Liquid assets: all the latest drinks launches

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An aperitif for Indian food; the Banks brothers' new canned wine range; lychee-flavoured cider; and a Dangerous mandarin mezcal

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An aperitif created to complement Indian food; the Banks brothers' new canned wine range; a globetrotting gin; a lychee-flavoured cider; and a Dangerous new mezcal are among this month's biggest drinks launches.

New aperitif for Indian food
An aperitif made specifically to complement Indian cuisine has been created for the restaurant sector. Designed by chefs, mixologists and food scientists, Sollasa is said to be the first of its kind in the UK. The grain-based spirit is bottled at 20% abv and is made with orange zest, lime, lychee, mint, basil, coriander seeds, cardamom, and sea salt. The signature serve, the Sollasa and tonic, has a 5% abv and less than 100 calories. Sollasa was created by Vishal and Sajag Patel as a pre-meal tipple but also as lower alcohol alternative to a gin and tonic. “We believe Indian cuisine deserves a delicious drink that authentically complements it. A drink that elevates consumers’ Indian experience,” says Sajag. “That’s our mission for Sollasa.”

Banks brothers enter canned wine category
Tommy and James Banks have launched canned wine business Banks Brothers ‘to offer a more sustainable option’ to wine drinkers. At present only a few wines are available in 250ml cans - a Syrah Mourvédre No 1 and a Chardonnay No 3 – but the brothers intend to release many more in the coming months, including a reisling, grenache, cabernet sauvignon and a pinot noir. “The wine world can seem stuffy, and that’s just not our vibe,” they say. “We’re here to shake things up, making wine-drinking more approachable, less pretentious, and better for the planet, without sacrificing an ounce of quality.” The pair say they will release limited-edition batches from smaller growers around the world in the future.


Greenwich Gin launches globetrotting spirit
Greenwich Spirits Company has kicked off production with the launch of a Greenwich gin. The new gin is described as pairing British marine and coastal botanicals with flavours from around the world. Botanicals include Atlantic dulse, kombu kelp and sea fennel  from the Celtic Sea and around the British Isles while flavours from around the world include lulo from Colombia, sakura from Japan, tonka from the Amazon, pink pepper from Brazil, and balsam fir from Canada, juniper from Italy, coriander from Morocco, angelica from Poland, bitter orange from Spain, and lime from Mexico. Greenwich Gin is said to have a citrusy freshness with a’ well-rounded finish of sweet almonds, peppery spice and a subtle reminder of the ocean’. For every bottle sold, Greenwich Spirits Company makes a donation to The Seahorse Trust to help fund marine education and conservation projects.


Cornish pre- and post dinner drinks brand launches
New Cornish drinks brand High Point Drinks has launched a premium non-alcoholic fermented aperitif and digestif. Made from Cornish spring water, tea leaves and a selection of ingredients from the surrounding Cornish countryside, the drinks have been created with food in mind. The aperitif, High Point Ruby is deep red in colour with a spiciness and lasting bittersweet citrus flavours and is designed to be served with tonic water and a pink grapefruit garnish to make a Ruby Spritz, while High Point Amber has a smokier flavour profile and can be served with sugar syrup, bitters and an orange twist to make an Amber Old Fashioned.


Beavertown's brace of new beers
Beavertown Brewery has launched a cold fermented IPA as part of a brace of new beers from the company. Wizard Blizzard is a 6% abv hop-forward beer that has been fermented cold like a lager to give it a crisp, refreshing taste. The IPA has flavours pineapple, passionfruit and citrus and is described as being ‘a punchier version’ of the brewery’s new lager Bones, a 4.4% abv brew.

Dangerous Don's new mandarin mezcal
UK drinks brand Dangerous Don has added a Destilado Con Mandarina expression to its range of mezcals. The 48% abv mezcal, which has a subtle citrusy notes and a hint of sweetness, is designed to be sipped not shot or mixed with a dash of tonic. It also works well with food, as like wine, mezcal is known for its various depths and flavours, the company says. Only 86 cases of Con Mandarina have been produced and it is available from Masters of Malt.


Yuzu gin makes a splash
A ‘boundary pushing’ gin that has Japanese yuzu at its heart has been created by master distiller Tarquin Leadbetter. Tarquin’s Yuzu and Lime Gin is made in small batches and has notes of wild pomelo, cherry blossom and candied lime on the nose, flavours of yuzu, orange blossom and juniper with a finish of lime sorbet, eastern spice and tangerine. “I really enjoy trying new things and pushing the boundaries of taste and flavour, it’s one of the reasons I fell in love with making gin in the first place,” says Leadbetter. “Yuzu is such a remarkable fruit, this very special gin makes an outstanding gin and tonic or yuzu spritz garnished with fresh mint and cucumber.” The gin has an abv of 42% with a 70cl bottle priced at £36.

Sassy cider goes organic
Normandy-based family cider company Sassy has launched an organic version of its cider. Sassy organic is made from five varieties of organic Normandy cider apples, grown and hand-picked near the Chateau de Sassy. The 4% abv semi-dry cider is lightly sparkling and has notes of its ‘terroir’ - the loam and clay of the soil and the acidity from the nearby forests, according to the producer. It is available in 33cl and 75cl bottles and will also be available on draught.

Highland Park's new cask strength expression
Highland Park has launched the second in the series of its cask strength range. Highland Park Cask Strength Release No.2 is made using the ‘straight from the cask’ method with no water added after maturation to give a more robust and intense flavour with a greater depth of finish, according to the Orkney-based distiller. It has been matured predominantly in sherry seasoned European and American oak casks and a small quantity of ex-bourbon casks resulting in flavours of pear and almond cake, toasted oak, liquorice, cracked black pepper and aromatic peat, it says. The 63.9 abv whisky has a price tag of £60.


Guinness 0.0 makes its return
Guinness has re-released its non-alcoholic version following complications with the initial launch last year. Guinness 0.0 is available in 440ml cans and also for the on-trade from this month and is made using the same Guinness recipe with the alcohol then removed through a cold filtration process that brand owner Diageo says maintains the original flavour of the famous stout. The drink contains 17 calories per 100ml.

X-Muse marks the spot for new vodka
A blended barley vodka inspired by Scottish spirit making has been created. Called X Muse (pronounced ‘tenth muse’) it is described as being the first blended barley vodka inspired by the spirit making traditions of Scotland. It is made using two heritage varieties of barley, Plumage Archer and Maris Otter, which are distilled separately and combined in precise quantities for a smooth and complex flavour.


Butcombe's Goram IPA goes zero
Butcombe Brewing Co has made an entry into the non-alcoholic beer category with its Goram IPA Zero. Mirroring the company’s original Goram IPA recipe, Goram IPA Zero is made using blend of English, US and New Zealand hops which Butcombe says balances stone fruit, citrus and bitter notes. £We’ve developed and tweaked the recipe and brewing process to ensure those wishing not to consume alcohol are able to enjoy a draught or bottled beer which is authentically produced and flavoured,” says Marc McGuigan, group MD for brewing and distribution at brand owner Liberation Group.


Smoked pineapple tequila hits UK
A new smoked pineapple tequila from Mexico-based producer Fabrica de Tequilas Fino is now available in the UK. The tequila will be available from the beginning of this month, adding to the three other classic tequilas in the range: Rooster rojo blanco, reposado and añejo. The 40% abv dark amber coloured tequila is aged for at least 12 months in ex-bourbon barrels and is flavoured with the red Spanish smoked pineapples. It comes in 70cl tall wine-style bottles priced at £33. The launch, from Amber Beverages, follows the group’s recent acquisition of the distillery in Jalisco, Mexico.


Passions lager goes bigger
Signature Brew has re-released its Passions passion fruit New England pale ale in a larger 440ml can as well as its Sicilian Lemon & Citra Sour, C-Sharp, in 330ml cans. Passions is described as being ‘over-hopped, hazy and gloriously fruity’ with a New England pale base of oats and wheat, a tropical aroma and a golden-yellow appearance. It was initially released last August in a 330ml can.


Fuana beer to protect endangered animals
A new animal-friendly craft beer brand has been created with the aim of supporting endangered species in Africa. Called Fauna, each beer in the three-strong range is dedicated to an endangered species through partnering with three small charities to supporting pangolins, painted dogs and cheetahs. Cheetah lager is a 4.5% abv beer made with British malts and classic noble hops for a light flavour with grassy citrus finish; Wild Dog IPA is a 4.2% abv beer made with Amarillo and Rakau hops for a flavours of tropical and stone fruit; while Pango Table Beer is a lighter 2.8% abv option.  

Nyetimber's new Blanc de Blancs
Nyetimber has released a new Blanc de Blancs vintage, created from the 2014 harvest.  Blanc de Blancs is taken from a single vintage and given extended aging time on lees, improving the rich and complex flavour palette, according to Nyetimber. It is made using 100% Chardonnay grapes, the original style of wine first produced at the Nyetimber estate in 1992. The new release is characterised by its light golden colour, with a fine and delicate mousse. Aromas of citrus and honeysuckle lead into  brioche and vanilla characters with baked lemon and white peach on the palate.


Message in a can - new kombuchas from Genie Drinks
Soft drinks brand Genie Drinks has launched a range of canned kombuchas. Made from a blend of fermented tea and natural fruit juices, the lightly sparkling drinks come in three flavours - Sweet Citrus, Dry Apple and Fiery Ginger  - and contain around 20 calories per 100ml. Sweet Citrus is made using lemon and orange peel as well as lemon and pink grapefruit extract, while Dry Apple is a cider-like drink but without the alcohol. Fiery Ginger has a similar taste profile to ginger beer but is slightly tarter on the palate.


Lychee and lime cider is 'industry first'
The first lychee flavoured cider in the UK has been launched under the Peacock cider brand. Peacock Lychee & Lime taps into what distributor KBE Drinks says is the growing popularity of lychee among drinkers. “During lockdown UK consumers have been embracing new flavours and the lychee is growing in popularity, in part thanks to the Lychee Martini, so along with the current growth in popularity of fruit ciders in general, we are confident it will be well received by consumers,” says John Price, head of marketing at KBE Drinks. Peacock was launched back in 2016, specifically to partner the exotic flavours of Asian cuisine. It is distributed in the UK by KBE Drinks, which was founded to distribute Indian beer Kingfisher to the UK and throughout Europe.

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