We're bringin on the springtime vibes the best way we know how: by refreshing our spirits collection, of course! Here's our pick of the hottest new bottles hitting the shelves this season, from Italian aperitivos and Martini-ready vermouths to bold whiskies and straight-sippin' brandies.
The crew at Copenhagen-based distillery Empirical - who are moving to NYC this summer, btw - have always raised a big middle finger to the categorisation of their spirits. Ya certainly won't find 'em making a whisky, vodka or gin. So no surprise that their two new bottles, Soka and Symphony 6, once again ditch the labels to put flavour first. Soka is a clear spirit made from sorghum cane sourced from Wisconsin in the US, using both the fermented fresh juice and syrup of the stalks. One sip, and you'll pick up bright notes of melon, cucumber and apple, which lead to richer flavours of hay and toasted honey. Meanwhile, the blush-pink Symphony 6 brings together super-aromatic botanicals including lemon, mandarin and coffee leaves, ambrette seeds, vetiver, fig leaves and blackcurrant buds. We'd like to wear it as a perfume and sip it in a cocktail.
How to drink it: Keep it simple: try Soka in a Soka Cola (see what they did there?) - that's 60cl of the spirit, plus cola and a squeeze of lime, served in a salt-rimmed glass; mix Symphony 6 with a Mediterranean-style tonic. Easy as.
Soka, 43% ABV, £35 (€40); Symphony 6, 40% ABV, £44 (€50); empirical.co
An Irish whiskey world first? Yeah, they went there. Powers Irish Whiskey has created the first-ever release using nothin' but 100% Irish rye, planted specifically for making this juice. Take a sip, and you'll notice the signature earthy, peppery quality of rye, giving way to a sweetness that comes from the whiskey's maturation in American oak casks. Orange peel, maraschino cherry, banana and candied ginger all come through, with a cheeky spicy kick at the end to make sure you're awake.
How to drink it: Mix it in a Manhattan, baby! Stir 60ml Powers Irish Rye, 30ml sweet vermouth and a few dashes of Angostura Bitters over ice. Strain into a coupe and garnish with maraschino cherries (you'd be a fool not to use Luxardo).
43% ABV, £32, coming soon to thewhiskyexchange.com
Basically Eurovision in spirits form. Swedish brand Flävar has added two disco-worthy new bottles to its schnapps range, inspired by Scandinavian drinking culture in the '70s and some lush desserts. Flävar Blueberry and Lemon packs the flavours of a blueberry muffin, while Flävar Lemon Pie is zingy and zesty, underpinned by a hint of vanilla. ABBA jumpsuit not included.
How to drink it: Sip 'em or shoot 'em chilled from a shot glass. Not in the mood to mainline your booze? You can also mix these with lemonade and garnish with a lemon twist for a sweet, refreshing long drink.
25% ABV, £19.99, flavarspirit.com
Noble Rebel is a new three-strong blended malt Scotch whisky collection that's all about bold flavours - and it comes from the team behind Loch Lomond Whisky, so you know it's legit. First up, Orchard Outburst gets its distinct flavour profile from its distillation with Chardonnay wine yeast and its maturation in ex-bourbon casks, for a dram with notes of ripe orchard fruits, citrus zest and a salty tang. Next, Smoke Symphony gets the peat party started. It's finished in Rioja wine casks, and brings flavours of smoke, chilli and tart berry. Rounding out the trio is Hazelnut Harmony, finished in toasted American oak for a whisky that combines nuts, sweet honeycomb, pear and oak.
How to drink it: We'll be sipping these with a fat cube of ice from our sexiest tumbler.
46% ABV, £40 per 70cl bottle, thewhiskyexchange.com
Your aperitivo hour just got an upgrade, bambino! Cordusio is a new Italian aperitif named after the famous piazza of the same name in Milan. Its deep scarlet colour hints at its flavour - while the exact recipe of locally sourced botanicals is a closely guarded secret, Cordusio is big on red berry flavours. And take a look at that stunner of a bottle, inspired by the geometric style of Art Nouveau. Yeah, you're gonna want to place this one front and centre on your bar cart.
How to drink it: Top it up with tonic and garnish with three raspberries, for a simple serve that lets those berry flavours shine.
19.5% ABV, £35, cordusiospirits.com
Cognac collectors, this new limited-edition bottling from Rémy Martin is the one for you. It comes in a swanky box inspired by the mixtapes of the '80s and '90s, so it looks great sitting on your shelf - but you'll wanna pop that bottle ASAP to get involved with the liquid inside. In signature Rémy style, you'll find floral notes and juicy stone fruit, plus hints of vanilla and liquorice. Yum.
How to drink it: We like our Cognac neat, but it also bangs with ginger ale and a lemon wedge garnish.
40% ABV, £45, amazon.co.uk
Egg shortage got you down? Swap your scramble for a drop of eggs-tra AF chocolate cream liqueur from the folks behind Christmas Globe Gin Liqueur. This bad boy is made from cocoa, vanilla and cream, packaged in a glass egg for an OTT Easter tipple.
How to drink it: Straight over ice! Who needs a Creme Egg when you've got this kinda sugar?
15% ABV, £24.95, masterofmalt.com
Whitebox is known for crafting some of the cutest (and most delicious) canned cocktails in the game (looking at you, Pocket Negroni) - and now it's taking on the classic Whisky Highball. This easygoing RTD is made with the brand's own whisky blend of 100% malted barley, and it gets an extra hit of flavour from peach and tea.
How to drink it: Pour it chilled over ice and serve with a lemon wedge for a relaxed AF cocktail that tastes like much-needed sunshine.
8% ABV, £60 per 12-pack, www.whiteboxcocktails.com
Bristol-based The Aperitivo Co makes a lush range of vermouths and liqueurs, and its new rosé vermouth is set to be our go-to for bringing a taste of spring to our cocktails - it's aromatic and soft, with botanicals including orris root, chamomile, roman wormwood and mint, plus rose petals and raspberries. 'Tis the season for drinking pink!
How to drink it: It's gotta be the 50/50 Rosé Martini: 35ml Sofia and 35ml vodka (find our faves here), stirred over ice and served in a coupette with a lemon twist.
17% ABV, £22, theaperitivo.co
Boujee new bottle alert! Whether you've got a thing for calvados (that's France's bangin' apple brandy, FYI) or rum's your spirit of choice, you'll wanna get your mitts on this beaut new spirit from Christian Drouhin. The sixth bottle in the producer's Expérimental range, Caronis Angels is a 17-year-old calvados that was aged for eight months in barrels which previously held Caroni 1996 rum (the Caroni distillery in Trinidad and Tobago shut down in 2002, so these barrels are just a *little* hard to come by). The result? A calvados with notes of roasted apple and dried apricot, along with all the rum's rich, smoky, leathery notes. This one's a banger.
How to drink it: Go neat and savour every drop. If you happen to have a freshly baked apple crumble to hand, get ready for the pairing of a lifetime.
48.8% ABV, £105, thewhiskyexchange.com