Jo Aspin rounds up the best seasonal drinks. Our final drinks medley of 2022 features our picks of the best unique spirits, lovely liqueurs and top-notch premixes to see you through the festive fortnight and well into the new year.
1. Carthy & Black Yorkshire Gin Cream
This is one of the most unique things I've tasted this year. The makers behind independent liqueur brand Carthy & Black have blended their luxury Yorkshire cream liqueur with Harrogate’s Slingsby Gin to create a very original and moreish drink. It sounds odd but surprisingly the gin and Yorkshire cream combination really works. Who knew? This is thinner in texture than your average cream liqueur due to the incorporated gin. It's also incredibly quaffable. Ours disappeared very quickly. We tried the original but they also come in lemon, rhubarb and espresso flavours. Perfect for winter nightcaps by the fire.
2. Amázzoni Gin
Earlier this year we came across the first craft gin to come out of Brazil and boy it’s a beauty. Created with five natural botanicals: cocoa, Brazil nut, maxixe (similar to cucumber and originally found in West Africa) and Brazilian native plants Victoria regia and cipò cravo, this is a gin with a totally unique base. The Amázzoni distillery, located in the Paraíba Valley, Rio de Janeiro State has been recognised in the past, winning Best World Craft Producer of the Year at the World Gin Awards in London in 2018.
£2 from each bottle sold in the UK between now and the end of January will be donated to NGO Vem do Xingu - which strives to conserve the precious Amazon.
3. Devon Cove's Hazelnut Liqueur - NEW
Devon Cove has launched a hazelnut liqueur in tune with the festive season. Cove Hazelnut Liqueur is created from their potato-based vodka which is made with local Devon spuds and distilled in copper pot stills. Add it to your hot chocolate, mix into cocktails or just enjoy it straight up on the rocks. You'll get notes of dark chocolate, hazelnut and cream, followed by fragrant praline and honey, with a nutty finish.
50cl £33.00, 20cl £18.00 and 5cl £5.95.
4. Jaisalmer Gold - NEW
Jaisalmer Gold Gin is produced in the foothills of the Himalayas in India and is named after the “Golden City" of Jaisalmer. The spirit has been infused with a heady mix of 18 handpicked botanicals including exotic notes of Saffron, Angelica, locally grown Coriander, Nagpur Orange Peel, Darjeeling Green Tea, Liquorice, Lemongrass, Bay Leaves, Gandharaj Rose Petals and more. No expense has been spared in creating this luxury elixir. The gin is passed through an intricate filtering process passing the liquid through intertwined golden silk filament and enriching the gin with gold ions.
5. Tamnavulin White Wine Cask Edition whisky
When it comes to winter, the craving for a wee dram late at night seems to increase in our household. This new whisky offers a classy single malt with a white wine twist. Tamnavulin White Wine Cask Edition has been aged in American oak barrels and Sauvignon Blanc white wine casks. This spirit is brimming with all the seasonal notes of cinnamon, spice and (according to the press release) even baked apple tart depending on how refined your palate is! We reckon Santa would approve if you left a little glass under the tree.
Available at a selection of online retailers and supermarkets including Tesco, RRP £32.
5. The Fire Station Whisky
Here's a rare and tasty gift for the whisky lover in your life. Just in time for Christmas, only 356 bottles have been produced by the Indian restaurant Yaatra, which can be found in the Old Westminster Fire Station. This limited-edition single-cask malt whisky has been concocted to pair perfectly with Indian food. You'll get notes of sweet barley and understated hints of vanilla, pear and spices. The Fire Station Whisky has been distilled by independent and family-owned distillery Tullibardin. You can buy it on Yaatra's website and have it delivered UK-wide.
6. Flat Cap Rum
This little trio of rums from Flat Cap works as a great little stocking filler. The 20cl bottles come in three different flavours Mixed Spice, Vanilla and Cherry, and a Dash of Honey so they offer a versatile range of rum bases to incorporate into cocktails, (visit Flat Cap Rum's website for seasonal cocktail ideas). You can also buy the triple pack from Wakuda, an online marketplace which champions independent black-owned businesses.
Priced at £35.00 for 3 x 20 cl bottles
Available to buy from: www.Wakuda.co.uk
7. Oxford Distillery Dam Sloe Sin - EDITOR'S PICK
Here's a perfectly seasonal spirit from the Oxford Artisan Distillery. Wild damsons and sloes have been picked locally and blended into their award-winning Oxford Rye Dry Gin to make their Dam Sloe Gin. The spirit had been matured for over a year to bring exceptional depth to this winter-worthy gin choice. Serve it with a light tonic or in a cocktail, or try incorporating it into a classic Negroni to give it a seasonal twist.
20cl bottle £25.00
8. (8)Track Spiced Rum
Last but not least in the spirits section, we totally dig the colourful vibes and positive story of this new 8Track Spiced Rum. It's been sustainably sourced, and created from a mix of 8-year-old Guyanan and vintage Barbados rum. Ideal for the holidays, the rum base has been infused with sugar, spice and all things nice which includes Seville oranges, vanilla, cloves, ginger and cinnamon. 8Track is made in the UK, by a new drinks company Upbeat Spirits which are based in Cornwall.
1. Soho Street Cocktails
When it's all getting a bit much during the festive season, you might want to reach for these nifty ready-made classics from Soho Street Cocktails. From Pornstar Martini to Piña Colada, the team have concocted the perfect pre-mix packs so you can spend less time making a total mass in the kitchen and more time looking fabulous as you hand your guests their pretty fabulous tasting, (which we can vouch for), drinks. Each pouch comes ready to pour and in 1.5 litre serves (around 8-10 drinks in each).
£28.99 Master of Malt
2. WhiteBox Cocktails
Another of our faves for 2022, Whitebox cocktails offer a range of banging miniature serves. We love that you can stick these bijou little cans in your bag for festivities on the go, or visit their website and choose your tipple of choice from the range, or several if you select their 'Pick'n' Mix' option, to have all the good stuff delivered to your door. With drinks labelled Mescal Margarita, Disco Baby and Hippie Fizz, suffice to say, a party awaits you!
Ranges between £24- £26 for 6 x cans.
3. Lan Y Môr - NEW - EDITOR'S PICK
This pre-mixed cocktail from Welsh distillery, Silver Circle, is one of the most unusual, (in a good way), things I’ve tasted this year. Made by mixologist Matthew 'Welly' Jones from Lab 22 in Cardiff, he’s combined kelp, samphire, elderflower and dill using Silver Circle’s own Aquavit as its base. It’s sweet, strong and punchy with the dill reigning in the botanicals. Perfect for your winter smorgasbord.
£28 for 50cl
4. The Cocktail Society
A final pre-mix shout-out goes to The Cocktail Society. For more festive cheating, visit their website to select from a number of 'Great Taste' award-winning classic cocktails which come in pouch or bottle. Oak-Aged Sloe Negroni, Salted Caramel Espresso Martini and Tommy’s Margarita have all stopped the coveted Great Taste stamp and the packaging is stylish too.