Drink

Fierce Botanics - Apothecary Tonic No. 1

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How wonderful is it to find new ways to turn classic drinks into something unique? The Amazing Blog found just the tonic to give our favourite drinks, gin & tonic and rum & soda, a new kick. Fierce Botanics being the flavoursome brainchild of A.S Apothecary.

Amanda Saurin is the founder of A.S. Apothecary, a traditional apothecary with over thirty years of experience in the UK and the Levant. She leads a team of ten women and a couple of chaps, who produce a small-batch natural skincare brand that uses ingredients local to the UK. Together, they decided to branch out from the world of botanical skincare, to tonic, with the launch of Fierce Botanics. Their goal is to be transparent, honest, respectful, and environmentally-conscious. They also thrive on collaborations with other green brands, traditional crafters and drinks makers, who share their passion. All of which is highly commendable!

We had the chance to taste Fierce Botanics’ Apothecary Tonic No. 1. This botanical hit immediately had us hooked, with its best quality organic ingredients (like their skincare) used in small batches and ‘done by hand’. Sipping this tonic was a delight! It was a surprise to enjoy such an unusual tonic, with complex flowers and herbs, combined with a subtle citrus tang of bright and bitter notes. Cleverly it allows for a light balance, as none of the ingredients overpower, and it’s easily quaffable with the lightly aerated bubbles. It is a luxurious tonic made from fir and spruce trees, citrus peel, juniper, East Sussex roses, organic cane sugar, and cinchona bark from Ecuador.  What we particularly like is that instead of using a nasty preservative, Fierce Botanics have opted for just a touch of citric acid. It took Fierce Botanics two years of experimenting to perfect this tonic, and we can see why!

Fierce Botanics recommends that their Apothecary Tonic No. 1 be enjoyed as a mixer with spirits such as rum, gin or vodka. Although actually, we have to confess we liked it best by itself, so we could savour the flavours of this sophisticated alcohol-free bevvy. You can purchase the Apothecary Tonic No. 1 250ml here for £3.50 per bottle.

La Scolca Gavi - Bianco Secco

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If like us at The Amazing Blog you enjoy the odd glass of Gavi, this one will be of particular interest. What we like about La Scolca Gavi is that it comes across a little heavier than most, in as much as it has the characteristic flourish and fruitiness of a usual Gavi. It is slightly deeper, with more body than one would expect, with its particularly long finish. Whilst that means it would be fantastic for the predictable pairing with fish or pasta dishes, we also found that it worked extremely well with chicken and soft cheese.

Unsurprisingly for a wine of the Piedmont Region, it performs brilliantly on the nose and has a fabulous breadth, as you work through the bottle (we did thorough research on this one as you would expect!) La Scolca Gavi responds well to oxygenation and humidity, which is extremely pleasing on the taste buds. We would compare it to a Nyetimber Champagne in that it sits within a classification which is steeped in snobbery as well as history, however, it’s capability is very good in those scenarios. Having said that, coming from the very first winery to be established in the heart of Rovereto, this truly is a Gavi Grande Cru, it’s pedigree speaks for itself.

Good wine merchants should be able to source a bottle or two of this delicious wine, and it’s well worth the hunt, especially to enjoy on a summer’s evening as the sun goes down. We suggest trying here, it won’t break the bank, but it will certainly make the party!

 

Hoogly Tea

Perhaps it is the expansive range of delicious concoctions from Hoogly that initially drew us in at The Amazing Blog. Alternatively, perhaps it was their very name which demands attention. Whichever it may be, attention should definitely be made to this fantastic range of delectable and 100% natural ingredient teas.

The name of the brand Hoogly is the correct pronunciation of the Danish term ‘hyggelig’ which is the adjective of the Danish concept of ‘hygge’. Hygge is “an experience; a year-round feeling of warmth, wellbeing and cosiness”, and so they tell us, is the reason why the Danes are such a happy nation. When you think about it, it does all fit, but that is quite a claim when referring to a humble cup of tea. Are we being a touch British about it all? They are blended and packed in the South East of England, and more importantly for us, they are ethically sourced and fairly traded.

There’s only one way to find out, so we chose to try the variety of loose teas. These compromise of Around the Fire Black (Oolong) Tea, Classic Green Tea, Sparkling White Tea and  Chill Out Mint Herbal Infusion Tea. They are all at opposite ends of the warmth spectrum if you will; and both ends, we can report, gave us warm and fuzzy smiles, leaving us very happy. The lesson here is certainly that if you need a major pep-you-up, then try some ‘hygge’ in a cup - it’s enormously satisfying.

You can order your own dose of the Danish lifestyle from the Hoogly website here, with a choice of both loose leaves and bags, at £5.50 each for a 50g pack or £19.50 for a 200g tub. From the extraordinary range of 18 infusions available - we will definitely be whiling away some more hours honing our ‘happy’, and finding our zen!

 

GREK Teas

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For those of us who deserve a bit of luxury every now and then, this incredibly delicious infusion has to be a clear front-runner. If like us at TheAmazingBlog, you are used to the delicate flakes of more usual tea leaves, then prepare for a wonderful surprise when opening GREK’s monochromatic, but very stylish boxes. GREK even won an award at the Best of British Awards 2018 for their bespoke packaging design.

Grek are a young British company, specialising in 100% organically certified Greek teas. They ensure that no chemicals, pesticides or harsh substances are used – only nature’s goodness. The whole leaves and flowers are then shipped from Greece to the UK where they are thoroughly inspected, before being stored in climate controlled units, so they maintain their flavour and freshness, ready for further processing.

Whether it’s their Greek Loose-leaf Mountain Tea Whole Flowers or Peppermint Tea Pyramid Bags; you can rest safe in the knowledge that the leaves and flowers are as ‘fresh as a daisy’. GREK enlightened us that the leaves and flowers are picked at the crack of dawn each day, as the temperature is cooler, and thus better for drying bunches of flora in airy barns. Drinking GREK's tea, you can relax and be transported to the serenity of Greece, whilst savouring the notes of leaves, fruits and earthy tones, with a light floral element.

If you like your tea as pure as it can be, then these two delicious teas will be a hit. Our tip would be to avoid hurrying the process, instead steep the loose tea or pyramid bags for a good six minutes, which ensures you’ll get the desired, rounded and smooth taste. Kick back and enjoy some much-deserved pampering in a cup. The brand is suitable for vegetarians, with no artificial flavours, or preservatives. Being naturally caffeine free, and from a company that follows strict ethical production values, GREK tea equates to a cup of all-around wholesome goodness. Proof that we really can just sit back and relax!

I completely loved the Peppermint Tea (boxes of 20 bags for £8.95) and have to say next to fresh mint leaves, this is the best peppermint tea that I've ever had! I even used the bags twice as the flavours were still as piquant, zesty and vibrant as the very first cup. Although £9.95 for 25g of the Greek Mountain Tea Whole Flowers might sound pricey, it needn't just be saved for special occasions. Even for a 'generously sized mug', it only takes 2 teaspoons of these flowers to produce the magic, we can confirm that they were utterly delicious.

It's no surprise that GREK have collected a number of awards in recent months. Their achievements include a silver award at the Best of British Awards 2018 and a gold award at the Food and Beverage Awards 2018, for bespoke packaging design. More globally, they were also awarded a Merit in the ADC 9th Annual Awards, New York! We are certainly won over by this wonderful brand and can’t wait to try even more teas from their fantastic range. We urge you to ‘buy and try’ GREK teas, see here for the full collection.

 

Equinox Kombucha

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Micro-breweries appear to be popping up everywhere you look these days. At The Amazing Blog, we’re big supporters of the fledgeling companies who produce innovative and exciting new libations, to tickle the taste buds. One of the most interesting examples of this trend is from the Equinox Kombucha team, who began their story from a makeshift brewery in a Yorkshire bedroom, Hebden Bridge to be exact. Their history reads like a classic success story: friends take off around the world, head to East Asia, try a local tea, bring the concept back to Blighty, and embark on a whirlwind business, which grows and grows. It has not always been plain sailing for the team, particularly when the floods of 2015 threatened their future. Commendably, they have picked themselves up, dried themselves out, and returned even stronger; with a range of delicious products which can be found online, on their website, from other online retailers and in many supermarkets.

Green Tea fans will love the diverse flavours available. Our ultimate favourite is the Ginger infusion, closely followed by Raspberry and Elderflower. Both provide a fresh and unique alternative to common sparkling drinks, with a zing that could brighten you up even on the dullest of days. All of the ingredients are natural, and the fermenting process creates plenty of bubbles, to add some sparkle to the palate. There are two further flavours, the original, which compromises of simple, yet delicious flavours; and wild berry, which has a refreshingly fruity taste. Whichever you choose, however, you'll be safe in the knowledge that you are consuming a drink that is delicious, yet packed full of goodness.

Each bottle is priced according to the number of units purchased; however, a 12 pack brings the price to just £1.83 for a 275ml measure. Check out the Equinox Kombucha website to choose your favourite flavour. If that doesn't tickle your fancy, or if you're unsure of which delightful flavour to try, then there is also the popular option of a four elements tasting set. This compromises of 4 bottles, each in a different flavour, and can be purchased here for £7.99.

It's no surprise that Equinox Kombucha are picking up awards left, right and centre; having claimed two Great Taste Awards in both 2016 and 2017. Count us into the Equinox Kombucha revolution!