Tag Archives: drink

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

9 Dec

And for once I don’t mind! Never mind that the gifts were on the shelves since October, it is now a dark, cold and wet December and the perfect time to get festive. That’s because for me Christmas involves lots of booze, sumptuous food and fun times with friends and family. So whether you’re drinking it or gifting it here are some of the best for 2014:

Line up the Christmas Booze

Whether its for gifting, or drinking, t’tis the season to be jolly!

 

Oddka
This drink is a bit of Christmas fun. As the name would suggest, it is a bit odd! With it’s dusty pink colour it would certainly make a pretty stocking filler. I tried this drink as a short and found it very sweet and palatable, however I was stuck as what to mix it with for a long party drink. In the end because it reminded me so much of strawberry milkshake I tried it out with skimmed milk as a mini cocktail. It was actually very yummy, if a little different. This vodka is 20% proof and retails at around £10. At present Sainsburys do have a sale, with £2.50 off  making it even better value for money.

Oddka

Oddka

Verdict: not for everyone but a unique gift 7/10

Three Barrels Honey
French grape brandy, Three Barrels, has been blended with honey flavours to create Three Barrels Honey – perfect for a christmas gift. I created one of the Three Barrels cocktails, and thought it was very tasty! I would love to feed a christmas cake with this brandy, it would certainly add to the flavour.

THREE BARRELS HONEY FIZZ
Glass: Chilled flute
Method: Pour in order listed and stir
Ice: None
Ingredients:
25ml Three Barrels Honey
Top with Champagne or dry sparkling wine (Cava or Prosecco)
Garnish: Lemon oils sprayed and discard zest

Three Barrels Honey

Three Barrels Honey

Three Barrels Honey is available in Morrisons at around £17 per bottle.

Verdict: A very sweet 8 / 10 

Opihr Gin
While I usually see gin as my new year drink, tasty with slimline tonic while detoxing from the Christmas baileys, I do love to receive it as a gift in time for the new year celebrations. I reviewed Opihr’s Oriental Spiced gin, and a tasty treat it was indeed! There is something very luxurious about the bottle, whether it’s the little tassel or the exotic look to the bottle it’s most certainly aesthetically pleasing. Now to the drinking! This gin has a very district flavour with Cubebs from Indonesia, Black Pepper from India & Coriander from Morocco. It’s made by G&J Distillers, England’s oldest producer of high quality gin since 1761, and is priced at £23.00 in Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.

A beautiful gift bottle

A beautiful gift bottle

 

Verdict: Santa certainly wouldn’t say no to this warming tipple on Christmas Eve! 9/10

 

Rum
The Wild Geese has launched a collection of three Caribbean rums, new to the UK this winter:

– The Wild Geese Golden Rum – uses hand picked parcels of aged rum, matured for up to five years. Butterscotch tones and pronounced aromatic spice.

– The Wild Geese Premium Rum – an intense, bright gold blend, aged for up to eight years. Takes you on a journey through the Caribbean, with pronounced hints of a soft, aged Bajan heritage and honeyed aromoatic Guyanese and Jamaican pot still character.

– The Wild Geese Caribbean Spiced Rum – a golden rum with a heart of spice. Full and sweet with a layer of toffee sponge, dark chocolate and cinnamon.
First and foremost this rum makes a beautiful gift. The bottle is emblazoned with a metal and diamanté skull! I quite enjoy that this brand steps away from the tropical paradise theme that we usually see with Rum brands, and instead goes for option two – pirates!

rum

Now for the tasting. I’m not a massive rum connoisseur. But after a trip to Cuba recently I have been introduced to some lovely rums, which would put my cheap bottles of past for house party mojoto’s to shame. This rum certainly falls into the premium category, I mixed with pineapple and was surprised at the mellow yet strong flavour – with no nasty aftertaste. Definitely a thumbs up! You can buy The Wild Geese at specialist drinks suppliers.

Verdict: a ho ho ho and a bottle of rum 8/10

 

Top Tip: 
To make your Christmas booze trolley even cheaper this year sign up to Ocado as a new customer and with an £80 spend you can use a £20 voucher. At present their drinks offers are even cheaper than Asda, Tesco and Sainsburys with a litre of Bombay sapphire at £17, a litre of Baileys £12 and a litre of Smirnoff Ice red at £15.

If it is wine (including mulled and sparkling) or port that tickles your fancy Sainsburys currently have an offer where if you purchase six bottles you save a hefty 25%.

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Dry January

24 Jan

I was a little sceptical about having a ‘dry January’ given that my subconscious is always a contrary force within me – and tends to do the opposite of my actual plans. When I’m on a diet I find myself wondering what donuts dipped in Nutella would taste like, dream of greasy fries covered in melted cheese, and wander towards the snack aisle in every supermarket I walk into. In fact on a diet I crave foods that I wouldn’t even allow myself on a normal day! So understand my concern, to ban alcohol – would I just drink everything in sight?

Well…I failed at dry January, but fortunately did not become a raging alcoholic! I found nights out the trickiest – trust me the number of after work drinkers in my local indicated a big that dry January is still a foreign concept to most! However nights in were easy. Instead of my weekend wine, I treated myself to camomile tea with honey, lots of water and made sure to drink with ice so that it didn’t feel too boring. I was still missing however that little something to spoil myself with when I get back from work on a Friday. I decided to try out the new ‘mocktail’ fad. The best range that I tested was the Funkin range. I tested three very different flavours:

Funkin Funkin Brazilian, a tropical blend of mangoes, passion fruit and oranges with Amazonian Guarana, the ‘super seed’, which contains twice the energy of coffee beans, giving you a delicious natural energy kick.
Verdict: 7/10 I loved the fruity flavour, but this drink did cry out for a shot of vodka! I would certainly indulge by adding my own spirits after January is over.

Funkin Strawberry Daiquiri: Interestingly, a flavour recently voted one of the UK’s favourite cocktails
Verdict: 10/10 this mocktail does not need anything else added, it is truly delicious in itself. Imagine a better, fresher, pulpier and fruiter grown-up version of a Ribena strawberry drink. It is very moreish…

Funkin Mojito, made with Persian limes blended for a sharp, refreshing taste.
Verdict: 8/10 this drink completely captured the essence of a London cocktail bar mojito flavour. I have tried pre-made mojitos in the past that have had a nasty false mint flavour to them and did not taste like the real product at all, and this drink has restored my faith in a mojito in a bottle! This would have been a 10 except I made the mistake of looking at the calorie content on the back of the carton…My advice, top up with plenty of ice and dance those calories off!

These mocktails are available from £2.99 each nationwide at Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Co-op, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Majestic Wine, Harrods, Ocado, Amazon, DrinkShop.com and at www.funkin.co.uk

Yum! Yum!

 

For the cider lovers
Why not try Kopparberg’s Alcohol Free cider range, fruity and refreshing. Summer BBQ’s and winter dinner parties are much more fun with something sparkling to sip, and this provides a much healthier option.

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Verdict: a juicy 8/10

Gift for cider lovers!

10 Dec

With 2013 the year of austerity measures and a nation of ‘super scrimpers’ it comes as no surprise that sales of home brew kits are on the up. Trust us Brits to avoid cutting out our alcohol habit by making it ourselves! For the experienced brewer I would recommend home store Wilkinsons, it sells kits but also individual items for every batch if wine and beer imaginable.

However finding a good cider kit is a bit trickier – and when giving a gift you have to be careful that the follow-up equipment will not cost the earth. There is nothing worse than receiving a gift that you then have to spend more money to be able to use. That is why this year I have tried, tested and can recommend Victor’s Drinks cider kit. It comes in a box, with everything inside. All you need to do is add water, and 20 pints of apple cider are ready to drink, share or even offer round a more sparkling gathering, in ten days. The box is actually quite compact, even better for chilling.

Business Development Manager, Cacelia Broadbent, explained, “We’ve had so many focus groups working on this, and the overwhelming response is that Victor’s is as close to off-the- shelf drinking as it gets. It’s clean, tasty and doesn’t deplete the wallet.” She went on to say, “2013 has seen duty rise on alcohol and supermarkets being held to ransom over minimum pricing. One thing is for sure, alcohol is only going to get more expensive, while people’s budgets are going to be under a lot more strain.”

The kits have no added sugar or preservatives. All that is inside is apple syrup (from real apples!) and a little bit of malt extract. There is even a handy YouTube video to show you how it’s done here

After 12 days (the recommended ten and two for good luck!) the result was a delicious sweet and very easy to drink pint. The only drawback is that the bag inside did expand a little so i had to decant to chill (I have a tiny fridge) At £20 per kit this is only £1 per pint, great for parties but also fun to make. I’m sure that waiting for the brew to be ready improves the flavour somehow! The kits are available in major online retailers and also at Victors Drinks

Verdict: A refreshing 9/10

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Halloween Party Punch

23 Oct

As Halloween creeps ever closer, Shloer are bringing back their popular limited edition Berry Punch soft drink. I’ve tested the drink, it’s delicious and I love their spooky pumpkin serving idea. For adult parties, try spicing up with a dash of gin!

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Verdict: a refreshing 8/10

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