New research has shown that the average Brit missed out on eight special occasions during the lockdowns meaning that many people have a lot of catching up. In this guide, we look at some of the best tipples to help bring back some much-needed fun and laughter and make up for lost time on the hot summer days to come.
Restrictions have for the time being been lifted in England, with many expecting some semblance of normality. However, some will be unsure of what we can and cannot do in the future, particularly with the Government guidance being, in parts, somewhat confusing. Questions such as whether it’s possible to order a drink standing at the bar, must we wear a facemask, and how many households can meet are just a few.
With cases on the rise and the number of people hospitalised increasing, it is enough to send anyone into a frenzy. So, we thought it would be an appropriate time to calm the nerves by rounding up some of the best tipples to be had this summer as we slowly ease ourselves into some semblance of ‘normality.
Graham Beck Brut Rosé NV Pinot Noir/Chardonnay 12%
Let’s kick-start off with bubbles. This Rosé NV is an anytime, anywhere Cap Classique. It has a pale silver-pink hue colour, and its elegant structure makes it flirtatious and fun. It makes for a versatile wine with aromas of berry and cherry and hints of fresh lavender and oyster shell.
The hand-picked Pinot Noir and Chardonnay parcels from across the Western Cape, South Africa, including those from the Graham Beck Estate, give it a brisk yet delicate taste on the palette. It’s perfect for a summery setting and is sure to be a winner at any picnic or garden gathering.
Available to buy from Majestic, North-South Wines, Simply Wines Direct. RRP £15.99
Taittinger Brut Reserve Half Bottle NV 12.5 %
If you love bubbles but don’t want to share them, then this Taittinger Brut Reserve Half Bottle NV is for you. The grapes for the Brut Reserve come from prime vineyards throughout Champagne, with approximately 50 per cent coming from the Taittinger Estate. It’s a balanced blend of wines from more than 35 ‘crus’. This bubby is perfect for an aperitif or as an accompaniment to fish and shellfish dishes—the world’s your oyster with this one.
Available to buy from Waitrose, Wholefoods, Amazon, Champagne Wine Company, www.champagnedirect.co.uk, The Finest Bubble, Lea & Sandeman, North & South wines RRP £24.90
Zempleni Chardonnay Selection 2009 13%
This wine from the Chateau Pajzos Megyer Region in Hungry – apparently this is not a region as such so could we say ‘This wine from Chateau Pajzos Megye’ is a sumptuous golden colour in the glass. The wine has primary aromas of citrus, apple, and pear accompanied by secondary notes of butter and oak spices. It’s rich, round, creamy and soft on the palate with a medium finish. Harvested at the end of September, this was a sunny vintage where Moderate rain came during the growing season, and the vineyard could harvest an average amount of grapes during it.
Available to buy from www.hometipple.com RRP £18.99
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Albariño 2020 13.5%
Albariño was originally grown in Spain and Portugal, where it produces distinctive crisp, dry aromatic white wines. Now produced out of New Zealand’s Gisborne region, this wine’s aroma is intriguing with the freshly scented array of lime, peach, apricot and honeysuckle. Think bright fruit with tangy acidity. It’s particularly suited to antipasti and tapas. And if you’re always losing the bottle opener, fret not, for this bottle is a screw cap.
Available to buy from Majestic RRP £14
Château Minuty Rose et Or 12.5%C
It’s officially rosé season, so this summer, why not give Château Minuty Rose et Or a try? It’s the leading Provence rosé in St Tropez, and its flavour will instantly transport you to the French Riviera. This is a perfect accompaniment to the beautiful sunshine. Without a doubt, a crisp glass of Provence rosé encapsulates luxury and glamour.
Minuty Rose et Or is incredibly refreshing and light with an intense aroma of orange peel and jasmine accompanied by the zest and crisp flavours of pink grapefruit and white stone fruit. The grapes come from the oldest of the estate’s coastal vineyards.
Available to buy from Secret Bottle Shop RRP £29.95
Wimbledon Garden Gin 43% ABV
Just when you think you’ve found your favourite gin, another tempter pops up, claiming the high grounds of the most superior gin. Made in small batches, using botanicals that can be found from the hot spot that is Wimbledon Common, Wimbledon Brewery has created a premium dry gin that embodies ‘Quintessential Englishness’ in every single way.
It’s aptly named Wimbledon Garden Gin. It’s distilled with liquorice, lemon and something you may not expect to find, – honey which is made by bees that have harvested nectar throughout the local gardens of Wimbledon. This gin is already recognised all over the world, proudly wearing the Gold Medal of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2021, as well as the International Gin Masters 2020 Gold Medal.
Available to buy from www.wimbledonbrewery.com/gin, RRP £37.50 70cl
Don Papa Rum 40% ABV
Don Papa Rum is from the magical Filipino island of Negros, known colloquially as Sugarlandia, and is aged for seven years at the foot of volcano Mt Kanlaon before leaving the island for the rest of the world.
With warming notes of vanilla and cinnamon, this can be drunk neat over ice, or you can get creative by making in some unforgettable summer cocktails and harnessing its flavours.
Available to buy from www.masterofmalt.com RRP £29
Caorunn Gin 41.8 ABV
Sticking with gin and we head to the Scottish Highlands with Caorunn Gin. Hand-crafted in a malt whisky distillery, there’s a lot about Caorunn Gin that’s ingenious. Five of our eleven botanicals are hand-foraged locally, and they’re all distilled slowly in the world’s only working Copper Berry Chamber.
This clever contraption infuses the flavours as evenly as possible, and the result is a mouthwateringly refreshing gin. Not only that, it’s distilled in small batches to make sure every last drop tastes as delicious as the first.
Available to buy from www.caorunngin.com RRP £28
Belvedere Organic Infusions 40% ABV
And just in time for summer, the premium vodka brand Belvedere has launched Belvedere Organic Infusions: a unique range of organic Polish Rye vodka infused with organic fruits and botanicals. The infusions are created using the finest quality ingredients and marry natural essences to produce a layered yet balanced flavour profile.
Choose from Lemon & Basil with a touch of Elderflower, Pear & Ginger with a drop of Linden Honey and Blackberry & Lemongrass with a hint of sage.
Available to buy from Selfridges, Amazon, The Whisky Exchange RRP £44.99.
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Although the restrictions in England have been lifted, and many of our readers will no doubt feel they have a lot of catching up to do. We always urge you to consume alcohol in moderation and when the weather is particularly warm, it would be a good idea to also drink water to stay hydrated. By all means, enjoy the tasty tipples listed above, but remember, there’s still a few months of summer remaining, so there’s no need to rush!