Drinks Cabinet

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We all love and, let’s face it when you’re a parent, need a drink every now and then. I may sound like an alcoholic when I write, but I promise I only have a tipple or two at the weekend…and on special occasions, such as Tuesday’s.

Welcome to…

‘The Drinks Cabinet’

Over on this page I’m going to invite you to take a peek into my drinks cabinet. I am going to purchase, drink and then review some of the less well known alcoholic beverages that are around. A tough job, but someone has to do it. There are links to all the drinks mentioned so you can try them for yourselves if you fancy it.

I’m not promising my reviews will be accurate, knowledgeable, articulate or sober, but I promise I will write something…

It’s all purely in the name of research you understand.


British Alcoholic Cassis:

Strawberry


What a fruity little number! (The drink, not me…)

As seen on ‘Countryfile’ and purchased by my lovely mum as a Christmas gift. (I do love a bit of Countryfile of a Sunday – I especially love how they let the weather man/lady dress down in a checked shirt and cords, specially for the Countryfile weather. They’re so hip!)

Made on a farm by a small family company in Herefordshire. Their vision was to ensure that the fruit crop for the year gets used in its entirety and nothing goes to waste. Brilliant.

Made with British grown fruit, champagne yeast and British sugar, it’s purpose is to go into a longer drink as a mixer.

So far I’ve tried it in some Prosecco and also as a mixer with some pear cider. Both berry nice (see what I did there?! Terrible. Sorry) and also meant to be nice served with Gin. Winner! That’s next on the list…

Rating: 9/10

Price: £15 (for 375ml)

I love everything about it, the flavour, what it brings to a drink to make it that little bit ‘special’ and the companies ethos, but as I have a sweet tooth, I’d maybe prefer it to be a little less sharp. Personal preference but it really is lovely. It also comes in a range of other flavours to get you excited such as Blackcurrant, Blackberry, Cherry, Raspberry and Pear.

Give it a whirl!

British Cassis

(Can also be found in Waitrose)


Tarquin’s Dry Gin

Southwestern Distillery

My favourite Gin, ever, so far.

Bought from a smashing little wine merchants called Wadebridge Wines, located in Wadebridge, Cornwall, whilst on holiday there, this Gin is about as good as it gets.

Fragrant, Fruity (you can smell orange and flowers when you pop the cork out, stunning) and fresh. Tried it neat over ice in the shop and it was delicious just like that but mixed with a bottle of Fever Tree Tonic, you can’t go wrong. What a find.

Would make a wonderful gift as it’s lovingly handcrafted, the bottle is just gorgeous (so lovely I can’t throw it away and it’s now lovingly displayed on my kitchen windowsill) and the distillery which produces it has a lovely back story and history to it.

If you give one Gin a go this year, be sure to try this one. It’s a goodie.

Rating: 10/10

Price: Between £30/£35 (70cl)

Southwestern Distillery

(Can also be bought from Wadebridge Wines)


 

Origin Gin: Origin – Arrezzo, Italy

A wonderful gift from a fabulous friend of mine.

A rather unusual London Dry Gin which only has one botanical in it, Juniper. The Juniper which is used in each bottle is from one country alone so the different flavours you experience with each version of their Gin is purely down to the ‘terroir’ of that region (for us mere mortals, terroir, is basically the environmental factors of the region in question which, in turn, have an impact on how the Juniper in that region grows, smells and tastes. Simples eh?!)

Each bottle of Origin comes with a little vial of extra botanicals which you can add into the Gin to make it into a more ‘traditional’ tasting tipple. I loved the novelty factor of this, the vial is packaged like a Victorian medicine bottle complete with a brown paper tag to inform you what is in it, and the slightest of drops into your drink really does make a lot of difference.

There are about 7 different Origin’s about at the moment but i have only tried this one.

It’s different, fresh, lively and very clean tasting, mainly due to the lack of botanicals, but once you add the ingredients from your vial, it tastes a lot different. Nicer I would say, in my opinion, not quite so harsh.

It’s a simple Gin. It’s nice, but not wow. I prefer something a little softer and fragrant, but my husband really liked it…hence the empty bottle!

Give it a go and see what you think!

Origin – Arezzo, Italy

Price: £36 (70cl)

Rating: 7.5/10


 

Les Boucaneries Rum Punch

Well, where do I start with this random tipple?!

It was, again, found at Wadebridge Wines in Cornwall whilst on holiday and looked too interesting to be left on the shelf. The shape of the bottle, the spices floating about in it, the fact it’s made from Rum, all drew us in.

The lady in the shop didn’t know an awful lot about it, or it’s origin apart from knowing it’s French, but she did say it was a sort of ready made Rum punch with vanilla pods, cinnamon, cloves and star anise. It sounded yummy so we gave it a whirl.

On the back it says you can drink it hot or cold, so we tried it cold first. Yum. Then we tried it hot, yum. Basically it’s yummy in any form.

We have also used it in a mulled wine before and it really did enhance the taste, at the time it seemed a bit of a waste dispersing it into an abyss of sickly sweet red wine, but it was worth it.

It appears to be a bit of a pickle to get hold of and Google has no chuffing idea what it is or where it’s from, but I have managed to track down a website that sells it. It describes it as a ‘traditional French Aperitif’  – so if you’ve ever heard of it, drunk it or know where to find it, do let me know!

It comes in a really expansive range of flavours, but all Rum based. I’ve seen it bottled with Banana, Orange, Coffee, Cocoa, Apple, Roses, Red Fruit, Fig, Ginger, Pineapple and Blueberry! Wow…where to start next!?

If you want something a bit different, sweet and spicy (think christmas flavours) I’d thoroughly recommend it.

Rating: 9/10

Price: £20

Les Boucaneries Rum Punch


 

Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Gin

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Gin, Cocoa, what could go wrong I hear you ask?! Well, not a lot really but a word of warning, this stuff is POTENT. I’m not kidding, half a normal measure is plenty where this stuff is concerned, it packs a punch and half, similar to that of my toddler head-butting me on the cheekbone.

I was bought this little beauty for Christmas by my smashing cousin (basically sister), she knows me too well.

When you open the bottle, you don’t get a cocoa scent, it really is Juniper and alcohol which whizz up your nostrils. When you taste it, besides the burning alcohol sensation, it does taste of a bitter chocolate and also quite nutty. It’s really nothing like I’ve had before.

I’ve tried it neat (bad idea, I felt pi$$ed within 5 seconds, though great to know in a time of dire need) and I’ve tried it as a Cocoa Martini, which requires these ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp Hotel Chocolat Cocao Gin
  • 1 tsp fresh orange juice
  • handful of ice cubes
  • twist of orange zest (rind), to serve

Mix it all up in a cocktail shaker and drink. It’s pretty nice but sadly didn’t taste like a Terry’s chocolate orange which is kinda what I was banking on…so I ate one whilst I drank the cocktail. Win, win.

I’d say if you want something quirky, a Gin that has a bit of a novelty factor and is good for mixing in a cocktail, then give it a go but, honestly, halve the measures of Gin or you’ll never get out of bed when the kids wake you up in the morning!

Rating: 8/10

Price: £15 (250ml)

Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Gin


 

Walter Hicks Navy Rum: 125% Proof

In the name of all that is Holy, I can honestly say I’ve NEVER tasted anything like this stuff in all my life. I think that even if you sniffed it, you’d be over the drink drive limit…

Yet again, another find from Wadebridge Wines – it really is a treasure trove of alcohol – and chosen by my husband because of the ridiculous alcohol content (125% proof…yes, you read that right! 125% proof!), it’s enough to blow your socks, and probably your pants off.

This is officially the strongest Rum you can legally buy in the UK. I’ve only ever had some once and it burnt my throat so much I couldn’t bare anymore…my husband however, assures me it is very smooth and delicious and that I’m just an uneducated rum heathen. I’m clearly not cut out to be a pirate…

If you want a strong (understatement of the year!) rum which can get rid of all known viruses and bacteria, I’d recommend it. If you want an easy drinking tipple…I’d leave it. It’ll definitely put hairs on your chest.

My Rating: 6/10

My husbands Rating: 10/10

Price: £40

St Austell Brewery, Cornwall


 

Bombo 40% Rum:  Caramel & Spices

My new favourite rum. There you go, i said it. It’s truly delicious.

Bombo Rum is made by The Real Rum Company who hail from Newquay in Cornwall. Pirate country! Argh me hearties!

They’re a new and small company trying to take Rum back to its roots by using an original 18th century recipe where the rum was steeped with caramel, fruits and spices. Sounds delicious right?! Well it is and besides tasting great, look what Bombo Rum does to you…! It’s magical, I’ll have the house cleaned top to bottom in 10 minutes flat after drinking some of this stuff!

It’s sweet, spicy, luxurious and moreish. I’ve had it neat with ice and mixed with coke, both ways were pretty brilliant.

If you want something epic, something delicious and something original, give this bad boy of the rum world a go. You won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 10/10

Price: £30

Bombo Rum on Firebox


Juniper Green Organic Gin

What a lovely, clean, fresh Gin this is…and a bit of a steal too at under £20!

For the money, you get a pretty good Gin! I’d say even better than Gordon’s.

The worlds first, and only, 100% Organic Gin. Approved and fully endorsed by the Soil Assosciation, this Gin is good for the earth, as well as your belly! 😉

Rating: 9/10

Price: £18.99 (Ocado)

Jumiper Green Organic Gin


Pinkster British Gin

What a smashing tipple this one is. I’ve not seen a Pink Gin before but fellas, don’t let the colour put you off. This is a Gin not to be missed, go on, get in touch with your feminine side!

Concocted by a couple of friends near Cambridge, this distinctly British Gin looks the part, as well as tasting the part.

The Pink colour is apparent because this company steep Raspberries, grown locally, in the Gin, which is provided by the oldest distilling company still going, G&J Distillers.

There are only 5 ingredients in this Gin and despite its slight fruitiness, the punchy Juniper berries still give it that typical ‘dry’ feeling in your mouth after having a sip. It’s not sweet, it’s just that bit ‘different’. I like to serve it with a bottle of Elderflower Tonic.

I think that once I’ve finished the bottle, I’ll be purchasing another one. In fact, it’s that good, you could almost say it’s one of my ‘store cupboard staples’ now…Gin is a weekly shop staple isn’t it?!

Rating: 9.5/10

Price: £30 (approx.)

Pinkster Gin

 


Two Birds London Dry Gin

I bought this particular bottle of Gin from Fortnum & Mason don’t you know.

What, what, what. Spiffing. Chin, chin. Tally-ho!

Made by a company which began life in 2013 in the British Countryside, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, to be precise, this is a crisp, uncomplicated, dry Gin. Made with only 4 ingredients and in small batches of only 100 bottles at a time to ensure perfection.

The company also make Vodka and Absinthe (and bespoke bottles for corporate customers) but I am yet to try these…I feel some more reviews coming on!

Each bottle has a loving hand-drawn picture on it and they use Organic Inks to do these, the bottle is a work of art itself and will definitely take it’s place on my kitchen windowsill once it’s finished with. Far too lovely to discard in the bin.

I love this Gin (I think I’ve said that a lot in these reviews but I honestly do mean it!).

It’s crisp, clean and makes a superb base Gin for tinkering with a little more yourself, mint and elderflower maybe…yummy, or some Pomegranate Tonic??

Whatever you do with it, it’ll probably be delicious.

Rating: 10/10

Price: £30 (approx.)

Two Birds Gin – Countryside Spirit

 


 

Carte Or – Muscat de Beaumes de Venise

My second favourite desert wine of all time.

This is a sweet, citrus laden, dessert wine which I love to have a small glass of every now and then. My husband is a port fan, but a small glass of this beats a glass of port hands down as far as I’m concerned…but then I do have a rather sweet tooth! It’s lighter than a sherry and makes for super easy drinking.

The desciption of this wine on Waitrose Cellar describes it as; “Made solely from Muscat à Petits Grains grapes, that have been fermented at a low temperature. This ensures Carte Or is never heavy or cloying despite the obvious sweetness on the palate. Lifted by lemon hints”.

Basically, it’s super sweet, but a small glass of this, along with some tangy cheese or a sharp, zesty pudding would work really well.

It’s only a small bottle, which means it never lasts long in our house (oops!) but it would make a lovely thing to take over to a friends for dinner or as a dessert/cheese board accompaniment.

Best served chilled.

Rating: 9/10

Price: Approx. £7.99

You can buy this dessert wine here.

 


Fentimans, Bloom Gin and Rose Lemonade

This is a collaboration of epic proportions. Fentimans, the traditional botanically-brewed british drinks maker, have teamed up with the makes of Bloom Gin and created this rather wonderful tipple.

Fentimans is a traditional British company and has been in the same family since it’s conception. Started in 1905 by Thomas Fentiman, Fentimans began life making Botanically-brewed Ginger Beer. It was delivered by horse and cart in stone bottles adorned with a picture of the owners dog, ‘Fearless’, who won the obedience class at Crufts 2 times. You can read more about Fentimans and their company history by clicking here.

It’s only 1 serving in each bottle, and at £3 per bottle it isn’t the cheapest of drinks, but it’s something special to buy every now and then, to take out for a picnic, as a ready to drink gift for a friend in their hour of need or if you’re having a special night in.

I am obsessed with Rose scented stuff at the moment, some people think it smells like their Great Grandma’s Knicker drawer, but I absoloutely love it! So when I saw this, I just had to give it a go.

Bloom Gin is not a Gin I have tried in it’s unflavoured, natural glory yet but it is top of my list to buy. As I’m currently mad on all things floral, this Gin is right up my alley because it’s full of floral notes. They use a bespoke group of botanicals in their gin which consists of Honeysuckle, Chamomile and Pomelo. This gives the gin a slightly sweet taste and I imagine it’s an easy drinking Gin as opposed to a harsh, Juniper based one.

Fentimans Rose Lemonade is delicious on it’s own, and with the added delight of a cheeky bit of gin incorporated into it, who can resist?!

Think turkish delight and fragrant rose gardens and you’re basically there. The perfect spring/summer drink.

I can’t reccomend this beverage enough. It’s different, it’s delicious and there’s something about the vintage looking bottle it comes in which makes you feel like you’re drinking something steeped in history (and Gin!) and really special. It looks super pretty in a glass too!

If you love Gin, like Turkish Delight and are looking for something a little sweeter and refreshing, then look no further than Fentimans Bloom Gin with Rose Lemonade.

Rating: 10/10

Price: £3 (approx.)

Click here to buy!


Fentimans Rose Lemonade

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I think I may have just found my new mixer for the Summer…if the Summer ever arrives here in the UK that is! This week we have been subjected to warm sunshine, hail, snow, sleet, gusting winds and then warm sunshine again all in the space of a few minutes. It’s been utterly bizarre.

So, to cheer myself up after the weird weather of the week, I bought myself some bottles of this, Fentimans Rose Lemonade, to try after being super impressed with their Gin and Rose Lemonade tipple (see above review) the other week.

As I wrote in the review above, Fentimans is a traditional British company and has been in the same family since it’s conception. Started in 1905 by Thomas Fentiman, Fentimans began life making Botanically-brewed Ginger Beer. It was delivered by horse and cart in stone bottles adorned with a picture of the owners dog, ‘Fearless’, who won the obedience class at Crufts 2 times. You can read more about Fentimans and their company history by clicking here.

Again, it’s only 1 serving in each bottle, but this time you can buy a pack of 4 for about £3.29 which I don’t think is too bad for a product like this.

It’s non-alcoholic and pink colour is really pretty and it would certainly make a great talking point at a BBQ or gathering. It’s just the perfect size for being stashed into a hamper to take on a special picnic somewhere too.

Again, Fentimans have hit the nail on the head and this drink isn’t too sweet. You can still taste the zing of lemon over the floral rose and I really loved it. My husband isn’t really a fan of rose in drinks but even he liked it so it must be good!

I can imagine that I’ll be using the next few bottles with some different Gin’s from my drinks cupboard to see how they taste paired with it. Really, this reviewing lark is so tough 😉

If you fancy trying something traditional, which tastes delicately of turkish delight, then I’d definitely say to give this a go.

Rating: 10/10 (but I love all things Rose…)

Price: £3.29 for 4 200ml bottles

You can buy Fentimans Rose Lemonade by clicking here.

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