Handcrafted in small batches in a micro distillery, the founders of Pothecary make sure everything that goes into their product is perfect. The five botanicals of juniper, tilia flowers, black mulberries, lemon, and lavender are all either wild-foraged or organic, and each ingredient is distilled separately. As a testament to their dedication, the founders fill, cork and seal each bottle by hand. If the word martini makes you happy, then you’re in for a real treat here.
£38, from Master of Malt.
Balcones Texas Rye 100 Proof
In case you didn’t know, Texas is producing some kick-ass whisky. This addition to the Balcones range is one of my favourites. Rich in aroma you’re hit with a freshly cut leather, tobacco and cracked black pepper on the nose, held together by a Ceylon tea and sweet cedar oak. The palate offers toffee popcorn, sugar coated macadamia nuts and a touch of white pepper. As the nuttiness fades, a dark chocolate and charred caramel find their way onto the palate for a long harmonious finish. Easy now, cowboy.
£44, from The Whiskey Exchange.
Grand Marnier Cuvée Alexandre
Originally created as a tribute to the Founder of Grand Marnier, this stunning orange liqueur and VSOP cognac will be the heavenly addition to some of the best cocktails you’ll ever make (I’m looking at the Sidecar here). The blend of 82% VSOP Cognac and 18% bitter, aromatic bigaradia orange liqueur intertwines candied orange, vanilla and a zesty citrus caramel with rich oak and an incredibly smooth and rich palate. When I get this excited about things, you know they’re going to be good.
£53, from The Whisky Exchange.
Distillery No. 209 Barrel Reserve
A beautiful peachy-brown colour rests in each glass, the colour being a product of this gin being aged in French Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Barrels. There’s a growing number of such gins, but this is one of the best. Sticky caramel, juniper and peach hit you on the nose while the palate offers sweet citrus, a spice-rich black pepper, ginger and cloves. The finale erupts into a sensation of dark chocolate, interlaced with oak and vanilla. All in all this is a sensational gin which deserves to be sipped entirely on its own.
£56 from Distillers Direct.
Ca’ Del Bosco Annamaria Clementi 2010
Welcome to the world of luxury Italian sparkling wines. This is Franciacorta. Lauded by critics as the very best wine available from Lombardy, a blend of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot blanc grapes is expertly hand-selected and processed using a traditional Champagne style method and bottle aged for six years on their lees. The resulting semi-sweet sparkling wine is enticing in its complexity; unlike a straight forward Prosecco this is a sparkling wine to make you think. With an aroma of peaches, citrus, and dried fruit and a palate of Golden Delicious apples and bright citrus notes that is all at once creamy, fruit-forward, and beautifully refined. Grazie mille, Maurizio and Annamaria.
£101, from VINVM.
Warwick Trilogy 2017
A credit to South African wine making from one of the most renowned wineries in the country. In my opinion, this is one of Warwick’s finest. Freshly wrapped cigar and tobacco with milk chocolate cocoa, plums, red berries, a little liquorice. Slight tannins and heaps of oak that balance to create the perfect finish. If you’re into those bigger bolder wines as we creep into autumn, say hello to your new best friend.
£28, from Vivino.
Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir 2018
Straight from Santa Maria in the heart of California, Au Bon Climat have created a sublime reputation for themselves, and with very good reason. The 2018 vintage offers vibrant notes of toffee and cherry, deep dark black and red fruits with that oaky vanilla touch, bursting with a ‘jammy’ boldness. This is no light Pinot, you can expect complexity like a baked pie, it’s almost like a young Zin bursting with flavour. Leave this beauty to sit for 20 minutes before diving into a glass, you’ll be incredibly thankful.
£34, from Harvey Nichols.
Castello Fonterutoli Gran Selezione 2015
The Castello Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015 is a sensual treat. A luscious dark red hue sits in the glass, bursting with lightly baked cherry and plum pie. There’s a delightful 60% dark chocolate caramel that lingers amongst the red berry freshness on the nose. On the palate you experience a lovely dry earthiness with a perfectly balanced acidity that really brings this Chianti to life. The mid-palate offers you a sumptuous velvety tannin, with layers of milk chocolate that erupt into a finale of red and black meadow fruits, as if re-enacting the concluding the final note of a symphony.
£55, from Vivino.