Top 10: Gin Alternatives to Try This SummerBy Alicia Grimshaw
The sun is shining and as the nation heads back to pubs, bars and restaurants around the UK – many are looking for something a bit more adventurous than the stock and standard G&T. Expert mixologist Rudi Carraro has created a list of the top 10 best gin alternatives – and suggested serves – to enjoy in the sun.
The Lowdown: Amaro Montenegro is a delicious authentic Italian liqueur that has been a staple in the bars, restaurants and cafes of Italy since it was created in 1885 in Bologna – the belly of Italy! The heady blend of sweet, citrus and bitter flavours features 40 different botanicals from around the world, give it a unique and refreshing taste that is both bittersweet and refreshing.
It’s delicious enjoyed as part of a Monte & Tonic when adding tonic water (1:3) or in a refreshingly tasty Monte Mule, Amaro Montenegro’s take on the Moscow Mule. The perfect Aperitivo!
The Lowdown: Leading port producer Graham’s have created Blend No.5, a new premium White Port that’s low abv, beautifully sweet yet complex and the perfect option for those looking to pimp a G&T to a P&T. Refreshing when served over ice with a slice of lemon and sprig of mint, its beautiful bottle design won’t look out of place in the chicest of drinks cabinets.
The Lowdown: Vecchia Romagna Tre Botti is an elegant liquid made from three different barrels of the French oak Barriques, the large Slavonian oak barrels and the tonneaux which contained Italian red wine. Riserva Tre Botti stands out with its distinctive amber and bright colour, the extraordinary bouquet of aromas and a soft and balanced taste, with notes of vanilla, honey and apricot jam.
The Lowdown: A heavenly combination of booze and coffee – this premium tequila perfectly blends the bold, smooth and sweet taste of the coffee, with the fresh, grassy and smoky flavours of the tequila. Best kept in the freezer and served super-chilled as a digestif.
The Lowdown: This red vermouth is superbly fruity, with heaps of red berry notes floating through it, along with a dose of spice and a classic bitter finish. Carrying so much natural flavour, Belsazar is the perfect base for a low ABV cocktail or light aperitif like a classic (or dirty) martini.
The Lowdown: Recently there has been a resurgence of tequila served as a long drink rather than a ‘shot’. Villa Lobos tequila fits perfectly with an aromatic tonic, as it complements the honeyed agave notes in Reposado.
The Lowdown: Coffee liqueur is always popular and can be a great substitute to add to cocktails. Mr Black’s coffee blend is best served straight from the fridge, or over ice giving of decadent and lush flavours. Try mixing it 50/50 with whisky or tequila – the best way to bring this liqueur to a new level.
The Lowdown: An aromatic French aperitif made from fortified Bordeaux wine, Lillet’s original formula was actually designed around quinine, making it the ideal pairing for tonic water. Mix equal parts Lillet Blanc and tonic for an aromatic, floral summer sipper. Add a few drops of lemon juice to bring it to life, and garnish with a slice of blood orange.
The Lowdown: If you are looking for a strong no-abv alternative, look no further than Stryyk that dodges the cloying sweetness and replaces it with herby, botanical notes including coriander, sage, basil and that classic juniper that give a great mouthfeel and flavour akin to a strong London Dry Gin.
The Lowdown: Called the ‘British Aperitif’ this bittersweet botanical spirit is a cracking palate simulator ahead of a good meal. Made from 45 botanicals (such as grapefruit peel, manuka honey, elderflower, juniper berries, fennel seeds and ginseng) – it’s unique and intriguing spirit, and a great aperitif.