From quirky rums to fancy tequilas, here are the spirits you should try in your cocktails this summer
Union Rum Spice & Sea Salt, £37.95
Love your rum but getting a bit tired of the usual suspects in your drinks cabinet? This exotic explosion of flavour might just be the thing to shake up your favourite tipple. Candy-sweet yet conspicuously tangy, this spice and sea salt rum will take your taste buds on an adventure with its complex yet perfectly pronounced mixture of flavours. The sweetness here comes from Guatemalan cardamom, Madagascan clove, vanilla and Peruvian cacao, spiced up with a potent kick of sea salt from the Salt Valley of Añana in the Basque Country.
Whether you use it to up your Espresso Martini game or just have it with a traditional dash of Coke, this rum will easily become your new summer go-to.
Diplomatico Mantuano Rum, £30
For a more traditional but equally elevated rum experience, you can’t go wrong with this little Venezuelan number. Balanced, smooth and deliciously spicy, this sophisticated rum shines equally on its own, as well as paired with Coke or as part of your favourite cocktail.
Sweet, slightly spicy and woody, it masterfully marries a vast range of complex flavours but in an understated, elegant manner. Considering the excellent quality and depth of flavours, Diplomatico is a real steal for the price, and the elaborate packaging makes it a great gift or just a lovely bottle to bring to a party.
Salted Caramel Cocoa Vodka Liqueur, £25
At first, the warm tones of this spirit might make take your mind to the colder months, but why limit your taste buds by the season? With subtle salty notes and the sweetness of the caramel rolling over your tongue, this drink is delightful for a sunny day in the garden after a barbecue, or indeed a rainier summers treat indoors.
To step the game up into some real luxury, pour it on top of some rich vanilla ice cream as a soothing evening dessert.
Sapling vodka, £27.95
With everyone erring towards more eco-conscious lifestyle choices there’s no reason that thinking shouldn’t be extended to our drinking selections as well! This forward-thinking company has produced a carbon neutral vodka that is equal part delicious and non-ecologically-harmful—every single bottle bought will also guarantee a new tree is planted.
And, since one tree can absorb up to 1.5 tonnes of carbon in its lifetime and making a bottle of vodka emits about 2.5kg of carbon, you could say each bottle of Sapling pays back over 535 times—it’s a yes from us!
Halo Cocktail Delivery, from £28 per bottle
Gorgeous packaging, playful branding and top-quality products form the basis for this pre-mixed cocktail delivery service. Founded by couple Ben Hodges and Christina Kimeze as a result of the lockdown, Halo drinks have a comforting, home-made feel to them, yet don’t compromise on quality: perfectly balanced and using exceptional ingredients, they’re bound to be as good as your go-to tipple at your favourite bar.
There’s an abundance of flavours for you to choose from, too. From classics like the Old-Fashioned to Negroni, to novelty blends such as Working From Home (their crips, bourbon and gin-based house cocktail), you’ll be spoiled for choice when you visit their website. Our favourite was the tangy, fruity Tommy’s Margarita that brought us right to the beaches of Acapulco.
VIVIR Tequila, £39.95
This stylish-looking tequila is as elegant on the inside as it is on the outside. Made with double-distilled 100 per cent Blue Weber agave, it’s blended with local volcanic spring water and aged in bourbon casks for at least 18 months, and the result is bound to stun even tequila sceptics. Wonderfully smooth, luxurious and fresh, it’s perfect to sip on over ice or neat as a swanky post-dinner digestive, or just a sumptuous evening treat.
If you happen to be a bourbon or whiskey fan, you might also find this to be an interesting alternative thanks to its rich palate of smoky oak, burned bananas and deep chocolate. Delicious!
Mother Root Ginger Switchel, £19
The rise in non-alcoholic aperitifs has risen over the past few years. Whether you’re teetotal, sober, pregnant or just fancy a break from the hard stuff it’s nice to be able to join in on the fun without drowning yourself in water all night.
Who says non-alcoholic drinks have to be boring? This ginger flavour is best enjoyed over ice with some gorgeous tonic to boot (perhaps pair it with an elderflower offering!) and the best part is—if you want—you can add a little spirit of your choice to spice it up as well.
Glasshouse whisky, £30.95
This dangerously drinkable blended Scotch is not your ordinary whisky—it was designed specifically for long drinks (its makers, the bartenders behind the Langstane Liquor Company, specifically had whiskey highballs in mind: a blend of whisky and soda water) which makes it the perfect accompaniment to a summer BBQ or party with your friends. This makes it a welcome solution to whiskey lovers who rack their brains thinking what they should drink on a hot summer day.
Smooth, elegant and sweet, it gives off a warm, fruity aroma reminiscent of ripe bananas and milk chocolate and makes for an easy, perfectly balanced long drink when mixed with soda.
Two Keys Mixers and Tequila Enemigo, £59.95
Fed up with travel restrictions meaning you can't holiday this year? One sip of this Margarita combination—tequila Enemigo and Two Key's lemon mixer—and you'll instantly be transported to a sunny evening in Mexico or the Mediterranean.
Enemigo 89 is like no other tequila. It's unbelievable that this spirit originated in 2017, and isn't a heritage brand, so perfect is the blend and so impressive their roster—they've won seven Double Gold and Tequila of the Year awards. Perhaps the authenticity lies in this London brand's origins—produced in the Mexican town of Tequila, their agaves are grown in the surrounding hills, with the water flowing through the volcano before it is used.
Completing the perfect pairing is this cocktail delivery service's mixer of choice—Two Keys' lemon mixer—creates the perfect Margarita taste without the mess of creating the drink from scratch. Although Margarita is traditionally created with lime juice, the Spanish lemons utilised by Two Keys are beautifully sweet, making the perfect bright cocktail to enjoy in the sun.
Black Lines, "The Explorer" cocktail set, £48
This exciting trio is the ideal foundation for a summer gettogether. Elderflower Collins is crisp and light, with delicate flavours. Pear and White Tea Fizz is exceptionally refreshing. Paloma has the edge of fresh grapefruit and the gentle bite of sea salt. Between them, there's a flavour for every party guest.
What sets these pre-mixed cocktails apart is their strength. Forget your traditional pre-mixers that offer a lot of soda and minimal alcoholic content—these delicious blends taste every bit as good as a drink mixed before your eyes.
Black Lines also offer negronis, spicy margaritas and larger multipacks for when you really want to get the party started.
Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin, £34.95
Claiming to combine "all of India in one bottle", this flavourful gin takes drinkers on a journey.
Handcrafted in a traditional copper pot in small batches at one of India’s oldest distilleries, in the foothills of the Himalayas, the many flavours of coriander, cubeb pepper, lemon and orange peel, Darjeeling green tea and lemongrass are evident in every sip.
Combine with high-quality tonic water and orange peel for a perfectly Indian G&T.
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