While this has been an outstanding year for spirits, there are a few bottles that have had us going back for more. So if you haven’t bought your home bar a present yet, think about putting one of these under the tree.
This is our list of the best of 2018 …
Belvedere Single Estate
The Belvedere Single Estate Rye Series represents an extraordinary exploration into the idea of terroir (soil, topography, and climate) in vodka and how it affects the taste.
Lake Bartężek is crafted from Dankowskie Diamond Rye grown at a single farm in northern Poland’s Mazury lake district, a region renowned for its crystal-clear glacial lakes and long, snowy winters.
In fact, the rye in this region spends over 80 winter days buried in snow, conditions that add to its character and greatly impact the liquid’s flavour profile.
The name Bartężek comes from Lake Bartężek, which runs along the estate’s eastern edge. It is this lakeside terroir that is reflected in this distinctive vodka. With notes of black pepper, toasted nuts and cream, the liquid finishes with a delicate, fresh flavour.
Available from mastersofmalt.com for $64.19
Martell Blue Swift
An innovative eau-de-vie from Martell, which is made by finishing their acclaimed VSOP Cognac in Kentucky bourbon barrels.
This finishing process adds rich aromatic tones to Martell’s delicate, pure Cognac, layering the characteristic candied fruit and plum notes with the subtle sweetness of vanilla and toasted oak.
This eau-de-vie (which cannot be called Cognac as the latter must only be aged in French oak) celebrates the brand’s historic ties with the US, with Martell being the first Cognac house to ship its barrels to America from 1783.
The design of the bottle “unites the old world and new” with the cylinder of its bottle reminiscent of the shape of Bourbon casks, and the ‘cut-glass’ detail on its base evoking crystal decanters.
Available from thewhiskeyexchange.com for £43.95
Seedlip Grove 42
While Seedlip products are not traditional spirits (they are in fact termed as non-alcoholic distilled spirits) their range has changed the game for those wanting a non-alcoholic option.
Their latest release, the third flavour in the range (following Spice 94 and Garden 108), is Grove 42, which has very much a citrus focus.
This latest expression creates a sophisticated, warm, citrus blend using three varieties of Mediterranean orange, lemon peel, ginger and lemongrass, distilled with the cool prickle of Japanese Sansho peppercorn.
Grove 42 has an initial bold hit of Orange, which is followed by Ginger on the mid-palate and a lingering Lemongrass flavour fading gently at the end.
Available from danmurphys.com.au for AUD$49.90
Casamigos – famously, ‘George Clooney’s Tequila brand’ – returns with their latest expression in the form of Mezcal.
If you haven’t tried Mezcal before, then Casamigos is a great place to start.
Uniquely smooth and easy to drink, this Mezcal has a balanced elegance that offering notes of tamarind, pomegranate, banana and mango.
Earthy, fruity and full of rich, thick smoke flavour, the spirit will appeal to fans of peated Whisky, Tequila-lovers or anyone who wants to give a vibrant, smoky twist in their cocktails.
branch out or even those looking for a spirit with a big, bold flavour.
Available from danmurphys.com.au for AUD$89.90
Fancy Fruit Cup
Created to celebrate the Australian summer, the new Fancy Fruit Cup combines Never Never Distillery’s award-winning Triple Juniper Gin with Marionette’s barrel-aged Orange Curaçao, as well as Australian and international spices, and Earl Grey tea.
Highlighting uniquely Australian fruits and botanicals, the Fancy Fruit Cup offers a more modern, complex and luxurious beverage.
Usually served long, Fruit Cup Cocktails are traditionally topped with lemonade and ginger ale, and garnished with a bouquet of fresh fruit such as cucumber, strawberry, orange, lemon and mint.
But there are a variety of drinks that you can make with this libation, including a Ropyle with Champagne and a Spritz wit Prosecco and Soda Water.
Available from neverneverdistilliing.com.au for AUD$52
The Chita is the first new premium whisky brand that Suntory has launched in over a decade and one which is usually only available in Japan’s ‘Nagoya’ Prefecture as well as Suntory’s Whisky Shops in Osaka and Tokyo.
Produced at Chita (aka “Sun Grain”) Distillery, founded in 1972 and located in Aichi Prefecture, the whisky has been a regular source for blending with the award-winning Hibiki whiskies as well as other Suntory brands.
Being corn based, like bourbon, the whisky is on the sweeter side. Reports have it that this is aged for around 12 years and is matured in a combination of Sherry, bourbon and (interestingly) wine casks.
Available from danmurphy.com.au for AUD$90.99
Vodka Soda &
There is no better way to celebrate these humid summer days than with the clean refreshing taste of a Vodka Soda.
Made with high quality locally sourced Vodka and packaged in unique cans, where the whole top of the can comes off, VodkaSoda& is perfect to take on weekends away or even to a friends BBQ.
Simple open and add fresh Lime, Berries, Blood Orange or any taste that takes you fancy.
So stop spending your time carting around a bottle of vodka and bags full of soda water, only to end up with a flat drink, make VodkaSoda& your summer go-to cocktail.
Available from danmurphy.com.au for AUD$19.99 (for pack of 4)