We finally got our hands on a sample of Brighton Gin, ‘made in Brighton by gin lovers for free thinkers and good time girls and boys everywhere’. It has a very light, brisk, breezy aroma to start, before being joined by some ripe orange citrus notes (from the oranges in the gin’s botanical mix, no doubt). A bright, fresh nose of herbs and citrus fruit. This is just as sprightly on the palate, with some citrus fruit and herbal lift, and a pleasant, long bitter finish. CC
40% abv. £35/70cl. Brighton Gin, 07794 279 293
The strongest in the 55 Vodka range of potato vodkas clocks in at, perversely, 56% abv. This unflavoured vodka is characterful and substantial, with bright melon fruit, a touch of cacao and even a little bit of savoury, green pepper character on the nose, leading to a full and fruity palate, with no small amount of sweetness. No wilting neutral spirit here!
The 35% abv coconut variant has beautifully clean and distinct coconut notes on the nose, suggesting sweetness, and yet the palate’s relatively dry, like chewing on fresh coconut. The pineapple flavour, also 35% abv, couldn’t be more Starburst if it tried, at least on the nose. The palate, again, is dry and fresh, with dried-pineapple notes, meaning you can add pineapple flavour without dramatically increasing the sweetness in a drink.
No prizes for guessing that the toffee tastes like… toffee. And butterscotch. This one, unlike the others, isn’t dry on the palate. It’s decidedly sweet, in fact. It’s also apparently one of the most popular in the range, but we’d go with the coconut, or the unflavoured 56%. CC
55 Above, 020 3500 0755
Beær’s Low Sugar Blonde
Bear Brewery’s been around less than a year, with a small selection of Czech-made beers, and it’s now just launched this low sugar ale that’s only got 0.3g sugar per 100ml.
Quite light in colour with very light carbonation, this is actually quite savoury on the nose, with almost a grainy character, and some slight herbal notes. This continues on the palate which is extremely light but still with more savoury notes and something a little meaty, plus some hops. A bit of bitterness comes out on the finish, but the latter’s quite short. A neutral, refreshing beer for easy drinking. GL
4% abv. Bear Brewery, email@example.com
Tasters: CC: Clinton Cawood; GL: Gaëlle Laforest