar
- 2 oz. Crystal Head Vodka
- 5 oz. Clamato (Caesar) or tomato juice (Bloody Mary)
- A dash of Worcestershire sauce
- A dash of hot sauce
- A tiny dash of liquid smoke
- A garnish of your choice
Method: Rub the rim of the glass with a lemon wedge and dip into salt, pepper and smoked paprika mix. In a shaker half filled with ice, add all ingredients and shake well. Strain into the pre-rimmed glass filled with ice.
Available at premium drinks retailers for £49.99 per 70 cl bottle.
Nyetimber Tillington Single Vineyard (£75.00)
Nyetimber are the original crafts people of English sparkling wine as we know it today and they began their journey over 25 years ago. Their vision for a world-class sparkling wine born from English soil grew from the desire to celebrate home-grown Pinot Noir, Pinor Meunier and Chardonnay.
Today, Nyetimber is made from one hundred percent estate-grown grapes and the results across theirs wines are utterly fabulous. However, this offering from Nyetimber is particularly special. The Tillington Single Vineyard vintage is a blend of 78% Pinot Noir and 22% Chardonnay. With this very special bottle, Nyetimber have carried on their pioneering past, as Tillington is the first Single Vineyard sparkling wine from England with all grapes specially selected from a single vineyard site. This really does underline the producer’s uncompromising attention to detail and flavour.
Priced at £75 this English sparkling wine is in the upper echelons of English sparkling wine, in terms of price. But, we think it’s a snip for what Nyetimber themselves call “an extraordinary parcel of Pinot Noir” with “elegance and complexity”. It’s easy to get caught up in the “Englishness” of a product and to wax-lyrical about our own produce; however, this offering is truly superb. It’s so much more than your typical sparkling wine and this Single Vineyard vintage is worth celebrating. Super fine bubbles permeate throughout a pale golden colour – making a treat for they eyes, as well as the nose and palette. Gorgeously lavish and yet refreshingly light, this is the ideal fizz of the Summer. Although, please remember that only 4,117 bottles were made, so don’t drink it too quickly, as you may not get another chance.
Suggested serve: Just add to a flute and enjoy.
Suntory Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve (£45.45)
Suntory are a world renowned creator of sublime whiskies and we are happy to say the Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve is no exception. This single malt whisky is one of Suntory’s ‘next generation’ of ‘no-age’ whiskies and comes all the way from the foothills of Mount Kaikomagatake. Suntory have decided not to declare an age statement on the bottle, claiming that “age should not be the sole parameter of quality”. Using lighly-peated and heavily-peated malts, this is actually quite a complex whisky and a very enjoyable journey for the palette.
Also, it’s a highly drinkable, mellow and fresh offering too. Freshness comes from a mint and slight citrus zest, with a slight hint of peppermint on the nose. There is also a slight smokiness on the finish too. It’s thoroughly pleasant and enjoyable – gorgeous!
Suggested serve: Hakushu Forest
- Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve
- Soda water
- Fresh mint
- Lots of ice.
Available to buy from Harvey Nichols or TheWhiskyExchange from £45.45.
Bulldog Gin (£22)
As typical human beings, we were immediately drawn to the aesthetics and overall branding of Bulldog Gin. It really leaps at you with its dark and moody bottle. A fairly new gin, Bulldog Gin has also been voted one of the top 50 spirits by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, the only gin ever to make it into the top 50. With the striking look and the accolades already coming in, things look good for this newcomer. But, what does it taste like?
Bulldog is a super premium gin containing no less than 12 botanicals. Made in the UK with 100% British grain, the gin is distilled in traditional copper pot stills and is then filtered three times for smoothness. The gin is very smooth and not overbearing on the dryness, therefore making it a great all round performer for cocktails or for combination with mixers. Not the most complex gin out there, but it is certainly a strong performer and clean on the palette. It’s ideal for light, refreshing summer drinks and certainly worth a try.
Suggested serve: The Bulldog Gin ‘Modern G&T”
- 2 parts BULLDOG Gin
- 5 parts premium tonic water
Glass: Copa Glass
Method: Fill the Copa glass with 6-8 hard ice cubes. Add BULLDOG Gin and top with premium tonic water. Finish with your preferred BULLDOG garnish.
Available at Ocado.com for £22 per 70 cl bottle.
Patrón Silver Tequila (£Vary)
There aren’t many brands of tequila out there with as much prestige and such a large global fanbase as Patrón. A host of rappers and performers even name check this famous tequila in their tracks, so you may be wondering what all the fuss is about? The root of Patrón’s great reputation is the super high quality of this tequila and the attention to detail in the production.
It all begins in the high mountains of Mexico, where Patrón uses the finest Weber Tequilana Blue Agave to produce the ultimate tequila. In a handmade and hand selected process, the blue agave is trimmed, crushed and fermented.Once complete, the product is double distilled and the aged tequilas are aged in oak barrels. This attention and hand selected care for the finest of tequila ingredients has resulted in superbly clear and smooth tequila. Ideal on it’s own or mixed; this is one of the finest tequilas on the market. Each bottle is individually signed and given a unique bottle number due to the limited number produced.
Suggested Serve: The Perfect Patrón Margarita
- 35ml Patrón Silver
- 15ml Patrón Citrónge Orange Liqueur
- orange juice
- juice of 1⁄2 lime
- sweet and sour mix
- lime wheel for garnish
Available to buy from Harvey Nichols, Selfridges or TheWhiskyExchange. Starts from £41.45 CL.
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