If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how to make the most of our gardens. Whether you’re sitting alone enjoying some fresh air or enjoying the company of another household, our gardens have become a place of relaxation and a social setting we never knew we needed so much. I for one have come to prefer a drink at home with friends instead of battling for the best outside table at the local pub or rushing for the last train home. Myself and some friends enjoyed a selection of drinks from independent breweries and small distilleries to luxury brands and fine wines so that you always have something on hand should an unexpected guest come for a visit.
I’m going to start off by telling you about the low calories options as I’m sure I’m not the only one who has put on more than a stone in lockdown and is trying in vain to get back into their black skinny jeans…
I’ve reviewed 58 Gin before for the Christmas Drinks Guide and was truly impressed by this up and coming eco-friendly distillery that I was eager to try their new canned hard seltzers. Made with sparkling waters, natural fruit flavours and a shot of 58 Gin with no sweeteners, no impurities, and no more than 67 calories a can, they describe it as: “The purest, guilt-free refreshment imaginable” and I have to agree. In both Raspberry and Pink Grapefruit flavour they are a great alternative to a gin and tonic.
The other low calorie and also alcohol free option comes from Bumblezest who make homemade natural drinks full of health enhancing ingredients. I loved their sparkling cans, particularly Flourish and Flow, botanical water infused with stress-reducing lavender, memory-enhancing rosemary and mood-boosting thyme and Refresh and Relax a CBD sparkling water to balance and kickstart your immune system with throat-soothing ginger and anti-inflammatory turmeric. What I liked about them the most is that they were a great option for those who don’t drink alcohol but are also great for during the day when you want to destress or need an extra pick-me-up.
But enough about what’s good for you. My next recommendation is good for our planet. Drifters Distillery is the world’s first rum distillery to have a carbon negative footprint so I already wanted to support them. But then I tasted their Over Proof Spiced Pineapple Rum and was absolutely blown away. Their award-winning Spiced Rum is bottled at 63% ABV and given a tropical punch with pineapple and salted caramel flavours that make the best rum and coke I’ve had in years!
Another spirit that goes perfectly with coke is vodka, but the one I presented to my guest was so good it could be enjoyed as it is in an ice cold glass. CÎROC is a truly modern vodka, filled with flavour and style that brings celebration to every vodka cocktail. Unlike most vodkas, which are made from grain, CÎROC Vodka is distilled from grapes. It is the fine French grapes and the fifth distillation that gives CÎROC Vodka a distinctive flavour with an exceptionally fresh, citrus taste. With a lovely collection of flavours perfect for the Summer such as Mango, Pineapple and French Vanilla, you’re sure to impress your garden guests with a bottle of this along with some of their cocktails suggestions, I liked the sound of the Apple Mojito.
If, like me, cocktails are your drink of choice whether at home or away, then a bottle of Campari is an absolute must have in your collection. Campari is an alcoholic spirit obtained from the infusion of bitter herbs, aromatic plants and fruit in alcohol and water. Its vibrant red colour, intense aroma and distinctive bitter taste make it extremely versatile, and the perfect base for some of the most famous cocktails around the world. Start your evening off the Italian way with the refreshing Campari G&T, all you need is 25ml Campari 25ml Gin Premium tonic water and a lime wedge for the perfect taste of Summer.
Now if that still sounds like too much effort for you then I have the perfect solution. How do cocktails delivered to your door sound?
In a letterbox friendly box (yep you don’t even have to open the door to the delivery person) Nio Cocktails deliver expertly crafted, ready to drink cocktails so that all you have to do is pick your favourites then add ice. I must admit I was apprehensive at first as I thought they would be watered down sugary syrup like rubbish, but I was quickly proved wrong. I was given a selection box consisting of a Garden of Russia, Cosmopolitan, Daiquiri, Espresso Martini, Old Fashioned and a non alcoholic Lemongrass Citrus. I enjoyed the fact that this could make the easiest cocktail party and also cater to those who aren’t drinking alcohol. One of my worries was that there would be a shortage of alcohol in the cocktails but believe me this is not the case! They’re strong, tasty and ever so convenient I might have to start a weekly subscription.
Last but not least we get onto the wines, my drink of choice for sitting in the garden after a long day of ignoring emails and letting the stress melt away.
I was asked to rediscover my love of French wine by the Wine Society who’s French wines make up around 50% of their sales. The Society’s White Burgundy 2019, is ripe and round yet with a broad, appley palate and fresh finish and for good reason this is consistently The Society’s best-selling wine. Highly drinkable and with defined aromas and flavour, this is a great wine to enjoy with a meal or as a glass or two while you unwind in the British evening sun.
I was also sent an Australian wine perfect for easy drinking by Australian Vintage who had a wonderful selection of wines so I was a bit disappointed to get a Rosé as it was never my drink of choice (maybe I just had too many sweet, cheap bottles as a student?). But that turned into pure joy after the initial sip of 2020 Mcguigan Single Batch Rosé which was one of the best wines I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying at home. Paired with a pasta dish or salad this really is the perfect summer wine and a real treat for those who don’t consider themselves a Rosé drinker.
And finally we come to something a little different from the sunny Portugese city of Porto. Churchill’s Port are on a mission to introduce you to a deliciously different apéritif and so I was treated to a bottle of their limited edition dry white port. Churchill’s barrel ages its white port for an average of ten years to create a fuller, complex style with a rich golden-orange colour. Combined with ice cold tonic, it makes for the perfect summer cocktail, served simply with an orange peel twist, so that the aged port shines, transporting you to the scented orange groves at Churchill’s home in the Douro valley. Or at least I wish it did… The limited edition set is available from Bar Douro Bottle Shop and Harvey Nichols.
And there you have it my thirsty friends, I hope you found at least one item from my recommendations that takes your fancy or a couple you can consider to enjoy with friends. Cheers!