Father’s Day: Four gifts for dad which need a glass before they’re useful

Father's day drink gifts 2018

I always like to give you lots of notice for special days of the year. The ones which would cause you no end of trouble should you forget. Father’s Day is almost upon us,  Sunday June 17, so make a mental note of that right now. Sorted? In that case here’s gift ideas for dad.


Father’s Day ideas if dad likes whisky:

Father’s Day drink ideasHere’s one with a twist. The Glenfiddich IPA Experiment (RRP £44.93 at major retailers, including Master of Malt) is a collaboration between malt master  Brian Kinsman and craft brewer Seb Jones.

Three craft beers were created which rested in whisky casks; then the casks were later filled up with whisky to develop combined flavour notes. The whisky has a delightful fruity nose of apples and citrus and to taste the citrus notes freshen a malty, spicy edge.

Find out more about the  experiment here.


Father’s Day ideas if dad likes rum:

Father’s Day drink ideasElements Eight Republica (£30.45, thewhiskyexchange.com) won a  Rum Master – the top award possible – at the  Rum & Cachaça Masters organised by The Spirits Business magazine.

Elements Eight make artisan rums and Republica is a 5-year-old  blend of two single rums from Cuba and Panama aged in Bourbon casks. It has a smoky, peppery nose of orange peel and wood, there’s a citrus and spice bite with vanilla peeking through.

There are sister rums including Elements Eight Exotic Spices


Father’s Day ideas if dad likes wine:

Father’s Day drink ideasTreat him to a bottle of carmenere. if dad has a tendency to lose things, don’t worry, the wine world once lost this grape variety. The carmenere grape was thought to be extinct until DNA checks discovered it was growing happily in Chile (where it was thought to be merlot).

Veramonte Carmenere 2015 (RRP £12, Ocado, 14.5% abv) is full-bodied with plum and bramble fruits, with a dash of white pepper and a lick of vanilla.

A note of five spice creeps in, giving the sense of a sweetly concentrated wine with an alcohol kick just like Port.


Father’s Day ideas if dad likes gin:

Father's Day drink ideasHow about a glass of Peaky Blinder Spiced Dry Gin (from £22.95, Sadler’s Ales, Amazon) If dad is a fan of the TV show, this gin and its Peaky-hatted character on the label, might be right up his street.

It is created from nine botanicals and won a bronze at both the International Spirits Challenge 2018 and  the  San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2018. It has a fresh aromatic nose with punches of spice.

There’s also a Peaky Blinders whisky and a Peaky Blinders Spiced Rum.


First published in over 30 Trinity Mirror regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Gazette 
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express 

Gin reviews: From strawberry to cucumber to shiraz (yes, red wine gin!)

gin and tonic gin reviews

I  dot gin reviews in and around my weekly drinks’ column for Trinity Mirror Regionals – here’s a compendium of the most recent. (Pour yourself a glass or two of gin, then try and say the word compendium out loud.) 


I’ve heard lots about the meteoric rise of gin as the nation’s favourite spirit. I read that gin sales were up a massive 45% at Christmas compared to the same time in 2016 and I’m thinking … where have you all been?

Many (many) moons ago I sipped gin in my brother’s local pub and people thought we were mad because we asked for slices of cucumber. A barman’s quip was “do you want salad too”?  Now look at all the styles you can have. Here’s a handful of gin reviews.

Gin reviews: Ginuary and the best of the resT
The Co-operative Irresistible London Dry Gin - gin reviews
The Co-operative Irresistible London Dry Gin

Irresistible London Dry Gin (RRP £17.49, the Co-op, 40% abv) Tasting teams  of Co-op members were sent three proposed blends. They had to decide which one should be a new gin on the Co-op’s shelves. A spicy blend was selected as the favourite. It is crafted with 16 botanicals including caleb berries, coriander, orange peel, nutmeg and cumin. It’s a lovely mix, with the coriander and citrus shining through with a fleck of ginger and pepper on the palate.


The English Drinks Company Cucumber Gin - gin reviews
The English Drinks Company Cucumber Gin

The English Drinks Company Cucumber Gin (RRP £35, independents and also Majestic where it is £32.99 in a buy six deal) was created by The English Drinks Company in 2016 and in less than three months won an International Wine and Spirit Competition silver medal, and two stars in the  2017 Great Taste Awards. The aroma of freshly-cut cucumber oozes from the glass and to taste it is initially light and fresh and then has a bit of a kick. It is a gentle reminder of summer.  


Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin gin reviews
Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin

Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin (£41.45, thewhiskyexchange.com, masterofmalt.com 37.8% abv ) The Four Pillars Distillery is based in the Yarra Valley in Australia. Every year the distillers steep newly-picked shiraz grapes from nearby vineyards in its Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin. Whole, destemmed grapes are steeped for eight weeks then the fruit is pressed before blending with more Rare Dry Gin. The gin is pale cerise in colour, reminding me of a sloe gin; there’s spicy juniper, vanilla, a fling with earth and herbs and a sweet cherry, spicy kick. Very tasty.


Aber Falls gins range gin reviews
Aber Falls gins range

I love the stunning scenery of Snowdonia so my interest was piqued when I heard that a new distillery, Aber Falls, had opened at a former slate works in Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd.

Its first gins are now on sale; Rhubarb & Ginger Gin and Orange Marmalade Gin (both RRP £24, from Amazon, masterofmalt.com, 42.3% abv). The rhubarb and ginger gin is flecked with cardamom. The rhubarb is subtle but moreish followed on its heels by the sweet spice of ginger. As for the marmalade? Fresh oranges, flowers, and a crunch of juniper shine through. Very nice!

Aber Falls has also created three gin liqueurs, Violet Liqueur,  Salted Toffee Liqueur and Chocolate & Coffee Liqueur (RRP £20, from the same stockists).


Eden Mill strawberry and pepper gin reviews
Eden Mill strawberry and cracked pepper gin

St Andrews-based craft distillery, Eden Mill, has launched a new range of gin liqueurs in very pretty slimline bottles.They have created Lemon and Raisin (20% abv), Strawberry and Cracked Black Pepper (25% abv) and Pear and Cassia (25% abv). They are £16 each from edenmill.com. I tasted the strawberry as a wintery nightcap on its own, in a glass with  a crush of ice;  the gin was elegantly fruity, not over-rich and had a slight dash of spice.

For the perfect serve, the distillery recommends serving the liqueurs over ice in a highball glass topped with soda, a dash of bitters and a fresh garnish. Or how about adding a splash to a glass of fizz (ah, yes, I tried that too and it was an mmmmm from me!!)


These gin reviews were first published in over 30 Trinity Mirror regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Gazette 
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express