Drink

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!

Kill The Cat Tasting Sessions

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The first of March is here, and (thankfully), so is Friday! We're not crazy drinkers at The Amazing Blog, but we'd be lying if we didn't admit to enjoying a tipple or two at the weekend. We were therefore excited to be introduced to Kill The Cat...a craft beer bottle shop with a difference! Based on the famous Brick Lane, they have over 150 specially curated beers, not only providing standard beers but a vast array of unique and innovative flavours. Whether you're a connoisseur, or more amateur (we're certainly in the latter category), Kill The Cat are committed to providing their customers with a newfound favourite. Even better still, you can choose from three tasting tours - with expert advice to help you along your way to finding something a little different from your 'usual.'

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Having discovered this brand, we were keen to delve further into the way in which they operate. Those with a penchant for beer may recognise that many companies group their beers by brewery or geography, and while this may be no bad thing, we were intrigued by the unique categorisation of Kill The Cat's offerings. Taking inspiration directly from the brand name (and with a little pun inspiration), you'll find that Cat 1 beers cover the familiar, whereas Cat 2 will provide a slightly rarer and unusual range. For the adventurous, Cat 3 is ideal, acclaimed to include beers that will ‘blow your mind.’ Now if you're feeling a little lost, then never fret, the beers are also arranged by their colour (light to dark), and expert advice is on hand, with top picks each month to provide a ittle inspiration.

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If you’re still not sure where to start, then a beer tasting is the answer, with three different options: The Beer Curious, The One Track Mind (IPA's) and The Killers. As the name suggests, The Beer Curious is an introduction to the world of beer, with a guided tasting of six beers, ranging from easy drinkers to more full-on brews. If you're a more seasoned pro or prefer IPA's, then The One Track Mind will float your boat, again with six drinks to try. Finally, for those looking to find innovative beers above the rest, then The Killers tour will be for you! This includes the tasting of nine different beers, picked acutely because of their uniqueness and rarity. Whichever tour you choose, you'll be enticed by the contemporary and fresh interior. Each tour lasts for around an hour, and you'll be treated to complimentary snacks - what's not to love?

Price wise, these tastings are reasonable, ranging from £22.50-£45 per person. These rates depend on the number of people in your tasting group, and the tour you decide on. To see the full price list, then visit the Kill The Cat website here where you can view their availability and browse the online shop. We think this would make an excellent gift for a beer lover, or an equally nice way to whittle away an hour or so with friends. Be sure to let us know how you get on, and we hope you have a wonderful beer-curious weekend!

Far Side Cold Brew Coffee

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Do you ever get the feeling that the very human need to enjoy some of our simple daily pleasures, is being slowly eroded away by reports that we shouldn’t be eating this or applying that because if it isn’t destroying the planet, then it is probably destroying us? Take the glorious indulgence of our routine grabbing of the 'first thing in the morning skinny latté with an extra shot’ - and judging by the desperation on some faces at The Amazing Blog we should perhaps make that ‘the glorious addiction…’ whichever noun applies here, the concept remains the same.

However, what if we were to tell you of a coffee company that could sweep away any feelings of guilt in one delicious and prolonged gulp, meet Far Side Coffee. For with every sip that is savoured, we are supporting an incredible initiative, engaging with members of The International Women’s Coffee Alliance which brings ‘every woman together in the coffee sector from Crop to Cup, by transforming their lives and wellbeing through strong relationships at regional and global levels’. However, maybe some background on Far Side Coffee would be appropriate here, as the company clearly shares their mission with this global movement of the empowerment women across the board. Founded by Kadie Regan just two years ago, Far Side Coffee began from a need to swig a really good brew … does that sound familiar? Some of us, simply pop in to grab a cup from our favourite barista, but Kadie went a whole other route further, brewing her libation from fresh, and distributing it locally throughout the South West of the UK. In order to expand to further markets, Kadie needed to prolong the coffee’s shelf life, but without compromising the cold brew process or adding any ‘nasties’. In 2018, the process was completed, giving a stable shelf life and no changes to the process or indeed flavour.

The results speak for themselves, and at our fingertips, we have a choice of two to enjoy - the Peruvian Cold Brew which offers up some intriguingly bold flavours and the Rwanda Cold Brew, which is an altogether more mellow journey with hints of maple nectar and a burst of lemon. However, the Peruvian probably nudges to the top of our chart for it’s darkly bold taste, with an unexpected top note of orange peel. For those who believe their coffee can only come hot in a cardboard cup, we urge you to give one of these two beauties a try. Despite their very different flavours, with each bottle containing the equivalent of 3 shots of espresso in caffeine content,.they are wonderfully refreshing (obviously drunk cold), which gives us the hit we need at whatever time of the day.

Priced at around the cost of our aforementioned latté, these goodies can be purchased in a pack of 12 for £36, or a pack of 4 for £13 from their online shop here where there is also an option to order a box of 12 containing a handy mix of origins. And in case the Taste Police are watching, they are all vegan, sugar, dairy AND gluten free, meaning a hit of the rich stuff comes without the pangs of guilt.

Totally Derma ® by Boley Nutraceuticals

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We’ve all heard about how important is to incorporate sunscreens, serums and moisturisers to our daily routine as we get older, but Boley Nutraceuticals has totally changed the way we at The Amazing Blog are thinking about anti-ageing skincare. While a good SPF and retinol serum are great to have in your bathroom cabinet, Boley’s ground-breaking product Totally Derma® Nutraceuticals Collagen Drink Supplement focuses on working from the inside out.

Many brands today push for topical-only application of anti-ageing ingredients but Totally Derma® focuses on counteracting both the more aesthetic signs of ageing as well as the underlying physiological processes that are harder to see with the naked eye. Launched in 2017, Totally Derma® has been clinically-proven to increase Hyaluronic Acid (HA) in the body, and it contains Arthred®, a pre-digested and highly-absorbable bovine collagen, which contributes to skin firmness and elasticity. Even better is that the bovine collagen is so pure that it is hypoallergenic, therefore perfect for those who have digestive problems.

In addition, the increased levels of HA and Collagen have also shown improvements in not only skin, joints, hair, nails, bones; but also even in gut inflammation, bladder, urethra and vagina health too. Totally Derma® also contains other antioxidants like zinc, green tea extract and grape-seed extract to help collagen synthesis and ageing tissue. These health-boosting ingredients are taken once a day, from one level scoop daily into 250 ml of water or juice. After digestion, Totally Derma® is 95 % absorbed in the small intestine and then distributed to the skin to stimulate cells to produce more collagen and HA in the body. Even better about this collagen drink is easy to take and palatable, adding a little boost to your day and body. To purchase a tub of Totally Derma and start hydrating your body, see here for your 360 mg 30 day supply at £105.

Kapronca's Cordials

Mid-way into February, and we're pleased to report that our ongoing health kick is still just holding-up! One thing we initially struggled with at The Amazing Blog, was finding alternatives to our favourite processed fizzy drinks. Thankfully, that issue is no longer, thanks to the discovery of Kapronca, a brand providing delicious and refreshing cordials for generations. Based in Northern Croatia, their diligence to top-quality cordials has made our quest for healthier alternatives all the more simple.

Now it would be wrong to assume that these are 'healthy' cordials, as they contain sugar. However, we love that the ingredients are both natural, and locally sourced - so much better than the over-processed and artificial flavourings in many other drinks. We were sent these three flavours to try: Elderflower, Raspberry and Mint - all of which proved to be a hit in the office. Using fresh and hand-picked elderflowers from the local region of Northern Croatia, the Elderflower Cordial is made by infusing top-notch ingredients with water and is subsequently our favourite flavour. That said, the Raspberry Cordial is a close second, made with the equally natural ingredient: cold-pressed raspberry juice. The third cordial, Mint Cordial, is perhaps more of an acquired taste - but was one I personally love. By infusing fresh mint, it has an authentic and natural flavour, and we're pleased to say that it doesn't taste artificial in the slightest.

Drawing back to our original point about healthy beverages, you might be wondering how we consume these cordials. We found them delicious when mixed sparkling water (for a fizzy drink without the artificial flavours), but have also become quite partial to the Raspberry Cordial when consumed with boiling water and cinnamon - the perfect way to warm up given the current cold temperatures! That said, on days when we're feeling a little more adventurous (and indulgent), we have discovered the Mint Cordial to be the perfect addition to a mojito mixture, and all three to work well with prosecco. If that's not enough, then all three are also lovely when drizzled over a good quality vanilla ice cream.

Equally tempted to up your cordial game? Then you can order each cordial (0.75l) directly for £8. This includes the shipping cost, but a minimum of 6 bottles must be purchased (to fill a box). London based readers (or anyone planning to visit) will also be able to find Kapronca available at the Taste Croatia Deli in Borough Market from Spring 2019. Enjoy!