We’ve recently been sent quite a few unusually flavoured drinks by marketeers hoping their client has hit the next big thing. Here we round up a few of the more interesting flavours we’ve enjoyed, along with a new beer discovered on holiday in Cornwall…
Slingsby Gooseberry Gin, 40%
We’ve never had much luck making nice things out of goosegogs – the ones on our allotment usually get gobbled by the local blackbird population long before we get a chance to pick them. It seems that the folks at Spirit of Harrogate have had slightly more success in guarding their stash and have been making good use, plunging them into their London gin recipe for a fine gin adjunct. Slingsby Gooseberry gin is a tart lip-smacker of a gin – just the ticket for a spot of summertime sipping. The bottle is pretty special too, crafted in an antique style and reminiscent of a smooth, sea-worn piece of glass you might find on a beach. Lovely.
Carthy & Black Yorkshire Lemon Gin Cream Liqueur, 17%
As much as we like a glass of Baileys, it seems wrong drinking it during the summer months. To us it is forever associated with Christmas, a drink to gargle on when you’ve finished all the decent beers and it’s too early to start on the sherry. This lemony take on cream liqueur hails from Yorkshire, a county known more for rhubarb, flat caps and moaning about the cricket than yellow citrus fruits. On closer inspection it’s the cream that comes from Yorkshire – Paynes Dairy, to be precise – so all is forgiven. It’s a surprisingly light sipper that delivers mouthfuls of lemon meringue pie, underpinned with a healthy slug of Slingsby gin (see above). Store it in the fridge and sup when chilled.
The Fowey Brewery, Lostwithiel Amber, 4.4%
Nick recently took a short holiday in Cornwall where, as luck would have it, he discovered Fowey Brewery showcasing their beers at a garden centre. Having sampled the core range in between admiring the impressive bee garden he purchased a three pack containing the brewery’s pilsner, an excellent piney session IPA and his favourite from the selection, an amber ale.
The beer tastes like a modern American brewery’s interpretation of a traditional Enlglish style ale, with clean malts, some caramel sweetness and dry hopping for extra flavour, but the use of English hops brought it all back to Blighty. Those hops dusted the brew with some minty hedgerow flavours and, as a result, it made a refreshing change from most contemporary amber ales.
St Peter’s Without Elderberry & Raspberry Alcohol Free Beer, 0%
St Peter’s brewery contacted us about a possible review of this beer and, just by looking at the beer’s name there’s a lot to like about it. It features arguably the best fruit for beer (raspberry) along with the greatly underappreciated wild fruit of the elder tree. It’s also good to see such a creative sounding combination used in an alcohol free beer. And it’s brewed by St Peter’s, who rarely put a foot wrong.
The beer is one of those 0% brews that has raw malt flavours to give it the desired beery body – a taste that we’re not usually that keen on – but the fruit combo merges nicely with the malty sweetness to make it all turn out a little more natural. Despite the double-berry flavouring it’s no sickly sweet fruit beer and the hops are allowed as much prominence as the brown malt. The overall effect is a flavoursome brew that has neatly tricked the palette into thinking its dealing in alcohol.
Sea Buck Tonic
We haven’t previously dedicated booze round up space to a tonic, but when we saw the press release for this one we were intrigued. Coming from St Ives in Cornwall (but not spotted during Nick’s vacation – see above) it’s a fizzy mixer flavoured with quinine and sea buckthorn berries.
Like elderberries, sea buckthorn’s tiny orange fruits are much underused and in this mixer they lent the liquid some of its colour and a mystical fresh sourness that breezes through the bitter quinine. It’s a refreshing change to the usual tonic flavours and we thought went well mixed with a clean flavoured vodka besides, of course, gin.