Here is our roundup of must try spirits this Autumn – As the nights draw in, the days become shorter and the leaves become golden, join us – get the fire on and snuggle up with a delightfully luxury tipple!
Ciroc Pineapple Vodka 37.5% ABV
This little beauty sits in a range of flavoured Ciroc vodkas made with a base spirit of French grapes which are harvested when frozen and distilled 5 times. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a soiree and guaranteed to get a decent amount of ‘yums’, but will also definitely get the party started!
As per the label, this delicious vodka is infused with pineapple, giving off a delicious tropical fruit smell as soon as opened. As with all Ciroc vodkas, on the tongue this is silky smooth, tickles the taste buds with the perfect amount of fruit flavour, then leaves without a trace (i.e. and zero unpleasant after taste). There is a surprising depth here.
This has found its way into our freezer, where it probably won’t last long. Delicious straight up or also with cranberry juice. This is a great cocktail experimenter.
Wasabi Vodka 40% ABV
Made by the Winchester Distillery for The Wasabi Company (great name), this is a little firecracker of a vodka. The wasabi used is grown on the company’s farm in Hampshire, very close to the distillery, keeping the carbon footprint very low. The water is also from natural springs on the farm.
Quite simply, it tastes like nothing else I’ve had before, in a very good way. The vodka really captures and releases the flavour and fire of real wasabi giving it a powerful flavour with a welcoming heat. This gives me delicious notes of mustard and radish combined with a sweetness, followed rapidly by fire.
I absolutely recommend keeping in the freezer and kicking off a night’s entertainment with, or if you want to really liven things up, try in a Dirty Martini or Bloody Mary.
Available from The Wasabi Company (£29 for 50cl)
Koskenkorva Vodka Climate Action 40% ABV
Here we have a new Finnish vodka (launched 1st Oct 2021), and quite possibly the World’s most sustainable thanks to the fact it is made from regeneratively-farmed barley that helps fight climate change. This makes it the only barley-based vodka in the world that’s made this way!
So, a little more about this method of farming as it’s a critical point… – Regenerative farming aims to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in the ground, creating carbon sinks that reduce the impact of climate change. The process improves biodiversity, stops nutrients leaking into water bodies and provides better crops at the same time. Indeed, if all the farmers in the world swapped to regenerative farming, together we could remove up to 322 billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. That’s nearly as much as we emit globally in 10 years!
It’s also vegan, gluten- and GMO-free and the award-winning distillery in western Finland, which runs predominantly on bio-energy, has an impressive 99.9% recycling rate (even the husks of the barley left over during the distillation process are used to power the plant).
Now to the tasting notes; this is dry and delicate, smooth and subtle offering up notes of vanilla, caramel and white flowers, which gives a super clean flavour that’s ideal to enjoy straight up on the rocks. Pop it in the freezer, then give it an airing with a starter of charcuterie. Delicious!
Nuet Scandinavian Dry Aquvit 43%ABV
A new one on us, but one that has certainly left a lasting impression!
Aquavit is a little-known drink and a Scandinavian tradition since its first recorded mention in 1531. Essentially, it’s a refreshing alternative to those seeking a new spirited adventure.
To be fair, Nuet Aquabvit is, to our minds, arguably a little more on the vodka scale than gin and is actually distilled using potatoes, with flavours of caraway, grapefruit peel, blackcurrant and blackcurrant leaves, which give it a delicious sweetness.
Nuet can be drank neat, with tonic OR in cocktails (it’s epic in a Martini as it is in a Negroni).
It’s incredibly smooth and fresh and if you’re looking to show some alcohol sophistication at your next dinner party, this is your ticket!
Master Of Malt £40
Wimbledon Garden Gin 43% ABV
What goes well with tennis, strawberries and sunshine? Well, gin of course. The multi award-winning Wimbledon Garden Gin to be precise.
This is Wimbledon Brewery’s latest addition, Wimbledon Garden Gin, which not only looks fantastic, but contains a smooth yet bold, quintessentially English gin. The botanicals in it, many of which are found on Wimbledon Common, including Juniper, Gorse and Heather, Wimbledon Honey, Liquorice, Lemon and Cascade Hops from the brewery, you can expect complex little number that finishes with a citrus tip.
This is one of those gins you’ll never get bored of. It’s great for experimenting with and we’d absolutely recommend combining with raspberry lemonade – WOW!
The bottle is beautiful stoneware, which you can actually take back to the brewery for a refill. What a fantastic idea!
Wimbledon Brewery £38.50
Speight’s Rhubarb Gin 40% ABV
Right next to Halifax you’ll find a quaint little village called Northowram, where Speights, a family-run distillery, creates a rather impressive range of delicious artisan, award winning gins.
Each bottle of Speight’s gin is distilled in a traditional copper still (named Barbara), in the family’s secret garden-style distillery, using the finest medical-grade botanicals and fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
We were lucky enough to try out a bottle of the show-stopping Rhubarb Gin, which picked up an impressive ‘Silver Award’ at the World Gin Awards 2021, no mean feat!
So, what did it taste like… well, if you are a fan of fruity gins like me, you simply have to get your hands on a bottle, then tell me it’s not the most delicious rhubarb gin you’ve ever tasted. There’s some wizardry going on here, absolutely nailed it. As soon as you uncork the bottle, you’ll get deliciously rich notes escape. On the tongue, this tipple really comes to life.
Top tip – team with a ginger ale. So nice.
Super impressed and expect to see and read more about these guys.
Available from www.sp8gin.com
Luxlo – Blood Orange For Gin Lovers 20% ABV
Let us start with how delicious this spirit is – we’re huge fans of anything ‘Blood Orange’ – it’s potentially one of the best fruits in our opinion. LUXLO-Blood Orange For Gin Lovers, therefore hit the spot. On the nose, it is aromatic, light and romantic – with the obvious citrus notes and a touch of piney juniper. In the glass, it is surprisingly juniper-led, with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon, which lends to its over-all orangey melody. Subtle, yet punchy flavours of grapefruit and cherry are also present on the tongue.
It’s refreshing, crisp and vibrant – suits an assortment of tonics and, as a bonus, it isn’t a classic 40% ABV, that overpowers drinks with that alcohol taste – its only 20% ABV – so a 25ml measure adds the correct level of flavouring to each beverage. It’s also Vegan, gluten free and sugar free.
This drink suits sunny cocktail parties but also has a festive feel to it, and no doubt we’ll be drinking this all the way to Christmas (if it lasts!) blood orange garnish and all!
Master of Malt £30
Highclere Castle 43.5% ABV
A monument of high society, Highclere Castle is a quintessentially British gin. Boasting orange peel, lavender and cardamon amongst its key botanicals – as well as lavender that grown on the grounds of Highclere…. Which just so happens to be the set of the most popular period drama series ‘Downton Abbey’!
We simply adore this Gin – it’s simple to navigate and works in most tonics and cocktails – complimenting with subtle and calming flavours. When compared to other Gins, Highclere knows its strengths – and it’s not trying to outgrow its traditional roots. There is a certainty with this Gin, a familiarity.
Most recently we’ve found it to be the perfect addition to a French 75 – the combination of the orange peel and citrus work superbly, so much so…that it’s become part of our muscle memory to reach for the bottle of Highclere, every time we hear that cork pop!
Pick up a bottle of Highclere this Autumn, experiment with it, add it to your favourite cocktails – and enjoy its exquisite taste!
Festival Spiced Orange Gin 40% ABV
Did someone say Christmas? You’re either someone who is already excited, or annoyed that people are talking about it already – but its less than 100 days away – so we can get ready right? Well, let us introduce you to ‘Christmas in a bottle’!
Festival Spiced Orange Gin is crafted by Dave Roberts and Master Distiller Jake Wilson from Masham Distillery. Made using cinnamon and orange peel with traditional gin botanicals – its clear this was made for the festive season.
It works equally well in a G+T as it does in a hot toddy (believe us on the hot toddy front!) this is partly due to the core ingredients – cinnamon really shines through in this concoction, and its complimented by a warm, nostalgic aroma of orange – which really brings it home.
We’ll be sipping this slowly and then polishing off the bottle in an array of cocktails toward December. Getting in the Christmas spirit, with this Christmas spirit!
Virgin Wines £34
Cranes Cranberry Gin 37.5%
We’ve said it once, we’ve said it twice – and we’ll say it again. We love Cranes.
From Cambridge – this wonderfully sweet liqueur is a modern take on blood orange and the vibrant cranberry flavours we expect from this colour of red.
Cranes is versatile as it is delicious – it’s a great spirit for those who like to try new things, remix classic cocktails or make their own – we’ve had it in Cosmopolitans, Mojitos and even replaced the main Campari and Rosso ingredients in a Negroni with it – all create charming and delicious cocktails with a sweet fruity kick. We have no doubt this drink will continue to be on our list for years to come, from Summer right through to Christmas!
Reverend Hubert Gin Liquer 27% ABV
Who is this Reverend Hubert Bell Lester, and why is he making a Gin Liquer?!
Well, the late, great Reverend Hubert Bell Lester created this winter liqueur recipe in 1904 for the Christmas gathering of his army colleagues congregation.
Now some nearly 120 years later, his great-grandson – Tom Lester recreated the original formula with a few updates – but sticking to its core ‘homemade’ values – every ingredient is to be sourced, peeled and squeezed by hand. What’s more – Joe Wadsack, who is generally thought to have the best palate in the wine business joined in. Lester and Wadsack, with their powers combined – have gone onto create a simply wonderful concoction.
The Gin part of the creation is procured from the Wood Brothers distillery – a ‘farm to bottle’ gin and vodka distillery in Oxfordshire. We could talk for hours about the finer details of this incredible drink, steeped in history, and stories – but let’s get to how it tastes!
First off, it’s warm – festivity and spices are vibrantly delivered – this is definitely a ‘Christmas Drink’ but would sit comfortably at the end (or beginning) of any night.
Overall, it’s a balanced, smooth drink – that’s bursting with aromatic notes of warm winter spices, lemons, juniper and oranges. We can’t wait to share this drink – which is, we think, part of its historical makeup. It’s part of something larger, good times, with friends and sharing – exactly as the Reverend Hubert Bell Lester intended!
Master of Malt £35
Edi Spirited Euphoria
Sometimes you stumble across something that reminds you how far we’ve come in this industry of everchanging products and beverages – Edi – Spirited Euphoria, is a drink that transcends the classical boundaries of modern drinking culture and forms its own, modern and quite frankly, pioneering narrative.
Edi, is made by ‘The Institute’ a collective of molecular master blenders, CBD farmers and innovators – who have crafted a unique beverage designed to allow you to unwind, without the nasty hangovers and other side effects of alcohol. For those who have got stuff to do tomorrow, but deserve time to unwind.
Edi – Spirited Euphoria has no alcohol, is THC-free, vegan, sugar-free, gluten free and low in calories. It has a striking botanical taste, with peppery undertone and goes well with soda water and your choice of fruit, as well as a replacement for Gin, in a G+T.
As we see more and more alcohol-free Spirits come onto the market, it’s invigorating to see someone create something completely new – a fresh canvas, that leaves a fresh mind. After all, responsibility should be rewarded.
Agave Mockingbird Spirit
We’ve been blessed. Tequila fans rejoice – you can now drink this wonderful, Mexican delight at all times of the day – without concern for the responsibility of the future! But for real, we’re really surprised and delighted by Mockingbird Agave – it’s something the industry needed – and we’re here for it.
Made with Blue Weber Agave, directly from Mexico – it has even has the blue seal of approval – like Tequila, from Tequila – being recognised as 100% Organic Blue Agave!
After we got over its existence – we were then blown away by how well this replaces a classic high-end Tequila – it’s almost identical! You get the Agave, you get vanilla and you get a hint of cinnamon – finally, the icing on the cake – a hit of spicy habanero pepper.
If you, like us, want a full bodied, no-alcohol margarita, without sacrificing that truly Mexican taste, Mockingbird Agave Spirit was hand crafted for this purpose. Margaritas without migraines – what’s not to love!
Final top tip – for a real taste adventure, try a Tequila slammer with Mockingbird, and see if you can taste the difference!
Decorrum 37.5% ABV
Decorrum is pulling direct inspiration from the 1920’s with an Art Deco style and a bold and sophisticated taste – subtly dropping an array of classical, yet worthy flavours into your glasses and cocktails.
From the stylish bottle we are presented with a smooth and rich flavour profile that invites us to indulge in a beverage we know and love. Spiced Rum. On the nose, it is cinnamon and clove, with hints of ginger. The tongue, spicy orange zest followed by sweet honeycomb and vanilla pod. This Rum works well on its own, with a dash of cola or served in any Rum based cocktail (especially a Mai Tai!)
…and what’s more, for every bottle purchased you will adopt a Manchester worker bee, located in a sanctuary on top of the iconic Manchester Printworks – this adoption goes towards supporting the local bee community, which in turn, will go back into creating the aromas and flavours found in this incredible drink!
Master of Malt £30
Turquoise Bay Amber Rum 40% ABV
All the way from Mauritius, Turquoise Bay Rum is what I class as a grade A smoothie. Mauritius has just 6 distilleries on the island producing both traditional molasses rum, and Rhum Agricole (a grassier style produced with the fermented juice of the pressed sugar cane).
Amber Rum takes full advantage of the versatility of Mauritius’s industry, having largely been produced using molasses rum, but also featuring a small amount of Agricole, adding high notes and freshness. The rum has been finished in former Cognac barrels, adding fruity sweetness and depth.
This bottling offers up notes of bright brown sugar, dark heady molasses, peaches, cinnamon, liquorice, grapes, oak, grassy cane sweetness, pineapple, mango, overripe bananas and honeyed yoghurt.
To me, this is a sweet and complex rum with a super interesting profile with a smoothness you’ll struggle to find in other rums of this price.
Master Of Malt £25
Hattiers Rum Egremont 40% ABV
Let me introduce you to Britain’s first B Corp rum, and a blend of four cask aged rums from the Caribbean and Central America, which is paired with water from the hills of Dartmoor, Devon. The rums are not spiced or sugared, and every rum aged at the source distillery benefits from the tropical maturation in ex-bourbon casks.
We’ve noticed the rum category growing nicely in Devon, there are some notable distilleries really making a name for themselves now, many of which we have covered in the past. Hattiers is no exception to that rule, firmly putting this beautiful county on the rum map of the world.
We got our hands on a bottle of Egremont to review, which blends rums from Barbados, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Panama. On the nose expect soft tropical fruit with the wood from the bourbon casks pleasantly breaking through.
On the palate, Egremont bursts into life instantly delivering cinnamon, honey, lashings of tropical fruit with banana being the most prominent flavour. Talk about smooth and scrumptious!
I absolutely love this stuff, which will be thoroughly enjoyed over the autumnal months. If you love your rums, then this should be on your Rum bucket list!
Worth noting that there are three premium rums in the collection ‘Egremont – blended aged premium reserve rum’, ‘Eminence – a blended aged white rum’ and ‘Resolute – a blended aged navy strength rum’, go check them out in the isles of your local Waitrose today!
Belgrove Spiced Fig & Blackberry Rum 40% ABV
Now this is a little different and an absolute game changer for the rum industry. London based, Belgrove’s Spiced Fig & Blackberry Rum is made with a base of Guyanese rum aged in oak barrels then infused with fig, blackberry, cinnamon, and honeycomb. The result is a smooth humdinger of a full bodied, delicious sipper or cocktail rum.
This is also quite possibly the fruitiest rum I’ve ever tried and boasts real ingredients and all natural flavours. Like I say, it’s a game changer that appears to be gaining oodles of credibility from a rapidly growing fan base.
This is my new quintessential rum for Autumn, well done Belgrove!
Belgrove Hazelnut Rum 40% ABV
This Rum is a classic encapsulation of modernity – inspired from nostalgia. Edmund Wood, the founder of Belgrove was inspired by his childhood love of sweets and treats and a trip to Bordeaux – where he tried a rich Madagascan vanilla Rum. Combining his (and lets face it, most peoples) love of sweet things with a gap in the UK market – Belgrove have created a delightful Hazelnut Rum.
With all natural ingredients, this single origin Rum is bursting with hazelnut, but also chocolate flavours – which descend upon the palate like silk. You wouldn’t believe what this does to an Espresso martini – words simply aren’t enough to compliment this drink (which we had a few of!).
It always amazes us how oblivious we are to needing something, till it is thrust upon us, and a market that is clearly missing something. This is that thing! It’s the final puzzle piece not only for Rum lovers, but cocktail makers and explorers of taste!
10 Year Old Speyburn Single Malt 40% ABV
Speyburn 10 is an insanely good value single malt that is matured in a combination of American Oak ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks.
It’s a medium bodied single malt scotch with a crisp fruity nose and palate with a sweet smoky finish. We’ve found it for as low as £22 and no higher than £30, but it tastes like a £40-£50 single malt. Remarkable.
To the nose, it’s fresh, clean with a hint of citrus, and on the palate it’s light with a gentle palate with soft malt, sweet, toasty barley with liquorice and dried herbs.
What I really love about Speyburn 10 is its delicious sweet finish – this an absolute all-round crowd pleaser.
Recuerdo Mezcal 40%ABV
I love a drop of Mezcal and this stuff is no exception to that rule. Hailing from Casa Armando Guillermo Prieto in the Oaxaca region of Mexico, this has it all going on; smooth, deliciously smoky and just so clean.
The fact that the agave for this mezcal is not roasted as usual, but boiled, creates a sweet and fruity aroma – far fruitier than a few other Mezcal’s we’ve had the pleasure of tasting. On the tongue, you’ll enjoy bitter, sweet and smoky flavours with notes of caramel, sugar, vanilla and nuts, followed by a long, vibrant finish. Perfect flavours to enjoy on the rocks.
It’s also sold ‘Con Gusano’, or, ‘with worm’ for those non-Spanish speakers. This is going to get interesting!
Masters of Malt – £36
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