There’s no denying that 2020 will go down in history as a complete disaster, an annus horribillis if you will. And whilst friends, family, Netflix and Amazon Prime have helped, we’d be lying if we didn’t say that a tipple or three of our favourite alcoholic beverages hadn’t given us a boost too.
With that in mind, what better time to share with you some of the very best gins, rums, beers and wines that have rocked our world of late. From artisan gins to locally brewed craft beers and inspired liqueurs from exotic shores, we round up the very best boozy delights you need to sip this summer.
Gin, gin and more gin
Smooth, complex and undeniably fresh, Mermaid Gin wowed us with its ethically-sourced botanicals, lemon zest and peppery notes. Harking from the Isle of Wight’s only distillery, this hand-crafted small batch beauty shines whether on the rocks or paired with tonic.
It also happens to be beautifully presented in the most eye-catching bottle we’ve ever seen, which makes it ideal for a gift or a show-stopping centrepiece in your drinks cabinet. A pink version infused with strawberries is also available. Well worth diving into.
Liquor Studio Gin Headliner Festival Pack
If you happen to be one of the many music lovers left feeling somewhat short-changed in 2020, then the Headliner Festival Pack should hit all the right notes. Created to bring that festival feeling to your balcony or back garden, each pack contains everything you need to get creative and craft your own cocktails.
Each cocktail is broken down into separately packaged ingredients which you use to mix your cocktail alongside a step by step recipe card. Just looking for gin? No sweat. Just head to the Liquor Studio ginsolation page, choose three flavours, name your gin et voila. The guys will create your own personalised bottle and deliver it to your door for just £19.99.
Pick up the Headliner Festival pack for just £39.99 from Liquor Studio.
Pink Marmalade Gin
Packing diverse flavours ranging from fresh grapefruit and orange zest to almond, pink peppercorns and liquorice root, Pink Marmalade is a unique gin that also boasts colour-changing properties. Simply add tonic and the light green gin transforms into an attractive rose pink colour that looks great in a gin goblet with a slice of grapefruit.
Produced in small batches in age-old copper vessels, this one-of-a-kind gin has a richness and depth of flavour that makes it unlike anything else we’ve tried.
Purchase Pink Marmalade Gin online for just £30 a bottle.
Rum and whiskey
Aluna Coconut Rum
Think coconut rum and you instantly think Malibu, but trust us on this one – Aluna is on a whole different level. Blending rums sourced from Guatemala and the Caribbean with toasted coconut, this ultra-smooth spirit has a warm kick and is heavenly on the rocks or when mixed into cocktails. We can highly recommend the Daluna – a boozy take on the viral sensation known as Dalgona coffee.
Grab a bottle of Aluna Coconut Rum from Waitrose for just £20.
The Duppy Share
The UK’s number one premium rum, The Duppy Share offers an enticing mixture of fiery Jamaican and smooth Barbadian rum that marries perfectly with ginger beer and ice. The unusual name originates from duppies, which are dark Caribbean ghosts or spirits that are believed to have a soft spot for rum.
The Duppy Share is available from Sainsbury’s for £26.
The undisputed pioneers of Irish Whiskey, Kinahan’s small but perfectly formed collection of fine whiskies is second-to-none. The Kasc Project Hybrid Irish Whiskey went down a treat with team H&N, effortlessly combining oaky notes with a hint of caramelised fruit. Best enjoyed simply with ice, this sophisticated blend is aged in casks made from Portuguese, American, French, Hungarian and Chestnut woods.
Kinahan’s Irish Whiskey can be purchased online here.
Mac. By Brookies
Destined to become a future classic, Mac. By Brookie’s is a rich and luxurious macadamia nut liqueur from Australia’s Cape Byron Distillery. Made from toasted native Australian wattleseed and roasted macadamia nuts, it makes for a cracking addition to my personal favourite cocktail, The Old Fashioned. Check out three delicious recipes for the classic cocktail here.
Quick Brown Fox Coffee Liqueur
Balancing rich, complex and chocolatey coffee notes with just a hint of cinnamon spice, Quick Brown Fox sources its fair trade coffee beans from Colombia, Sumatra and Papua New Guinea to create a truly authentic taste. This caffeine fuelled liqueur pairs superbly with numerous other types of alcohol, and especially when making cocktails containing cognac, bourbon, and spiced rum. Take a look at two tasty Quick Brown Fox cocktail creations right here.
Amaretto lovers everywhere rejoiced a few months back when Disaronno launched their brand-new velvet creation. Adding smooth cream to their iconic Disaronno liqueur has created a new legend in the making, which goes down a treat with ice and a slice of orange on a hot summer day.
Disaronno Velvet is available from The Bottle Club for just £14.99.
Beer and wine
Dark Horse Merlot
If you like big, bold reds to complement a juicy steak dinner, Dark Horse Merlot is the one. Boasting dark berry jam with notes of toasted oak and warm spice, this powerful Californian red goes down a little too easily and commands repeat purchases and is produced by Beth Liston, whose unique approach to viticulture and winemaking has earned the respect of her industry peers.
Dark Horse Merlot is available from Tesco for just £8.50.
Sourcing decent Riesling outside of your favourite restaurant can be tricky, but this medium-bodied white from Walter S. Siegel is an absolute worldie. Loaded with ripe peach, apricot and red apple flavours, Walt Riesling is a bona-fide fruit bomb and seriously tasty.
Grab a bottle of Walt Riesling from Latitude Wine in Leeds for £9.99.
Barefoot White Zinfandel Cans
With all the beer gardens closed, picnics have become more popular than ever in 2020. Barefoot have released their bestselling White Zinfandel in a handy can format, making them ideal for al fresco drinking. Jam-packed with summer fruits including strawberries, pears and pineapple, Barefoot cans should be an essential part of your cool bag.
Pick up Barefoot White Zinfandel 250ml Cans for £2.50 from Tesco.
Ossett Brewery Mixed Case
With two central Leeds craft ale and pizza bars under their belt, Ossett Brewery are fast developing a cult following in the north. Their decision last year to open up their brewery for public tours and tasting sessions has only added to their appeal. If your new to the brand, their mixed case is a fantastic way to get familiar with some of their finest ales and features no less than six moreish brews, including Yorkshire Blonde.
Pick up the 12 can mixed case from Ossett Brewery for just £28.