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Tasting notes

Shake up your cocktail repertoire

- Amy Bryant

EVERY SUMMER BRINGS with it a cocktail-trolley’s worth of new drinks. This year, the hottest bottles include fruity-flavoured gins, from Edinburgh Gin’s refreshing, full-strength (40 per cent abv) rhubarb and ginger version (£28 for 70cl, edinburghg­in.com) to Hepple’s sloe and hawthorn, big and bold with almond notes (32 per cent; £28.95 for 50cl, thewhiskye­xchange. com). Superior mixers, too, vie for our attention, such as The Artisan Drinks Co’s new Violet Blossom Tonic, pale purple in colour and slightly floral, good just with ice (£1.50 for 200ml, harveynich­ols.com). But I’m often stumped when it comes to serves beyond a G&T. Cue a new book from wine connoisseu­r Olly Smith, which lays out 80 recipes for cocktails and mocktails. Many ideas in Fizz (Ebury, £12.99) are superbly simple (25ml manzanilla sherry, 10ml lemon juice and 15ml peach schnapps shaken with ice, strained and topped up with cava is a speedy drink that ‘shows off the splendour of Spain’, writes Smith), others call for a syrup or fruit reduction that he shares in the first chapter. It’s a collection that will provide inspiratio­n for Friday-night sipping (Rebujito, anyone?) and weekend gatherings. A batch of Rosie Apples strikes me as perfect for a barbecue. Let summer begin!

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