The phrase ‘bathtub gin’, having entered parlance in the prohibition-era United States, refers to spirits made in amateur conditions. Which is ironic in the case of this fantastically flavoursome drop from small UK makers Ableforth’s, which is packed with fresh, bold juniper tones followed up by fragrant citrus and cardamom notes with a hint of orange peel and cinnamon. Forking out for decent tonic is utterly imperative.
The Duppy Share Rum
Rum is still enjoying a protracted resurgence in popularity – see facts and stats below – and this fine example of the molasses-based spirit also has an intriguing story behind its name, ‘duppies’ being dark, rum-pilfering ghosts in Caribbean folklore. It’s made up of a bold three-year-old from Jamaica and a five-year-old from Barbados, and packs tropical fruit flavours and a warm, buttery finish. Party punches are acceptable but leave the “black doctor” in the fridge until the morning.
£27, from Harvey Nichols, John Lewis, Selfridges and other outlets
Aerolite Lyndsay 10-Year-Old from The Character of Islay Whisky Company
Smoky with a delicately sweet finish, Aerolite Lyndsay – a peated single malt from an undisclosed distillery on Islay – is afforded its unique character by the Aerolite Lyndsay blenders’ resting the liquid it in a carefully curated selection of bourbon, Spanish oak quarter and character casks. The result is a bold drop, perfect for making hot toddies.
The Muscat-heavy grape spirit – produced since the 16th century by South American monks as sacramental wine, and discovered by Steven Soderbergh (pictured below in a Muscat vineyard) while he was filming the two-part biopic Che – the national spirit of Bolivia is a fantastic lead player in a cocktail. Consider using it in place of gin in a Negroni, in place of rye in a Vieux Carre or with fresh lemon juice, syrup, Champagne and a lemon twist.
Darkness 8-year-old Single Malt
Intense sherried whisky at its finest. First matured in ex-bourbon barrels for eight years, Darkness then spends three months in specially-coopered Oloroso sherry octaves. The small casks mean more interaction between the wood and the whisky, creating an even bolder flavour – think candied orange and amaretti biscuits, with a subtle hint of toastiness on the finish.
RUM DEAL: RUM’S ONGOING ASCENDANCE IN POPULARITY
- The rum category is three times the size of gin globally, and is forecast to expand by two per cent from 2020-2024
- Sales of flavoured and spiced rum in the UK increased to 10m bottles in 2019 – a CAGR of 14.13 per cent from 2010-2018
- Drinks markets analyst IWSR forecasts rum will grow sales to 3.5m nine-litre cases by 2021 (IWSR)
- In September 2019, international online retailer The Whisky Exchange announced that it saw sales increase by 165 per cent over three months, marking the first summer in five years that rum saw higher growth than gin
- London-based The Duppy Share is now the UK’s #1 selling premium rum brand, selling over 100,000 bottles last year with plans to launcha new spiced variant in February 2020