At this time of year, the decision is simple: do you cut back on the booze in the wake of the Christmas excesses, or double-down and drink your way through the cold, dark, damp month of January?
Assuming you have no pressing medical reason to put the wine, beer and gin to one side, there is an answer to this conundrum: having a dry-ish January. Lay off during the week to put the spring back into your leaden footsteps, but keep your spirits up with a good quality tipple at the weekend.
With that in mind, this week’s A drink for all seasons comes with recommendations to keep everybody happy.
Scotland’s alcohol-free sprit
The idea of the Home of Whisky® producing alcohol-free spirit seems to fly in the face of a million different stereotypes, but here we are in any case with an earthy, fruity and spicy tipple. Rather startlingly it’s made from seaweed, as well as 13 other ingredients, or ‘botanicals’ as the marketing people now call them.
Those same marketing people made us chuckle with the line that the brand is ‘hugely focused on sustainability’, citing the fact that the bottle and cap are recyclable. Good to hear this breaking news that glass can be re-used…
£23.95 from Master of Malt
The £1,000-a-bottle beer
If you’re throwing health-caution to the wind by drinking through January, then why not through financial caution out of the window too? A Leeds brewery called Northern Monk has just the way to do so: beer that costs £1,000 a bottle.
The beer — an 11%-alchohol imperial stout — is named Ben Nevis, and was brewed on the peak of Britain’s highest mountain by a four-man team. It then spent two months ageing in a whisky barrel from the Ben Nevis Whisky Distillery in Fort William before being put up for sale; all proceeeds will go to the For the North Foundation, funding projects in the north of England. Needless to say, there is a very limited quality for sale…
£1,000 for a 330ml bottle from Northern Monk
See what they did there? This is Seedlip’s take on the Negroni, undoubtedly one of the cocktails of the moment. Seedlip have their fans and detractors… but, sadly, this new drink is likely only earn them more of the latter.
Our tasters found it bitter to the point of unpleasantness — something which could of course be said of most drinks made using real Campari. That said, the dinky little bottle is incredibly cute and the warning that it contains just two servings is needlessly cautious. This much of the stuff will last us a lifetime.
£12 for 20cl from seedlip.com
Glen Moray 25-year-old Port Cask Finish Single Malt
Glen Moray is among the most affordable single malts — you’ll often find it on supermarket shelves for around £20, and even their 12-year-old is only about £10 more. Finding it priced at eight and a half-times that much is a bit of a surprise, then — but this is a rather special bottlling, a 25-year-old, at about a tenth of what you’d pay for a similarly ancient Macallan. This vintage edition of 2,700 bottles was distilled in 1994 and aged in bourbon casks before being finished in vintage port casks from Porto Cruz. It’s a rich and very complex whisky with strong vanilla notes;.
Not sure what tipple tips your fancy tonight? Read our guide.
Our weekly round-up of the best new booze to try has it all.