The leaves are dropping, and so are some fresh new drinks. From a new liquid that bridges the gap between bitter & sweet; a tequila pioneering a totally new category and the launch of clear spirit that isn't vodka, gin or tequila... This is what we've been drinking as Summer gives way to Autumn.
We've found the ultimate cocktail hack AKA the cheat's solution to making epic drinks in your casa. A crew of ex-bartenders have worked out that spending hours squeezing limes is a mugs game, and for most popular cocktails, it all comes down to is getting the right balance, one that can be achieved in the right proportions of acids, natural citrus flavourings and sugar, so they've blended them together, bottled it and made EasyMixt. Legends. When ya shake it in equal parts with your favourite spirit, it's perfect every time. Ok so if you're a cocktail purist, this isn't for you - but if you're up for taking a few tasty shortcuts, you'll wanna keep a bottle in your drinks cabinet always.
How we've been drinking it: How haven't we been drinking it?! It basically works with most spirits to make a classic cocktail, but our fave has been the cheat's Marg: Equal parts tequila + EasyMixt, shaken over ice and garnished with a lime. And not a squeezed lime in sight.
Now that the world has started to open up, we've been seriously making up for lost time and going out-out on the reg. But on the nights we're staying in-in, we're channeling the centries-old European tradition of aperitivo; that means slowing down and coming together with our local crew and popping bottles of these new vibey ready-to-drink spritzes from These Days. They've sacked off artificial flavours and sweeteners, kept it natural with fruit and some of the best organic wine around, and brought the vibes of sun-drenched piazzas with their Venetian Bellini, and the beauty of northern Italian golden hours with the mellow Sundowner Spritz.
How we've been drinking it: Poured straight into an ice-filled wine glass and shared with mates.
THIS is the RTD we've been waiting for. Somewhere between the ice-cream tubs & bag of frozen peas chilling in your freezer there's a home for one (or several) of these new, small but perfectly formed cans of Martini from the crew at Whitebox Drinks. Get a can (a mix of Porters Gin, Dry Vermouth & Lemon Zest) into your freezer 4-24 hours in advance of your personal happy hour & BOOM. There's just a ring-pull crack between you and a perfectly chilled Martini.
How we've been drinking it: Straight from the freezer, into an equally frozen coupe. Minimum work, maximum reward.
From the man that brought you Italicus, this is the American Vino Aperitivo we're gonna be drinking for the foreseeable. In classic Guiseppe Gallo style, this liquid is full of details. From the beautiful design of the bottle (inspired by the four-faced La Moleantoneliana in Turin, and 100% destined to hold a candle stick once the liquid is all gone) to the blend of 22 botanicals distilled with a base of Marsala Fino wine to create a perfect mid-point between red bitters and sweet vermouth - this suave Italian has thought of everything. The first sip is a mouth waterer; the perfect aperitivo on its own as well as a bad-ass base for plenty of Italian cocktails, from Negronis to Garibaldinos and Americanos. This red liquid has earned itself a permanent spot in BarChick's fridge.
How we've been drinking it: We loved the Savoia Negroni served up at The Connaught Bar, but when we're sipping it at home, we've kept it simple with a straight serve over ice. Belissima!
Oh, what we'd do to be sitting amongst the peanut shells of the Raffles hotel bar in Singapore right now... but until we're able to make that Asian reunion a reality, we've been getting a taste of the South East Asian metropolis with this chic limited edition gin from Hayman’s. This London-based family-owned gin joined forces with Singapore Airlines to celebrate the airline’s 50th anniversary of flying between London and Singapore, infusing Hayman’s renowned London Dry Gin with the Asian flavours of Kumquat, Lemongrass, Galangal and Persian Lime. No danger of turbulence with this one - this is one smooth, balanced ride.
How we've been drinking it: In a Singapore Sling (as if there's any better way!)
You thought bottled cocktails were just for lockdown? Nuh uh, honey - home-based world-class boozing is definitely here to stay. When we've been staying home, we've been getting bar-worthy mixology into our cribs with the help of this epic new line of limited edition bottled cocktails, made exclusively in collaboration with the world's very best mixologists. The very first limited edition, LAIBA Special Edition #01, has been created by Maxim Schulte, a legit rockstar of the drinks biz and the man behind our fave new mezcaleria. In this ultimate six-bottle cocktail set you get both of Maxim’s bespoke cocktails: the Oriental Reviver and the Piña Colada Old-Fashioned, both showcasing awesome Asian flavours reflecting his experiences in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Macau.
How we've been drinking it: Exactly how Max intended: over ice into our favourite glassware.
New spirits category, who dis? This new clear, unsweetened spirit is the first in a whole new class of booze, and we're pretty sure it's gonna leave gin, vodka and tequila quaking in their boots. This elegant, low-sugar liquid is distilled from the aromatic resin of the Mastiha tree. This gnarly, twisted evergreen is found across Europe, but it's only those growing on the hillsides of Chios in Greece, (where the terroir is pretty epic) that can be used to create Mastiha, and that's the kinda exclusivity we're into. This resin has been known to be used as a snake-bite anti-venom, but we think it works better after being twice distilled to create an extra dry spirit that kicks ass in a cocktail.
How we've been drinking it: In a Snake Bomb. Think Jager Bomb vibes but with an ice-cold shot of Axia dropped into Partizan Brewing's Lemon & Thyme Saison beer. It's quite literally The Bomb.
Blanco, Reposado, Anejo and... Rosa? Yep, looks like there's a fourth category breaking out in the tequila world and baby, she's pink. Codigo 1530 Rosa Tequila is admittedly the first (and only) tequila in this new category, but what a pioneer it is! Aged in the finest Napa Cabernet French White Oak barrels for a month, this very gently blushed tequila is still technically a Blanco, but those 30 days spent in those uncharred barrels mean the Cabernet has interacted directly with the tequila, giving it a subtle floral finish and rosy hue to match. It's smooth, soft and f*cking tasty.
How we've been drinking it: This tequila is worthy of sipping, but it's also decent in a Margarita, with a pink Himalayan salt rim.
If you wanna give our awesome hospitality biz the thanks they deserve after the sh*t storm of 2020/21, this new beer is a sip in the right direction. This colourful collab between Brewgooder, London Fields Brewery and the mental health awareness project ‘Wrestling Demons’ has been co-created with bartenders, managers and chefs to encourage recognition and better treatment of those working in the industry. Louder for the people in the back, yo! The vibey artwork for the cans has been crafted by artists Nic Mac and Iain Macarthur who were inspired by why many love Hospitality, and what ‘please & thank you’ means to them. Proceeds from the keg and can sales of this 4% ABV Rice Lager go towards Hospitality one-to-one therapy sessions run by Me, Myself in Mind, with a Tipjar QR code on the 440ml cans to add a donation. Please and thank you, guys.
How we've been drinking it: Straight from the can, taken straight outta the fridge.
Opihr Gin is known for packing a punch. Spicy, bold, beautifully packaged. And this new Arabian inspired gin that's joined the family is no exception. The unmistakable taste of OPIHR Spiced Gin is given a boost with a powerful burst of Persian black lemons (which, somewhat confusingly, are actually limes), heightened by the rich citrus flavour of timut peppers. If you're looking for a bottle to take with you into the season of warmer dishes and cosy nights, this beauty is it.
How we've been drinking it: In a Spiced Daiquiri. A killer mix of 40ml OPIHR Black Lemon Gin, 25ml Lime Juice, 20ml Sugar Syrup and a bay leaf or lime wheel to garnish.
Yep. Another gin. *sigh*. Don't get us wrong, we love gin... but with a new brand or expression launching pretty much every week, it's hard to stay constantly excited about this botanical spirit. But Height of Arrows gin... well this gin has been created with whisky in mind, and that is kinda exciting to us. Drawing on the idea that whisky’s myriad of flavours relies on a handful of ingredients, Height Of Arrows totally rejects the idea of numerous botanical additions. Yep, you won't find dozens of exotic or rare botanicals chilling in this bottle. They've stripped this one back to its core and created a legit celebration of Juniper, which has resulted in a mouth-feel evocative of a whisky experience (helped along by the use of beeswax and salt to create layers of texture). Yeah, this is another gin, but we're into it.
How we've been drinking it: This is a gin that works well in a Gibson, so stir down 50ml Height of Arrows Gin with 10ml dry vermouth (Wermod Great British Vermouth works well) and garnish with a silver pickled onion.