12 Spirits and Mixers to Sip on this Summer
From spirits to mixers, and a few hard seltzers to try, here’s everything you need to sip well this summer
Hepple Spirits Co.
In one of England’s last wild sanctuaries in the remote moors of Northumberland, the story of Hepple Spirits Co. began when food writer Valentine Warner, legendary bartender Nick Strangeway, distiller Chris Garden and caretaker of the land Walter Riddell came together in 2013. Now, Hepple produce a range of spirits, including their unusually invigorating flavoured Sloe and Hawthorn Gin which uses Hepple’s high-fidelity distilling technique and is rested on berries for more than six months, giving a rich, spicy and complex spirit.
Poetic License Distillery
Find this distillery’s base on the coast at Roker with their very own bar (opposite the distillery) where you can sample their small batch gins, vodkas and liqueurs first-hand. Using a hybrid 500-litre still (named Gracie) allows Poetic License to follow traditional methods such as pot distilling (where botanicals are macerated in the pot and boiled to create their gin), whilst also using Gracie’s column to purify the alcohol, meaning they can make pure, smooth vodkas. For a true taste of summer, try their latest release, Wild Tropix Gin, for a tropical fruity flavour with the sweetness of mango and lychee, complemented by the tang of pineapple and passion fruit.
Newcastle Gin Company
Founded by Harry Vaulkhard in 2013, Newcastle Gin is made in Newcastle’s only distillery, just feet from the ancient City Walls on Gallowgate. Every drop is hand-crafted over 72 hours and taken to bottling strength using highly purified Newcastle water. Their award-winning original London Dry gin is infused with subtle notes of juniper, sumac, orange peel, Iranian hibiscus, rose petal and coriander, and forms the basis of their Pink Gin, which is a sweet full-strength gin with subtle notes of raspberries and strawberries.
The team behind Holy Island’s first and only distillery (once known as Holy Island Gin) have rebranded and launched new flavours as well as a new vodka line. 793 Spirits now produce small batch spirits such as their wild flower honey vodka, Mjødka, which has a nod towards the island’s history (with Mjødka being the old Norse word for mead), as well as Creed & Tide gin, which uses 13 botanicals including sweet orange peel, cardamom and liquorice.
Northumberland Spirit Co.
The original Alnwick Gin is renowned for its unique flavour and silky qualities. Where possible, the team behind this hand-crafted, award-winning gin use locally-sourced botanicals alongside their family recipe, for a smooth gin with a sweet and smoky finish. As well as the original Alnwick Gin and their Sloe Gin, Northumberland Spirit Co. create their Blacksmiths SP (which is a delicious blend of Alnwick Sloe Gin and the finest Portuguese Ruby Port), as well as several fruity liqueurs in flavours of lime and ginger, rhubarb and strawberry and raspberry and vanilla.
The Herbal Gin Company
Hand-crafted artisan gin and vodka which is award winning and stands out from the crowd is the name of the game at the Newton Aycliffe-based Herbal Gin Company. From smooth and classic flavours to contemporary choices, there is a gin for all palates here. Choose from herbal gin with a twist of lemon or lime, spicy flavours from the Orient, or classics such as pink grapefruit, forest fruits or Seville orange. Their vodka range is not to be overlooked either – try their Diamond Vodka for a clean, crisp and no-nonsense premium vodka.
Combining their passion for gin and the great outdoors by creating gins made with hand-picked ingredients, it’s no wonder this Durham-based distillery is award-winning. WL Distillery’s 1st Edition gin boasts refreshing flavours of juniper with touches of apple, pear, raspberry and blackberry and was inspired by founder Scott’s summers spent in his grandad’s back garden. For those wanting to try something a little different, give the Wilson’s Gin Club Watermelon and Liquorice gin a try – it’s a sumptuous summer-in-a-glass tipple for gin enthusiasts.
JUST ADD FIZZ
Family owned since 1905, Hexham-based Fentimans has become a stalwart when it comes to mixers and soft drinks. What began with an old recipe for brewed ginger beer has turned into a huge range of soft drinks, including their famed Rose Lemonade, Cherry Cola, Dandelion and Burdock, and of course their range of tonics. For the perfect summer tipple, top up your go-to gin with Fentimans Pink Rhubarb tonic water and garnish with lemon and a sprig of mint.
Sourced in the hills of Northumberland, Marlish spring water takes more than 150 years to slowly filter through the rock strata, acquiring its pure quality and fine taste. The range of premium tonics from Marlish have their renowned spring water as the base, combined with fine natural ingredients from across the globe to give you a light and refreshing beverage. From classic English tonic to ginger ale, elderflower and raspberry tonics (this one goes great with juniper-led or sloe gins), there are a range of flavours to try.
From the creators of North East-based soft drink brand, Clearly Drinks, Upstream offer four adventurous flavoured soft drinks with zero sugar, natural flavour and a maximum of five calories per can. Caring about the environment is key for the team at Upstream, and all their ingredients are sourced within the UK. Choose from crisp pomegranate and zesty lime, exotic grapefruit and fragrant bergamot, scrumptious strawberry and tropical lychee, or daring dragonfruit and bold berry.
These award-winning British hard seltzer drinks come from Richmond-based family business, Yan Tan, and are created using natural botanical ingredients from wonky sustainable produce, with sparkling water and fine apple spirit. The Elderflower Hawthorn has a floral and off-dry base with sweet elderflower and bright hawthorn notes, whilst the Damson Rhubarb has a rounded and fruity flavour with sharp elements of red rhubarb. Both hard seltzers are vegan and gluten free, plus they’re four percent ABV.
From the team at Allendale Brewery in the heart of the Northumbrian Pennines, RIDE hard seltzers were born out of the need for a British, refreshing and natural fruit-flavoured alcoholic sparkling water. Now crafted and canned in small batches, RIDE offer four crisp, clean and incredibly refreshing flavours, including Blood Orange, Black Cherry, Persian Lime and Mango and Passionfruit.