Grown-up soft drinks, barbecue wine and a new offering from one of the most famous names in Champagne – just some of the drinks helping us keep our cool this summer
Additional words: Mark de Wesselow
The Glenlivet Captain’s Reserve
Gin may still be setting the agenda in the spirit world but there’s innovation going on in other areas, too – including Britain’s other great contribution to global drinking, Scotch whisky. Glenlivet has just released a new single malt called the Captain’s Reserve that has been finished on Cognac casks. The idea is that the Cognac lends a touch of luxurious intensity to the creamy smoothness of the Glenlivet house style, and we loved the overall impression of rich fruit. One to keep for late summer evenings outside on the terrace, as the nights become longer and the air crisper.
Jamaica Cove Black Ginger Rum
With a name that sounds straight out of a Daphne du Maurier novel, Jamaica Cove is redolent of smugglers landing on moonlit beaches with a bounty of plundered cargo from a shipwreck off a rocky coast. Jamaican rum was one of the most prized cargoes of all, but this is no exercise in nostalgia: the addition of ginger to the blend of rum imparts a bold flavour that would work brilliantly as a summer thirst quencher with ginger beer, lime wedges and lots of ice.
Louis Roederer Cristal 2008
After a decade of ageing, Louis Roederer is the latest Champagne house to reveal its ’08 vintage with the launch of its prestige cuvée, Cristal 2008. The year’s cool summer, in a cool climate wine region, is apparent in a wine of startling purity. Intense minerality forms the backbone of an exceptional structure, with the fresh precision of crisp apple rounded out by a saline finish. Sit on it if you can: this is a wine that will reveal itself even more fully in two years’ time. 2018 is an exciting time for Cristal fans, with a very limited re-release of Cristal 2002 planned for later in the year.
Real Kombucha Smoke House
Restaurants are finally cottoning on to the fact that customers abstaining from alcohol might want more of a choice than Coke and sparkling water – Hakkasan’s new booze-free Orchard List is every bit as interesting as its wine list – and the fermented-tea drink kombucha is emerging as a key contender. Unlike many soft drinks, it has the tart dryness and complex flavour to make it feel grown-up, while the palate-cleansing carbonation is great for food pairing. The Real Kombucha is available in three flavours and stocked by over 30 Michelin-starred restaurants – we’d recommend Smoke House with a slow-cooked summer barbecue.
£2.50, Borough Wines
Rocca di Montemassi Maremma Toscana 2015
With bright fruit and violets on the nose, explosive cherries, blackberries and spice on the palate and a hint of moreish chocolate, this is a grown-up wine made in equal parts from Syrah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a lovely harmonious balance – an iron fist in a velvet glove – and would be equally happy in the company of barbecue food or shoulder of lamb. There are no retail listings as of yet, but look out for it on the lists at Roka, Oblix, Ruya and Dinings SW3.