Us Brits are fairly well known for our love of a tipple – so isn’t it about time we started making our own?
Whether you prefer hipster gin or oh-so-smooth whisky, we’ve sniffed out ten locally-sourced bottles for you to sample.
Not convinced? Many of these beverages are also sustainable and carbon neutral, making them taste even sweeter.
Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky
Nothing beats a rebranding, like the Cotswolds becoming the new Scottish Highlands, for instance.
Now, that’s an evolution we didn’t see coming, but it means we can now go walking with a hipflask of locally-produced single malt whisky — isn’t that called ‘drambling’?
Produced from Cotswold-grown barley and distilled in their copper pot stills for a flavoursome, malted cereal, heather honey and marmalade sipping experience, with a kick of clove and black pepper on the finish.
Buy it for £30 from Majestic.
Braybrooke Keller Lager
If ‘palate-fatigue’ isn’t a recognised condition, I want it added to the medical dictionary, pronto.
Our tastebuds need some R&R from all the kooky IPAs, high-gravity beer and dark ales around. I’m not suggesting we go teetotal, but the loyal and neglected lager could be the antidote we’re looking for.
Cue Keller Lager, Braybrooke’s flagship style, brewed in a converted country barn using ingredients imported from Franconia in Germany, it’s unpasteurised, unfiltered and unbelievably refreshing.
Buy it for £2.70 from Braybrooke.
Agora Rosso Vermouth
I think I speak for everyone when I say no one expected to see a Vermouth Rosso called ‘Agora’, or ‘meeting place’ in Greek, coming out of Suffolk anytime soon. Well, the time has come, and I’m living for it.
A small-batch, spicy, bitter cherry style of vermouth, aromatised with rose petals, cassia and star anise and clearly no expense spared on ingredients or packaging, this looks and tastes the bomb, without necessarily costing one.
Buy it for £21.95 from Master of Malt.
Devon Rum Co Premium Spiced Rum
You turn your back for five minutes and English rum becomes a thing, and you know what, I like what I’m tasting.
OK, so the blend of rum isn’t officially from Devon, it’s from the Caribbean (Guyana and Jamaica) but the spring water they use is and it’s bottled there.
I can’t get enough of their strapline, “time flies when you’re having rum”, their cinnamon and orange-spiced style or that they’re a carbon negative producer.
Buy it for £36.95 from Devon Rum Company.
East London Liquor Co Gin
Let’s not pretend I know my Dalston from my Bethnal Green, but I do know that I feel cooler with a bottle of East London Gin in my house.
There’s something effortlessly edgy and ‘comfortable in its skin’ about it, from the juniper and cardamom style, the super- keen price to the studiously clashing label design.
Who puts gin in a wine bottle? The cool crowd does, and I want to sit with them at lunch.
Buy it for £21.75 from The Whisky Exchange.
Chase English Potato Vodka
Roast, jacket, dauphinoise, who doesn’t love potatoes? Vodka and crisps are my favourite styles, only because they include the major food groups of fat, carbs and alcohol, which to me equal a balanced diet.
Chase vodka is distilled from spuds that are too small to be made into Tyrell’s crisps. I know, I love a good repurposing. 250 potatoes in each bottle give this luxe spirit its creamy texture and a delicious lick of earthiness.
Buy it for £37 from Ocado.
Kent: Spritzy white wine
The Uncommon Bubbly Bacchus Chardonnay
Not that I’m superficial, but there’s something about the texture of luxury packaging that makes me feel special.
Obviously, the product itself needs to be top-notch and the price has to be bang-on, so I don’t ask for much then.
Bingo, The Uncommon, giving us everything we need for summer al-fresco fandangos, namely elderflower-adjacent sparkling wine in a sustainable can, made from handpicked Bacchus grapes, England’s answer to sauvignon blanc.
Where do I sign?
Buy it for £4.99 from Waitrose
Hampshire: Sparkling wine
Black Chalk Classic
I’m always rooting for a category disruptor, the underdog who becomes the overdog, if that’s even a word.
Black Chalk are relative newbies to the market, but are already one of the wine producers to watch. Here’s the proof, their Classic is a blend of all three champagne grapes, led by chardonnay.
The result? A major trophy win and a rich, hobnob biscuit intensity with flavours of lemon curd woven over a refined raspberry mousse.
Buy it for £35 from Black Chalk.
Surrey: Red wine
Litmus Red Pinot
Good luck finding a decent English Pinot Noir for under £30, oh wait, we’ve just found one. This 100% pinot noir spent nineteen months in oak, sucking up spicy clove notes from the barrel staves.
Yes, we know pinot noir is a red grape, it’s only called ‘red pinot’ as there’s a skin-contactless white version.
Made at Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey, I’m digging the earthy quality lurking under the sweet cherry notes, pun intended.
Buy it for £28.50 from Harvey Nichols.
Sussex: Rosé wine
Hang on, when did East Sussex become Provence? Well, it might as well be, producing super-dry, coral-pink wines with flavours of peaches and cranberries and a dusting of white pepper.
I like Off The Line Wines, who specialise in rosé styles and seem to be doing something a little bit out-there.
It’s not cheap, but then 100% pinot noir wines never are, especially when they’re this refined, lower alcohol and so blooming gluggable.
Buy it for £15.99 from Waitrose.
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