With the orange-tinged leaves filling the trees and the arrival of colder weather like an old friend who we know so well, but prefer not to stay too long, we know winter will soon be upon us. And as the seasons change so do our tastes, from the refreshing long drinks of summer to more warming shorts.
It’s the time of the year when alcohol comes into its own with flavour filled whiskies and gins that pack a punch. Here we’ve put together our guide to the very best winter spirits that can help ease you through these chilly times. So get the fire on, pour yourself a delicious drink and check out some of these beauties.
Caorunn Highland Strength Gin (70cl) 54% abv – RRP £40
This luxurious new gin from one of our favourite producers Caorunn, is said to be inspired by Scotland’s wild mountain landscapes, hence why it packs more of a punch than most, bottled at 54% ABV. Not one for shrinking violets this Highland strength spirit perfectly highlights it’s traditional botanicals, created by being infused in Caorunn’s unique Copper Berry Chamber. A real winner.
Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin (70cl) 46% abv – RRP £39.95
If you demand your spirits are created with an environmental-conscious, as well as being eminently drinkable, then Brookies Gin from their Cape Byron Distillery is for you. This distinctive Aussie gin is distilled with 26 botanicals, 18 of which are native to Byron Bay’s verdant rainforest, forming a balanced take on the classic London Dry style. Although this one can be enjoyed in just about any capital city in the world.
Mermaid Gin (70cl) 42% abv – RRP £45
This rather lovely hand-crafted small batch gin is as tasty as the striking bottle it comes packaged in. Distilled using ten ethically-sourced botanicals, Mermaid Gin is a smooth yet complex blend that features the freshness of organic lemon zest, the peppery notes in grains of paradise and a hint of sea air from the fragrant rock samphire. And you can feel extra good while you’re drinking it with the bottle being plastic-free and made using entirely recyclable materials.
Heart of Suffolk Ivy’s Gin (70cl) 42% abv – RRP £39
Heart of Suffolk produce rather lovely small-batch, handcrafted gins from their small distillery based near Stowmarket. This particular gin is based on a classic London Dry style and makes a second to none G & T. It’s made using ten carefully chosen botanicals which combine to give Ivy’s Gin its modern and warming taste with pleasing clove and cranberry undertones. One for the long winter nights in front of a warm fire.
Kokoro London Dry Gin (70cl) 42% abv – RRP £30
It may be a British Gin, but Kokoro is very much Japanese inspired, not in small part thanks to its core ingredient, Sansho berries. The berries are hand-picked and imported from the Afan Woodland, a sustainable forest in the Nagano prefecture region of Japan. Along with eight other botanicals, it gives the drink a distinctly earthy black pepper flavour with a piney citrus aftertaste. And you can feel good when you’re sipping with 10% of profit from every sale donated to support the conservation and restoration of Japan’s ancient woodland. We’d call that win-win.
The Lakes Gin (70cl) 46% abv – RRP £32
This Classic gin from the people at the Lakes Distillery is created by infusing their botanical blend in the finest British wheat spirit and combining with the purest water drawn from their UNESCO World Heritage Site home. Juniper, coriander and angelica all make up the flavour cornerstones for this very drinkable gin.
CUT Rum (70cl) 40% abv – RRP £22.50
CUT Rum was born out of frustration by its founders, who wanted a rum that wasn’t filled with artificial ingredients and flavourings. And here it is, a beautiful rum sourced from Worthy Farm, Jamaica, and aged in copper pot stills. It’s infused with natural spices and essences and comes in three variations, Spiced, Smoked or Overproof Spiced. We’ve opted for the classic spiced, but you can’t go wrong with any of these.
Jack Ratt Lugger Rum (70cl) 40% abv – RRP £38.50
This spiced rum from English producer Lyme Bay, is named after a notorious local smuggler Jack Ratt, who brought his fishing boats – named luggers – into Lyme bay laden with contraband. And with rum this good, who wouldn’t risk smuggling as much as you could. Sourced in the Caribbean then aged in bourbon-charred oak barrels in Devon, the Lugger Rum is then finished by spicing it with nutmeg, orange-peel, cloves, and vanilla. And it’s the ideal festive tasting drop as we head into the season to be jolly.
The English Whisky Co. English Original (700ml) 43% abv -RRP £39.99
The English Whisky Co. produces some quality single malts at their distillery in Norfolk, all batch made by hand using the finest local barley and the purest water from the Breckland aquifer. This Original version is an easy drinking unpeated single malt, aged to perfection in specially selected Bourbon Casks. It has the familiar taste of a soft whipped vanilla ice cream. and who wouldn’t want that from a drink?
Glen Moray Elgin Heritage 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky (70cl) 40% abv -RRP £40
Glen Moray is a premium Single Malt from Elgin, the capital of Speyside, Scotland’s most famous whisky region. The distillery has been producing fine malt whisky, distilled traditionally in copper stills, since 1897. This 12 year’s rich and spicy characteristics come from being matured in ex-bourbon barrels from North America. It’s a sweet, smooth number with flavours of fruits and toffee. The perfect winter warmer.
Son of a Gun (50cl) AVB: 47.4% – RRP £32
Son of a Gun is far from your typical whisky, partly due to its clear look. It’s created by ageing for 8 weeks in once-used Bourbon barrels, before being charcoal filtered to give its colour, with just a faint fleck of brown visible to the eye. Named after boys born to women who accompanied the navy to sea, this English grain whisky has a unique flavour of vanilla and honey, being much fruitier than similar spirits due to its long fermentation process. And best of all it tastes as good as it looks!
Loch Lomond 12 Year Old (70cl) 46.0% ABV – £36.95
From their distillery in the Highlands comes the beautifully balanced Loch Lomond 12 Year Old. It’s a whisky drawn from a selection of three cask types – bourbon, refill and re-charred casks, that has something of a fruity taste with hints of peat and smoke. As single malt’s go, it’s fine drop.
CÎROC White Grape Vodka (70cl) 37.5% abv – RRP £35.90
Those of you out there with an eye for quality will know CÎROC make some of the finest vodka on the planet. The latest addition to the French luxury vodka maker’s range of variants is this limited-edition White Grape release, complete with striking gold bottle. To creat its sophisticated flavour, its distilled five times to ensure a silky-smooth feel, before being masterfully infused with a distinctive blend of ripe and fruity white grapes. The result is a perfect rich tasting spirit filled with delicate floral notes, hints of crisp citrus and lush honeydew.
Pierre Ferrand 10 Générations Cognac (50cl) 46% abv – RRP £37.25
10 Générations is a tribute to the 10 generations of the Ferrand family who’vee built up their eponymous Cognac house since 1630. This particular drop uses that same knowledge of the vine and distillation methods to create a rich, yet delicately flavoured drink that’s aged to perfection in French oak. It’s a great seasonal drink with flavours of baked pear, honey and fruity spice cake.
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