Cinnamon

Friday Favourites – Spring Alcoholic Drinks

As regular readers will know we like to champion indie beauty and food brands which are our passion at The Amazing Blog, So for this week’s Friday Favourites we’re publishing one in a series of three features showcasing indie alcohol brands that we’ve recently discovered (and enjoying!) this spring. And as the weather warms up, what better way to keep friends and loved ones entertained with some our glorious and experimental tipples! The UK alcohol market is a competitive one and hard to navigate when there are so many options. However, hopefully we’ll make it easy for you with these first four spring #amazingfinds. They’re all newly launch alcohols, taste delicious on their own, on the rocks, or as an inventive cocktail with mixers.

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The first new launch alcohol we have will surely raise some eyebrows: It’s a line of tea-infused alcohol from NOVELTEA. Before you write it off, we can assure you that it tastes good and adds an extra kick to our beloved cup of tea. We also note that this would have been perfect for National Tea Day which was on the 21st of April (Easter) last weekend. The company was founded two years ago by German artisan mixologists Vincent Efferoth and Lukas Passia, who had a passion for disrupting the current market and inventing an entirely new category of alcohol. They achieved both by harnessing Britons’ love for both tea and alcohol with three distinct flavours in a ready-to-drink format. The alcohol is made by cold brewing real tea extract for 10 hours to draw out each tea’s distinct taste and natural sweetness.

We tried all of the flavours (The Tale of Earl Grey, The Tale of Tangier, and The Tale of Oolong), which were inspired by the country where each tea originated. NOVELTEA most recently launched The Tale of Oolong in February of this year, and it was our personal favourite. It’s a Scottish whisky that is infused with Chinese oolong tea, red rose petals, papaya, and mango flakes—giving it a sweet after taste. The Tale of Tangier is a Moroccan green mint tea and Caribbean white rum while The Tale of Earl Grey is a black earl grey tea and British gin. Each flavour has a smooth and rich taste that will suit any tea and alcohol preference.

The blend is roughly 1/3 spirit and 2/3 tea (11% ABV), so it is quite delicious to drink on its own. We particularly liked that it can be consumed hot like tea, cold like whisky (or whiskey!) Or with other alcohols such as prosecco and rum. If you’re in the mood to try a new category of alcohol or tea, NOVELTEA is for you. It comes in elegant glass bottles and two sizes (25cl for £9.95 and 70cl for £24.95). The brand is available in over 150 stores across the UK and exports to China, Hong Kong, and Germany and online here



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Next up is Spytail Ginger Rum, which brings a 19th-century French recipe of using ginger and cognac barrels to the modern day. The Caribbean dark rum is bottled a small distillery in France’s Cognac region that is famous for its spirits craftsmanship. Inspired by sea exploration, Spytail gets its name from an early engineering drawing of a submarine housed in the Cognac maritime archive. The rum is owned by Biggar and Leith, a New York-based company that specialises in importing fine spirits from distilleries dedicated to innovative ideas and high-quality products. Thomas Gladstone founded the company in the late 18th century after he moved to the port city of Leith, in Scotland.

To create the rum’s spicy taste, it is aged for 3-6 months in cognac casks for depth and flavour. It is then mixed with ginger and spices to give the rum an extra kick that appears after its initial smoothness. The ginger infusion is not overpowering and adds a nice touch to the delicious rum. You can drink it perfectly well on the rocks, in a cocktail, or with Coca Cola. However, if you want a stronger ginger flavour, you can add fresh ginger or spicy ginger beer. We loved it with the latter on a sunny day, making us feel like we were French explorers on the sea.

The ginger rum also comes in an ornate round bottle with a submarine port-hole and coordinates of French novelists Jules Verne’s grave on the front. It looks just intriguing enough to display on your bar during parties rather than hidden in your cupboard. Spytail Ginger Rum (70cl) is available at multiple online retailers like Amazon and The Whisky Exchange. We have chosen Master of Malt see here for a bottle starting at £24.97 and containing 40% ABV.


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There are no tiger by-products in Shropshire Spirits Company ’s Tiger Gin nor are there even tigers on the logo, but the name is something the company fought hard for in its early beginnings. Founder JJ Lawrence, a self-professed ‘Shropshire Lad’ and gin enthusiast, set out to make and produce his own gin in 2016. Eventually partnering with family-owned distiller Alcohol Limited, Lawrence entered a trademark war with Heineken Asia Pacific PTE’s Tiger Beer. The high courts sided with Lawrence, and the company proved the tiger within itself. We applaud!

Besides its dramatic backstory, Shropshire Spirits has made a top-quality tipple. Tiger has been recognised as being one of the best gins in the world by gaining no fewer than 16 world awards! It has a juniper berry base, which gin lovers will know is the basis of any good gin, but it is the other botanicals and how they fuse that make Tiger Gin stand out. Liquorice root powder adds immediate sweetness followed by warmth from cinnamon and cassia bark. However, you get a citrus aftertaste from dried sweet lemon and orange peels. The entire production process takes around nine hours with the ingredients mixed into a neutral grain spirit overnight then blended with another neutral spirit for a 40% ABV.

The gin’s citrus flavour pairs well with an orange slice or lime if you want to make a classic gin and tonic. It also makes a marvellous base for a martini. While we love a good G&T, Lawrence intended Tiger Gin to be consumable over ice, and he’s done just that because it’s so got a slightly sweet and smooth taste. It’s ideal if you’ve just run out of mixers and don’t want to dash out for more or for your friend who can’t get enough of gin on the rocks. See the list of stockists here to buy Tiger Gin (70cl). Prices start at £37.

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While clean products have been immensely popular in the beauty and skin care industry, it appears the trend has also moved into vodka and spirits with WM Spirits PURE Vodka. This vodka indeed goes back to the basics with no added colours, flavours, sugars, preservatives, or chemicals.

The inception for WM Spirits came during a time of prosperity for the UK in 2016, as Andy Murray won Wimbledon and Queen Elizabeth turned 90 years old. However, as a group of individuals they felt that the vodkas on the market were littered with impurities and unspellable ingredients. They decided to change that and the market by committing to ‘create drinks that taste great, are clean, and a brand that people can trust’. The independently owned brand is also dedicated to sustainability with the goal of being carbon neutral and staying ethically conscious.

PURE Vodka is the company’s flagship product and takes after the brand’s inspiration figure, 1920s American prohibition smuggler William ‘Bill’ McCoy. While he was a bootlegger, he was a fair dealer and didn’t dilute his imported spirits. The phrase ‘the real McCoy’ has made him synonymous with authenticity, reliability, and quality—exactly what guides this product. PURE Vodka is hand-distilled in small batches and uses an innovative technique that purifies the vodka to an equivalent of 100 times while competitors like Grey Goose and Cîroc are only distilled around five times for purification. This process results in a poignant vodka (40% ABV) that goes down easily, without a piercing after taste. It is also organic, vegan, gluten-free, low calorie, and made in the UK with 100 per cent natural ingredients.

The vodka tastes so clean it seems a shame to mix into a cocktail! If drinking shots or vodka straight is not your thing then WM Spirits offers a convenient guide of different drink recipes here, and you can purchase PURE Vodka (70cl) here for £33.

Whether you want to support up-and-coming spirits brands, have a desire to try something new, or need a gift, these versatile brands offer something for everyone. Chin-chin!

Hi Honey

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As we all know, the beloved bee populations in recent years has been decreasing at an alarming rate in the UK. Toxic pesticides, varroa mites and loss of habitat have threatened the fate of bee colonies and the crucial role they play in our food production. That’s why at The Amazing Blog we always try to find ways to buy bee products in order to help #savethebees. Recently, a new UK brand Hi Honey sent us four pots of their delicious honey. All with a bit of a twist with added flavours - we just couldn’t wait to try them.

Launched in August 2018, Hi Honey prides themselves on having the ‘biggest selection of pure honey with freeze-dried fruits and herbs.’ While the company is based in London, all of their pots of honey are produced and packaged in Lithuania.  They are quick to add, that their bees are only treated with ecological medications, the hives are wooden, the location of the apiaries adheres to the IKP (Exceptional Quality Product) requirements and their extraction techniques meet EU standards.  They also point out that: “The bees work for us and we work for them, and that is why we give special attention to those who cannot imagine their lives without unique, natural bee products.”

 Each of their jars contains pure honey that is infused with natural freeze-dried fruits, spices and herbs such as orange, peppermint, cinnamon and even cocoa, to name a few. Yum! We had the opportunity to try four of their exciting flavours of their delicious honey selections including their Mixed NutsBlackcurrant, Peppermint and Cinnamon, Orange & Lemon flavours. Besides being delicious, we loved that we could use all four kinds of honey to bake, marinate and glaze in different ways and recipes. A bonus is that Hi Honey has added into their packaging ideas on how to incorporate their honey into your daily recipes. We had to try them all out. For breakfast, we put the Mixed Nuts flavour into our morning porridge to give us an added sweetness and some of our daily protein. The Honey with Blackcurrant also gave a nice added sweetness to our smoothie for lunchtime. Not much of a breakfast person? Then Hi Honey recommends using their Peppermint infused honey to glaze over a lamb or pork chop. Their last honey we tried, the Cinnamon, Orange & Lemon, was a great addition to a warm slice of  apple pie.  If you want to try a new twist on your honey, visit the Hi Honey website here to purchase one of their 250 g pots for £10.99. Not sure which flavour to get? There are 3 mini sizes at 40g to mix and match that are available of each jar for £10 available here. 

Elements For Life - Hot Chocolate

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Are we all still desperately trying to cling to our New Year’s resolutions to go dry/ give up meat/ drag out the spandex and work each of our muscle groups, and supposedly therefore be a better person? Well, here at The Amazing Blog we may be able to offer you a glimmer of indulgence to ease up some of those more draconian ways to detox, all in the form of a chocolate … We know, chocolate is the root of many a slip up in the new regime schedule. However, there is a tin of gloriously burnished powder which should have a polished halo perched above its silver lid to signify its credentials. We are talking about one of our #amazingfinds Elements For Life – see our recent posts on their other products here.

Yes, we may be talking hot chocolate, but Elements For Life have created one is richly smooth, and sweet. This hot chocolate doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners, GMOs or soya, the sweetness is derived from the sugar from coconut blossom, the evaporated nectar of the coconut tree, adding sustainability and diabetically friendly to the worthiness (because of its very low average glycemic index) As if that wasn’t enough, the Elements For Life team have made it suitable for those who may be lactose intolerant, and vegan by keeping this wonder-drink completely dairy-free and containing no milk solids.

We tried the Original and Spiced versions. The Spiced is warmed up by the addition of the winter spices cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. All we need now is the toasty log cabin with open fire and we have nirvana. However, we aren’t tied to the usual hot chocolate with this blend, as there is also the option of adding some ice and blitzing away to produce a very refreshing tipple. The benefits of raw chocolate, in both health and taste have been known for a while - it stands to reason that a natural product which hasn’t been put through the usual manufacturing processes will inevitably retain more of it’s core nutrients, and therefore with many of us now having to take a serious look at the minutiae of what we eat, a raw chocolate such as this makes clear sense.

And to keep that halo gleaming brightly, the whole team behind the Raw Hot Chocolate brand are keen to show they believe the sustainability of a product in this day and age has to address the issues beyond the contents of our mug. All ingredients used in their range are sourced for their high ecological standards and are agro-chemical/pesticide free from small-scale growers and farming co-operatives to ensure fair trading. The packaging is also made from recycled material or re-used from other sources, including their boxes and printed material. Small wonder then that with such highly prized credentials, Elements For Life have walked away with award upon award for what they offer us in this market place - and most specifically these two tins of delicious warmth! Priced at £6.99 for 175g all available from their online shop here they also offer refills priced at £4.99. And now, back to that log cabin and open fire to keep warm!

Cudié Chocolates

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Want to know one of our simple pleasures in life? Chocolate. We can’t get enough of it at The Amazing Blog! Who cares if you had a healthy breakfast, or which strict New Year diet you’re following, it would be rude not to indulge in a few sweet treats once in a while. We recently discovered Cudié, a company that have produced family made chocolate since 1946. Based in Vilafranca del Penedes, Spain, all recipes are a family secret - with a plethora of products, from pralines, to Marconi almonds, premium chocolates and catanies (a combination of nuts and chocolate, signature to Cudié). We therefore couldn’t wait to try the brand - all in the name of research of course!

Among the range of sweet treats, Cudié offer collections of assorted delicatessen chocolates. We tried their Mediterranean Tiles chocolate box, consisting of 6 delicious and gourmet chocolates - perfect as an evening treat, with a cup of tea (or glass of red wine). These chocolates come encased in a stylish black box, with a vibrant pink sleeve. Each chocolate is delicately decorated, with rose, coffee, salt, orange, cinnamon and hazelnut flavours to choose from. Our favourites were the coffee and cinnamon flavours. The coffee had a surprising depth of flavour, and we were thankful that it didn't have the stereotypically bitter flavour often prevalent in other coffee chocolates. The cinnamon flavour was also an interesting one, adding a bit of spice and warmth, and definitely one we weren’t expecting to like so much.

To buy a box of 6 Cudié chocolates for yourself, then click here. You will find the box available for 3,91€. Additionally, you can also buy boxes of 18 or 36 chocolates, we will certainly be purchasing a larger box next time! Click here to see the full range of Mediterranean Tiles.

Sana Jardin - No. 5 Celestial Patchouli Perfume

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A specific scent can immediately change your whole mood, bringing good memories back or creating new and exciting ones. This is why we at The Amazing Blog love exploring new fragrances. It’s so interesting to see how each person’s skin interacts, and the different perceptions of the very same fragrance. For that reason, we were thrilled when Sana Jardin, the world’s first socially conscious luxury fragrance house. What we love about Sana Jardin is that their mission is not only to provide a long-lasting scent, but also to help empower women all across the globe.

We first fell in love with this natural perfume brand Sana Jardin when recently reviewing their Discovery Set (see our blog post here). This is their range of 7 Eau de Parfums, presented in discreet and elegant bottles which were launched in Harrods in 2017. In collaboration with IFF Master Perfumer Carlos Benaim, these Sana Jardin perfumes were created, unfolding the healing power of natural oils while primarily using some of nature’s most exotic scents, without the use of artificial colourants, parabens, phthalates or formaldehydes.

To keep this never-ending love story going, we asked to try No.5 Celestial Patchouli. Its rich intense smell creates a notion of soft cinnamon bark and leather, with a bit of Australian sandalwood and of course, the slightly sweet but dominant smell of patchouli. It then unfolds to reveal rose and jasmine, as well as Moroccan orris root and the fruity aroma of osmanthus. As these full notes mingle, a deliciousness is revealed, we would go as far as to say making you feel more balanced, relaxed, empowered and harmonised. The packaging is exquisitely designed and we love the magnetic top on the bottle, all of which adds to the luxurious feel. All in all, we think that this fragrance creates an all-round feel good factor. No.5 Celestial Patchouli can be purchased at Harrods, or here at £95 for a 50ml bottle or £180 for an 100 ml bottle.

We must also mention the brand’s founder, Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed, who created this luxury brand as a vehicle for social change, empowering low-income women. Her brand is the force behind The Beyond Sustainability™ Movement, a movement to impact lower-income women, not with the use of charity, but rather through commerce. The opportunity comes from recycling floral waste into products which end up being sold locally and nationally. Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed is proud to call this process a true flower revolution. So why not join the change, and empower women to ‘flower to power’? This movement already supports 3 of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Sana Jardin is not only about having a powerful scent but is also focused on making a change! For further information, visit the Sana Jardin website or have a look at @sanajardin on social media.