Niall Keating’s gin
Salcombe Gin has teamed up with two Michelin star chef Niall Keating for its fifth releases under its limited edition Voyager Series. With an abv of 46% and a price-tag of £65 for 500ml, Restless is thought to be the world’s first gin to use kombucha as a liquid botanical an is inspired by the Whatley Manor chef’s passion for Asian cuisine. The gin has been created by fermenting Sencha Sakura tea; using a kombucha mother and blood orange pulp, the blood orange kombucha is distilled with the English wheat spirit to create a distillate in order to capture and preserve the complex citrus and floral aromas. Further kombucha is then used as a liquid botanical and combined with 15 hand-selected botanicals, including Asian pears, Japanese salted plums, Chinese black dates, perilla leaves and Sencha Sakura tea, before being distilled according to the one-shot method. Made by Keating himself, the blood orange kombucha adds a delicate sweetness, with a tang of blood orange and a touch of vanilla, while the Asian spices inspired by Niall’s love of Korean and Japanese cuisine add sweet smoky notes. Restless is carefully balanced with the more traditional use of Macedonian juniper, fresh lime peel and orris root, complemented with kaffir lime leaf, Mexican orange blossom and finally Citra hops; a subtle nod to the Californian IPAs from Keating’s time in San Francisco.
Fluère Smoked Agave
A booze-free version of Mexican spirit mezcal has been created by non-alcoholic spirit brand Fluère. The Smoked Agave mezcal alternative is produced using the same techniques as alcohol-based spirits, according to the company, with the addition of agave juice from Mexico. The drink is said to have the vegetal sweetness of agave with some bitter overtones, and hints of black pepper, eucalyptus and mint and is designed for mixing and cocktails, allowing bartenders to recreate mezcal-based drinks without the alcohol. Fluère’s range also include Original, Amber and Pink.
L.A Brewery Sparkling English Rose
L.A Brewery has produced a non-alcoholic alternative to champagne made from tea. Brewed at its microbrewery in Suffolk, its Sparkling English Rose is brewed with a blend of Assam and White monkey teas and infused with aromatic organic white rose petals from Devon and is said to have a zesty acidity and floral notes with a dry finish that makes it reminiscent of wildflower champagne. The drink comes in stylish 750ml glass bottles that wouldn’t look out of place on the country’s fine dining tables.
Real’s 750mlcork-and-cage bottles
Kombucha expert Real has launched its fermented tea-based sparkling drinks in 750ml cork-and-cage bottles. Real says the drinks have the complexity, depth of flavour and length of a quality sparkling wine – with naturally occurring notes of zesty citrus, tart fruits, and aromatic herbs but none of the alcohol. Royal Flush is made from a first flush Darjeeling tea. Offering notes of rhubarb and gooseberry and rounding off to white fruits and a touch of blackcurrant, the delicate floral acidity and relatively short finish make Royal Flush fresh and bright, comparable to a well-made sparkling wine. Billed as being similar in character to sauvignon blanc-based wines, Real’s Dry Dragonis is made with Dragonwell, a pan-roasted green tea from the area around Longjing Village,China. Fresh leaves are brushed around a piping hot wok to stop the natural oxidation process early, a method which reveals more complex, nutty and straw-like flavours than other green teas. Much like a winemaker would ferment green-skinned grapes, Real ferments the tea resulting in a drink with notes of citrus and fresh apples, grounded in a vegetal, green tea back note and a longer, fuller-bodied finish.
Kobold is the first premium English lager to be brewed by Southwold- based Adnams. Taking its name from the legendary water spirit that protects sailors in the North Sea, it is brewed with local malted barley from Suffolk and Norfolk that give the brew its characteristic bready and honey notes, while UK-grown English hops impart more grassy, lemon flavours. Unusually for a lager it is fermented with Adnams’ house ale yeast to add a greater depth to the finished article. “We wanted Kobold to be a true Adnams lager and using our house yeast was fundamental to making it part of the Adnams family,” says Adnams head brewer Fergus Fitzgerald.
Alexana Winery crosses the pond
Premium Oregon producer Alexana Winery has launched its award winning wines to the UK market. Its vineyards total 55 acres, planted predominantly with the US state’s signature grape pinot noir plus some chardonnay, riesling and pinot gris. Making the most of the diversity of the vineyards’ soil types, 32 different blocks have been established, with 12 different pinot noir clones planted. Alexana produces 17 bottlings, including some rarer wines of less than 100 cases with the annual total production currently clocked at 13,000 cases. 15 years since this Oregon wine story began, Alexana is launching wines from three ranges into the UK market. The Terroir Series is produced from carefully selected iconic single vineyards from like-minded growers in the Willamette Valley; wines showing real promise are highlighted and sectioned off to create Alexana’s Signature range (from the ten best barrels of estate fruit of that harvest); and fruit for the Best Block wines comes from a single, exceptional parcel on the estate.
Three new flavours for Franklin & Sons
Franklin & Sons has added three new flavours to its soft drinks range: Cherry & Plum, Rhubarb Lemonade and Raspberry Lemonade. The brand says the new products are inspired by the growing appreciation for natural ingredients and things that are ‘pink and sparkling’. Like the rest of the range, the drinks use British sugar, spring water from Staffordshire and ingredients which are prepared by hand, then blended and bottled within 24 hours to ‘capture the freshest taste’. “All three flavours also resonate across the spirits category, with cherry, rhubarb and raspberry all being popular botanicals in gin,” says a spokesperson. “The uniquely crafted recipes and extensive versatility of the soft drinks makes them the perfect choice for partnering with spirits, adding to mocktails or as a delicious standalone soft drink.” The release of the new flavours coincides wit updated packaging for the whole range. The new look and feel will emphasise the brands fresh, natural ingredients with hand-illustrated designs, and highlight Franklin & Sons support for British agriculture.
Pure Lite vodka
A half strength vodka designed to tap into the growing market for lower alcohol spirits is now available in the UK. Called Pure Lite, the 20% abv vodka is lighter in taste and lower in calories than its full-strength counterpart but still makes for a mean Martini, according to its founder. “We are responding to consumer demand for a higher quality, better tasting drink without the calories,” says Adam Player. Pure vodka launched in the UK in July 2019 and is available from stockists including Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange and distributed via Speciality, PH Wines, Champers Wholesale and Enotria
Italian gin brand Perfetto has added a new expression to its portfolio of flavoured gins. Perfetto lemon gin joins brand owner Continental Wine and Food’s blood orange and pink grapefruit varieties and has an abv of 41%. It is distilled using a classic ‘steep and boil’ technique that lasts a whole week to ensure full flavours of the juniper berries, angelica roots and coriander seeds are extracted before being infused with lemons from Sorrento.
New Signature Brews
East London based brewery Signature Brew is this month launching two very different beers that mark the end of summer and the onset of autumn. Passions is a 5% abv passion fruit New England pale ale that clings onto summer with lots of tropical fruit flavour and a sweet finish while its In the Dark looks forwards to bonfire night and darker evenings. Slightly stronger at 5.1 abv, the dark smoked lager has been created in collaboration with DRS and musician and sommelier Dynamite MC and is made with beech-smoked malt that impart dark fruit and cinder toffee flavours.
Tobermory, Deanston and Bunnahabhain expressions
Eight limited edition whiskies have been launched across drinks company Distell’s Tobermory, Deanston and Bunnahabhain single malt scotch whisky brands. Tobermory Distillery on the island of Mull, has produced three new expressions: Tobermory 2007 Port Pipe Finish (55.8% abv), matured first in refill hogsheads before being transferred to Port Pipes for its final four years; Ledaig 1998 Marsala Finish (58.6% abv), matured for 21 years with four of those spent in Marsala wine casks; and the Collectors Edition 2007 Pedro Xeminez Finish (55.5% abv). Deanston Distillery has also introduced three distinct new expressions; a 2002 Organic Pedro Ximenez finish cask strength (49.3% abv); a Deanston 1991 Muscat Finish (5% abv), and the Deanston 2002 Pinot Noir (50% abv). Bunnahabhain Distillery has unveiled two stunning new expressions: Bunnahabhain 2008 Manzanilla Matured (55.4% abv), which has been matured in former Manzanilla sherry casks for 11 years; and Bunnahabhain Moine 1997 Pedro Ximenez Finish (50% abv).
Berkshire Botanical Rhubarb & Raspberry gin
Berkshire Botanical has added a Rhubarb & Raspberry variant to its gin collection. Like the company’s other gins, the new 40.3% abv expression is made on the Yattendon Estate in West Berkshire and is said to offer hints of fresh pine and fruity raspberry on the nose, with tart rhubarb and peppery citrus spice on the palate. The new gin comes in a 50cl bottle for £20 and is the second flavoured gin in Berkshire Botanical’s portfolio, joining its Dandelion & Burdock gin.
Nirvana Brewery Tayberry Sour
Alcohol-free beer specialist Nirvana Brewery has paired up with neighbours and soda producers Square Root for a limited-edition fruity brew. Tayberry Sour - tayberries being chosen to bring a new taste to the beer category is a 0.5% abv kettle-brewed using fresh tayberries sourced from Maynard’s Farm in Sussex, where Square Root purchases fruit for several of its seasonal sodas. It is described as having ‘notes of sweet raspberry and blackberry, with a tart and refreshing finish’. “We want to show that alcohol-free options can be just as fun, flavoursome and varied as their alcoholic counterparts,” says Nirvana Brewery co-founder Becky Kean.
Smokehead Rum Rebel
Smokehead Islay single malt whisky has released a rum finished in Caribbean rum casks. Called Smokehead Rum Rebel it is said to have a flavour of fiery peat smoke and burnt marshmallows that is softened with caramelised fruit and notes of caramel, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla on the finish thanks to it being aged in rum casks. It has an abv of 46% and a price tag of £54.99.