Tis the season to get sloshed. No, of course not, obviously we all drink responsibly and the responsible thing to do is only drink delicious over the festive season. Here are our choices to shine on your sideboard or give as gifts.
Elements Eight Artisan Rum Republica
Not so long ago there was only one rum to be found in most people’s homes and that was Bacardi. Mixed with Coca Cola it was the messy downfall of many a teenage party goer. Dark rum was rarely seen, usually it was only drunk by your slightly disreputable uncle and the same bottle would come out Christmas after Christmas, its sell-by date gradually becoming a distant memory,
But Elements Eight Artisan Rum Republica is something very different. It’s an aged blend of two single rums, that have come from Cuba and Panama and distilled from traditional column stills.
It’s non-chill filtered and aged for a minimum of five years in Bourbon casks and there is the secret of its smooth, sweet and complex flavour. Sipping this is like sipping a fine bourbon or even a single malt whisky. No added colours, it’s a natural golden-brown in the glass. If you must mix, which seems a shame, don’t use Coca Cola instead create a classic cocktail with it instead. And here’s a recipe
At around £29 a bottle it’s well priced to make an unusual present.
Captain Morgan White Rum
Talking of Bacardi and Coke, and let’s face it it’s still going to be eternally popular, why not try a different rum? Captain Morgan has been sailing the seas with his dark rum for so long that for many people Captain Morgan IS dark rum. But stap me vitals what’s this? The Cap’n has gone a bit girly and come out with Captain Morgan White Rum. It’s up against the big Bacardi beast and may yet board that ship and take it as a prize as this is a valid alternative - sweet, a bit sugary and a bit peppery, too.
Yes, asking for a ‘Captain and Coke’ could well become the new bar order.
And don’t save it for the fizzy, why not use it to make a classic Mojito?
Obviously, gin is still a thing, the number of new distillers seems to grow daily and no wonder as gin is relatively, easy to make on a small scale so plenty of craft distillers are trying their hand.
Rock Rose Gin
A Scottish gin this one, so expect your gin expectations to be challenged, botanicals include blaeberries (not a misprint), cardamom, coriander seed, rowan berries, sea buckthorn, rose root, verbena and Juniper from two different countries - Italy and Bulgaria. All put together at the Dunnet Bay Distillery up in Caithness, Scotland and poured into a rather fetching bottle that should get people talking.
4 Pillars Gin
All the way up from down under, 4 Pillars Rare Gin Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin is a truly modern Australian gin. They use whole oranges, which is unusual, while cinnamon and star anise add rich fruitcake tones, the Tasmanian pepperberry leaf provides warmth rather than heat, and lemon myrtle is exchanged for the usual lemon peel. Strewth!
Tanqueray No. TEN
Tanqueray No. TEN’s caged bottle offers the ideal gift for drinks enthusiasts this Christmas. The bespoke metal frame which adorns the bottle of the award-winning gin has been expertly crafted to highlight Tanqueray No. TEN's striking geometric design.
Originally made in England, Tanqueray now comes from Scotland. Yes, it’s part of the enormous Diageo drinks group but don’t let that put you off, the craft is still alive and well and the bottle is so attractive it always looks good on the sideboard.
The bottle shape was in fact inspired by the three-part cocktail shaker made famous during Prohibition' Created by Charles Tanqueray in 1830, Tanqueray London Dry Gin is still made to the same classic recipe using the botanicals juniper, coriander, angelica and sweet liquorice. You can’t go wrong with this classic London export strength gin at Xmas if you ignore, as one should, the ironically raised eyebrows of the hipsters.
The Lakes Gin
Guess where this one comes from? Yes, The Lake District. The bottle is eye-catching, as blue as a baby’s romper suit and it comes in a gift box too, which helps stop recipients immediately guessing you have bought them booze. This gin gives off nasal vibes of orange citrus, coriander and cassia bark followed by hints of earl grey tea and cracked black pepper.Whisky a go go
The Macallan Gold Double Glass Gift Pack - £39.24
A bottle of 70cl The Macallan Gold with two rocks glasses featuring design inspired by the oak trees which are integral in the process of ageing The Macallan. The oak trees are used to make the casks for ageing sherry before The Macallan is added and aged.
Available exclusively at Costco for £39.24
The Macallan Gold Gift Tin - £39.24
A bottle of 70cl The Macallan, with a limited-edition tin featuring design inspired by the oak trees which are integral in the process of ageing The Macallan.
The oak trees are used to make the casks for ageing sherry before The Macallan is added and aged.
Available at Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrison’s for £39.24
The adult alternative to Baileys. It goes down just as easy, but has that grown-up caffeine taste. It is, of course, indispensable for Espresso Martinis, the drink that is itself the grown-up version of a Vodka Red Bull - all the brainrush but none of that horrible smell.
We love Espresso Martinis here at Foodepedia. The main ingredients are coffee beans, Jamaican rum, delicious vanilla, and sugar and it comes out at around 25% alcohol. So when you add vodka to the mix, it is quite a powerful drink, so do drink responsibly. And it isn’t just for Espresso Martinis, try some other great cocktails here Tia Maria is about £14 and available everywhere.
Haig Club Clubman
The Blue Bottle certainly stands out looking, as it does, just like a perfume bottle, one of those ones a footballer might advertise in a moody, nonsensical, TV commercial. Well, in fact it is linked to football as His Highness David of Beckham who had a hand (handball!) in its creation.
It’s a Single Grain Scotch Whisky matured in fresh bourbon casks which give a layer of sweet, vanilla and coconut flavour. It’s been designed not to be sipped neat but mixed, ideally with a Pepsi (other colas are available, of course). Which makes it a great party whisky