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It’s Pimms time…….. or is it?

By Julia Jenkins, 26th June 2017

At last we have summery weather, and the summer’s sporting fixtures like Henley Regatta is here and Wimbledon starts next week not forgetting cricket etc. The go to drink is often Pimms to accompany picnics and BBQ’s but this year there are a plethora of other refreshing drinks to enjoy.

The current craft gin explosion and its accompanying cocktails are legion and there are many new gins available to provide the base for these. A simple cocktail is the Ginscato: a blend of gin with Moscato based lightly sparkling rose wines that originated in Italy but which have taken off in Australia with the likes of the Wirra Wirra Mrs Wigley and Innocent Bystander low alcohol, slightly sweet wines. They are great on their own as aperitifs when served well chilled but are even better in a blend with gin! Here, in St Albans we are lucky enough to have our own Hertfordshire Distillery near Tring – Puddingstone who produce the delicious Campfire Gins.

Whilst thinking of locally produced spirits there is also Old Vodka made in Ardeley near Stevenage by Merab whose family history is steeped in Vodka production in Georgia. In addition to the premium style the range is continually expanding to include flavours such as honey, strawberry, peach, and even tarragon.

Port and lemon used to be a favoured drink of previous generations that have been overtaken by refreshing white wines, cocktails and craft beers as an aperitif. However, the Portuguese classic of white with tonic served with mint and plenty of ice is set to take off this summer. Most of the major port houses produce their own white port and those such as Graham’s White Port have appealing flavours of grape and delicate almond, sweet citrus characteristics and have a balance of freshness and delicacy. The crisp flavour of the white port in the blend means it is great with almonds and olives too.

Sherry has long taken a back seat in terms of the British palate for refreshing aperitifs and drinks after the hey day of the richer very sweet heavy tasting sherries. That is, until recently with the launch of the latest in summer drinking products Croft Twist from the renowned sherry producers, Gonzalez Byass. Croft Twist is a take on the refreshing Andalusian ‘rebujito’ (which is Fino sherry, lemonade laden with ice and a garnish of mint). This British version is more elaborate as it blends natural, freshly made elderflower, lemon and mint cordials with Croft Fino and water; all gently sparkled. The drink is best served with a garnish of basil or mint and lots of ice. Its alcohol content is 5.5% so it is ideal as an aperitif to be enjoyed on its own whilst enjoying the summer sunshine.

If you’re in search of a lovely refreshing summer drink why not seek out some of these or buy the ingredients and create your own ‘Drink of the Summer’ in 2017.

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