Drinks of the Month

As the festive season approaches, here are a few of our favourite drinks, suitable for celebrating with or plonking on the table with the turkey, tinsel and nut roast.
We'll be adding to this selection, so check back, let us know what you think, and do suggest other drinks you think we should take a look at.

Chase Marmalade Vodka

With an intense Seville orange nose, it's no wonder one of Chase Marmalade Vodka's favourite going-out guises is the Breakfast Martini.

Gallons of homemade Seville orange marmalade go into every batch of vodka prepared using Chase's unique system: first the marmalade is distilled with the vodka to fully lock in the amazing flavours, before second, further steeping takes place to intensify the aromas.

£34-37, Waitrose & selected independents; distillery

Lurgashall English Honey Mead

This is the most popular of the five styles of mead created by the people at Lurgashall, a winery who specialises in traditional English liqueurs, meads and fruit wines made from natural ingredients.

12.5% £7.50/50cl; £45, case 6x50cl; from the winery & online

Innis & Gunn Winter Treacle Porter

Dougal Sharp, CEO of Innis & Gunn, was inspired to dig up the old Scottish tradition of spiking porter with treacle when he came across a reference to the practice and a 100 year old recipe in the Scottish drinks history book, A Scot’s Cellar, by Florence Marion McNeill. And so he did it, and it’s worked incredibly well.

7.4%; available from Sainsbury’s and Booths; £2.50/330ml; also from the online Innis and Gunn shop; £27/12x330ml  

King's Ginger Mulled Punch

It may not get made on these shores, but it was created for one of our monarchs by his "local", Berry Bros & Rudd. The Royal Physician had put in a request for something enlivening for King Edward VII as he dashed about town in his new “horseless carriage”, a Daimler.

Seriously gingery, there’s a zest and  a bite to this liqueur. Out of the many cocktail manifestations, my favourite is brand ambassador Scott Wallace’s own creation. It takes a bit of time, but then don’t all good things?

Furleigh Estate Blanc de Blanc 2009

From the Jurassic coast and former UK Winemaker of the Year comes this white winner.

Apricots and ripe, ripe apples on the nose, perhaps with a light mandarin peel note, this is expressive and elegant. The palate has gentle stone fruits, yeasty notes, and a long finish.


Furleigh Estate Blanc de Blanc 2009, £25, Furleigh Estate website


Laithwaites Theale Vineyard Blanc de Blancs 2007

With its sprightly mix of ripe orchard fruit and zesty, tart peach to finish, alongside a lick of citrus twang, Laithwaites have fashioned a lively sparkler form its weeny vineyard outside its HQ in Theale.

£22.99, Laithwaites shops & online

Nyetimber Demi-Sec NV

Here's something original on the English sparkling wine front - a demi-sec rather than brut fizz from those Sussex pioneers, Nyetimber.

With aromas of candied fruit and rich honey on the nose, this feels like it could be special. And it is.

12%, £35, Harvey Nichols nationwide, Sparkling English Wines 


Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Beer

Well there we were, innocently wandering through Soho, with a bit of time to spare while the boys were perusing the shelves of a local wine shop. There was Hotel Chocolat on the corner of the crossroads. It would have been rude not to venture in… So we did.

Harviestoun Ola Dubh

Dubbed Black Oil by its good friends, this is a joy. Harviestoun's already delicious Old Englne Oil Porter is aged in Highland Park 12 Year Old casks, a sojourn which adds numerous layers of complexity.

8%, from £4-6 slurp.co.uk, harviestoun.com, www.beersofeurope.co.uk, Beerritz.co.uk

Bath Ales Festivity

Smells of Christmas spices lead onto flavours of roast malts, dark chocolate and mellow coffee on the palate of this "specially crafted Porter".

Chuffed to hear that my favourite hop, Bramling Cross, is amid the ingredient mix, along with wheat as well as barley malt.

5%; available in bottle and in draught, and online at Bath Ales

Bristol Beer Factory Raspberry Stout

This is superb. Delightful aromas of raspberry mix with dark chocolate, while the palate has a true raspberry seam atop plain chocolate, and a refreshing tart note on the finish.

7.7%; available as part of Bristol Beer Factory's 12 Stouts of Christmas - genius initiative.


Shepherd Neame Generation Ale

Well what a pleasure – to get a chance to review a beer that’s been brewed to celebrate the history of one of the country’s foremost brewery. Generation from Shepherd Neame marks five generations of the family at the helm, with five hops and five malts.

A sizeable 9%, it was left maturing for a year before release, so you are getting alovely spicy, dried fruit character. Vanilla, raisins, sultanas mix with chocolate and orange, which in turn mingle with hints of coconut and sweet spice.

9%, £17.50, Shepherd Neame shop & online shop