The party season is about to burst into full swing with all the hysteria and hangovers that come hand in hand with it. Along with the mounds of festive food heading our way, there’s the inevitable barrage of booze with drinks brands competing to be our tipple of choice.
We’ve put together a little guide for the discerning drinker, with some of the finest spirits on the market, some you’ll have heard of and some new additions to the alcohol landscape. Cheers everyone!
Tanqueray Nº TEN (RRP £32)
Sales of gin continue to rise with the spirit having become the nation’s favourite according to surveys last year. One consistent top performer in taste tests among the big brands has been Tanqueray. And after a few sips it, it’s not hard to see why.
This particular version, the Nº TEN, named after the still where it came from, is a delightful tipple, distilled in small batches using only the finest botanicals and fresh citrus fruits. The fact it’s the only gin to be inducted into the San Francisco World Spirits Competition Hall of Fame tells you a lot.
Sweetdram Escubac (RRP £30)
Here at The MALESTROM we’re fans of anyone or anything that doesn’t conform to the norm, and this rather unique new spirit on the market does just that. With it’s closest spiritual neighbour being gin, Escubac’s individual flavour is made by first macerating 14 botanicals, including caraway, cardamom, nutmeg and citrus, for 72 hours, then slowly distilling them on a custom copper pot still.
The spirit is then lightly infused with raisins and vanilla, and naturally coloured with saffron for a pale-yellow hue. Escubac is packed full of citrus and spice, it’s a refreshing festive botanical alternative to the crowded gin market.
Stolichnaya Elit Vodka (RRP £37.90)
There’s nothing new about Stolichnaya, or Stoli to its friends, the fine Soviet brand that this year is celebrating 80 years of producing quality vodka. This particularly special ‘Elit’ version of the spirit goes through a particularly painstaking process to make it so, well, special. It uses the finest hand selected Grain sourced purely from Tambov in Russia (renowned for its black soil) which is triple distilled and then sent to Latvia to be blended with the pure waters sourced from local artisan wells.
After being purified using exceptionally fine quartz sand and passed through Russian birch wood charcoal the final stage involves being frozen for 24 hours before being defrosted and bottled to produce the smoothest vodka possible. If that’s not worth a few more quid of your money then we don’t know what is.
The Duppy Share (RRP £27.50)
Named after ‘Duppies’, the fabled dark spirits in the Caribbean that swoop between distilleries stealing the best rum, this smooth, award-winning blend of two island rums – one 3-year-old from Jamaica, one smooth 5-year-old from Barbados – is a delightfully drinkable drop.
The Duppy Share is distilled by fourth generation rum masters, the spirits are aged in old American oak bourbon barrels, blended in Amsterdam and bottled in London. The versatile blend is all-natural with no added sugar, caramel or spice. Sip it over ice or make it a part of the Christmas rum punch cocktail bowl.
Speyburn Single Malt Aged 15 Years (RRP £60)
It wouldn’t be Christmas without at some point indulging in a wee dram of whisky. One we can highly recommend is this 15-year-old single malt from the Speyburn distillery. It’s secret is maturing the spirit in a combination of American and Spanish oak casks for 15 years, helping develop it’s particularly creamy and vibrant taste.
It has a gentle warming spice to it that gives it a satisfyingly creamy finish. This version won a silver medal at the International Wine & Spirits Competition 2017, we’d give it a gold one if we had any hanging about the office.
Patron Silver (RRP £43.50)
Any serious tequila drinkers will know any version of Patron is an extremely good drop of the hard stuff, with them being one of the most famous producers in Mexico. Patron Silver is an ultra-premium white spirit that uses only the finest 100 percent Weber blue agave to make it stand out from the crowd.
It’s all handmade in small batches (each bottle has a unique number), designed to be smooth, soft and easily mixable in quality cocktails. Perfect for those who crave a margarita over the festive season rather than your more traditional fare.
Cadello (RRP £30)
Cadello is a premium liqueur with claims to be in a category all of its own. And we at The MALESTROM aren’t going to argue. Inspired by the question of what the Venetian nobles would have served at their masked balls during the Venetian Empire, Cadello is It’s made from 8 ingredients from Italy and is produced by a 150-year-old, family-owned distillery situated in Trentino.
It’s complex, unique flavour, blends coffee, chocolate, star anise and vanilla, hints of caramel, hazelnut, mint and toffee. All the ingredients are infused in grain alcohol and then distilled separately, before being carefully blended into French Oak barrels with coffee beans, to age into a deep smooth liqueur. A serious after dinner treat.
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