A trilogy of Lurgashall liqueurs
These three berry-based liqueurs in varying brilliant shades of red are all especially appealing at this time of year. They're dark, sumptuous, intensely aromatic and offer the warming comfort of a mulled wine or port, with the added appeal of being made with English-grown fruit. All three expressions - sloe, black cherry, and elderberry port - are new additions to the Lurgashall range, thanks to the stellar efforts of owner and producer Sarah Thompson who only took over the operation a year ago and has spent her time fruitfully by befriending producers in her area with gluts of berries to share.
The sloe liqueur is a traditional expression that's built on a gin base, and rather pleasantly, the spirit permeates the robust sloe flavours just enough to let you appreciate some botanicals beneath. Although it has heaps of sweetness upfront, it's nicely balanced by some berry tang and a typically tanic sloe finish. A weighty liqueur, this would be delicious sipped sparingly on a cold walk, although as it's only 17%, it would make a pretty versatile drink for sipping away at anytime...
The black cherry liqueur is slightly darker than the sloe, and its colour is backed up by some serious aromatic depth. Some well-macerated cherries make for complex chocolate notes on the palatte and a lingering perfumed finish. As blaringly obvious as it is to make a black forest gateau reference, this would go brilliantly with a chocolately dessert. And if that age-old fruit and chcolate pairing trend has never appealed, I'm sure it would do wonders on some vanilla ice-cream too.
Elderberry Port is the darkest of the three liqueurs, and is certainly the one that you would hold back to accompany a cheese platter. Inky to the eye, heavy roasted coffee beans and chocolate on the nose and a savoury berry depth on the palate, I imagine that even a swig of this in the summer sun would drag you back to the depths of winter (in a good way).
Sloe:17%; £11.45/37.5cl; £68.70/37.5cl
Black cherry:17%; £9.95/37.5cl; £59.70/37.5cl
Elderberry port:19%; £11.45/37.5cl; £68.70/37.5cl
All available from the winery & online