Refresh your drinks cabinet with these versatile spirits and aperitifs
Here’s our pick of the season’s most mouth-watering offerings, each one primed for relaxed get-togethers and long, balmy evenings.
Got friends round but worried that tray of fizz isn’t providing enough wow factor? Elevate your dinner party drinks menu with Amaro Santoni. Brewed in Tuscany from a recipe that dates back to 1961, this aromatic aperitif is a reliable appetite rouser, containing 34 natural herbs and botanicals, including rhubarb and iris, both of which have been star ingredients on Tuscan menus for centuries. Combine with vermouth or prosecco and take your favourite negroni or spritz up a few notches. £26.95. amarosantoni.com
Serving suggestion: Mix one part Amaro Santoni with one part Italian red vermouth and another part gin, for an intriguing twist on a negroni. Garnish with two frozen grapes.
There aren’t many spirits out there designed to pair with the spicy flavours of Asian cuisine, but when brother-in-law duo Vishal and Sajag Patel saw a gap in the market, they got to work. The result? Sollasa. Inspired by their Indian roots, the Patels sought the help of chefs, mixologists and food scientists to find the ingredients that could amplify Pan-Asian dishes while soothing their tongue-tingling heat. Combining the citrusy notes of mandarin, lime and lychee with cardamom and a fresh hit of mint and basil, it’s the ideal balm in case you’ve accidentally gone hog-wild on the hot sauce at a family barbecue. £29. sollasadrinks.com
Serving suggestion: Combine 50ml of Sollasa with 150ml of ginger ale, and serve with ice and a garnish of fresh ginger.
The non-alcoholic drinks sector has gone from zero to hero in recent years. Not only has the selection, which used to be rather paltry, expanded, but now some of the most innovative spirits on supermarket shelves now come with a 0% ABV label. One brand leading the way is Everleaf. Brainchild of bartender and conservation biologist Paul Matthews, this non-alcoholic aperitif comes in three varieties, with summery botanicals starring in each. Take Everleaf Marine, for example: a refreshing blend of 16 botanicals, including juniper, tropical sea buckthorn and bergamot that provides all the oomph but without the alcohol. £19. everleafdrinks.com
Serving suggestion: Mix one part Everleaf Marine with three parts tonic water, some slices of lime and ice.
Whether it’s in a daiquiri, a mojito or served for straight-up sipping, rum is a firm summertime favourite. Takamaka is one of the many artisanal producers offering a unique take on the beloved libation, with the Seychellois rum making waves with its latest release, the St André series, which includes four premium blended rums — try the full-bodied Extra Noir, a molasses-based rum with vanilla undertones, and Pti Lakaz, which is rich and fruity with a hint of star anise and dried cocoa beans. From £35. takamakarum.com
Serving suggestion: Add soda water and a squeeze of fresh lime to 50ml of Takamaka Extra Noir, before stirring with ice.
Brockmans Orange Kiss Gin
Never afraid to upset the G&T purists, Brockmans Gin’s latest release is a great way to add a summery twist to one of Britain’s favourite tipples. Mixing Valencia oranges and triple sec with juniper and coriander seeds, Brockmans Orange Kiss Gin combines dry and saccharine notes with aplomb, creating a complex taste that some flavoured gins can struggle to achieve. £34. brockmansgin.com
Serving suggestion: Blend a measure of Brockmans Orange Kiss with sparkling wine, pink grapefruit soda, a dash of red aperitif and ice.
Read more: How to make perfect cocktails at home