Summer Tipples

Here at High Living we’ve been working hard researching the best summer tipples. Rather than predictably pulling out the Pimm’s, why not try one of these beauties?

We’re kicking off with some chic pink fizz based on Provence Rosé. So much smarter (and prettier) than Prosecco is La Folie, a sparking rosé from Mirabeau who we’ve recommended before. It’s made in the same way as Prosecco, getting its sparkle in a tank, rather than in the bottle like Champagne, and we love its delicate pristine berry fruit flavours. It looks gorgeous and would be a smart bottle to take to a summer party or barbecue or just crack open to drink in the garden. Our bottle came from Waitrose and cost £13.99.

Another distinctive drink caught my eye at a wine trade tasting earlier this year. Ginking is described as an “aromatic fizz” and is based on gin, English sparkling wine and spring water and is extremely easy to drink. It’s made by leading English winemaker John Worontschak, so skilfully put together, what’s more, it’s only 8.5 per cent proof and ideal for daytime drinking. It’s not yet widely available but you can buy it online from Litmus Wines (£12.99 if you buy 6) or Vinoteca in Kings Cross (£12.99) or Fortnum’s (£14.50).

This sort of “wine cup” is perfect for summer drinking and St Germain elderflower liqueur (Waitrose £19 for 50cl) makes a beautifully seasonal base. Think of it like a kir with dry white wine* but then charged (or spritzed) with a splash of soda. This has an affable easy charm, but add some bruised mint leaves to really bring it to life. (We spotted St Germain at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show with their flower-bedecked van – see below.)

However, I’m finishing with a really exciting discovery. The Edinburgh Gin Distillery produces a range of fruit gin liqueurs and we’ve been drawn to the Pomegranate and Rose – mix as above and garnish with a rose petal and (I’m saving the best till last) the Rhubarb and Ginger.

I know it’s early days yet, but this drink may well have made my summer. First spotted in duty free at Heathrow at half term, it was an ideal gift for friends we were visiting abroad. Of course, we had to try it with them and we were all rather lost for words. It has an exquisite delicate pink colour and the fragrant rhubarb is balanced by a warming kick of ginger and hint of citrus zest. Since coming home we’ve restocked (thanks to Amazon, although John Lewis and Morrisons stock it at £15). It’s dangerously good on its own, and with white wine and soda (or sparkling wine), fabulous. It even managed to silence a particularly chatty friend we had staying last weekend who joined us in our research.

Well, with gin and wine in the glass, the holidays can only be around the corner. Here’s to summer.

*We used the ever-reliable Torres Viña Sol (widely available at about £7 and currently £6.49 from Iceland), but any other crisp, dry unoaked white would do.

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