A drink for all seasons: Perfect summer tipples for long, hot afternoons

From floral and fruity gins to wines that you can drink without a pang of conscience, we've rounded up some of the best new drinks on the market, perfect for an al fresco drink as the height of summer approaches.

No brown paper bag required

Without doubt one of the best-looking bottles on the off-licence shelves, Bathtub Gun has long been on the Country Life ‘must try’ list. It was worth the wait for what Master of Malt call an ‘extraordinary award-winning gin from Ableforth’s’. It really is cleverly balanced with juniper and citrus, but also more unusual notes such as cardomom and coriander. Plus, there’s that fabulous brown paper bag packaging, which shouldn’t matter but… well, it’s all part of the fun.

Priced at Bathtub Gin — £31 — see more details.

Truly guilt-free wine

If you ever feel bad about cracking open another bottle, Sea Change wines have the answer: environmentally-conscious wine, with plastic-free bottles, corks and labels, plus a donation for each bottle to a charity that battles plastic pollution in the oceans. They’ve been selling a red and a white for a while, but the new Provence Rosé is really rather fantastic. It’s full of flavour and fruit, with notes of grapefruit and pineapple, but without any excessive sweetness — ideal for summer.

Priced at Sea Change Provence Rosé — £15.99 (£13.99 each for 6) — see more details.

It’s 6 o’clock somewhere

British-Indian chef Romy Gill came up with this drink along with the 6 O’clock Gin company — and it’s really quite unlike anything we’ve tried before, in a good way. There are strong mango and lime notes which are powerful but well balanced — it’d play havoc with cocktail recipes, but on the upside it makes a standard G&T into a cocktail in itself. Recommended.

Priced at Romy’s Edition 6 O’clock Gin — £38 — see more details.

Fine wine from… Romania?

Romanian wine sounds like the sort of thing that would set up a joke on Only Fools and Horses, but we’re told that the nation’s tipple is ‘having a moment’ — a moment which includes this Sorcova Pinot Grigio finding its way onto the hallowed booze shelves of Waitrose. We’d back their buyers up: it’s tropical, refreshing and strong with just enough acidity.

Priced at Sorvo Pinot Grigio — £7.79 from Waitrose (currently 25% off) — see more details.

The bit on the Venn diagram where gin meets heavy metal

There’s no getting away from it: the frankly hilarious label on Cait Sith gin looks like an album cover for a 1980s heavy metal band. Throw in the rather funky name — which sounds like a character from one of the Star Wars prequels — and we were intrigued upon uncorking. We needn’t have been: this tipple from Colonsay is utterly superb, with subtle hints of orange and vanilla which really lift it above the norm. As you’d hope: the it’s very pricey at £40 for a 50cl bottle.

Priced at Cait Sith Gin — £40 for 50cl — see more details.


The gin you’ve been waiting for all your life without really knowing it

‘Please can you send me the link? Will buy INSTANTLY’ was the immediate reaction from one of the Country Life staff on being told of the existence of this gin, via a Teams message.

Shockingly, not everybody was quite as excited. Those people are wrong. How could you possibly not love a gin distilled with oranges, fresh orange peel, cocoa powder and real-life Jaffa Cakes?

Jaffa Cake Gin at £27.95 from Master of Malt — click here to buy.

Time for a… rum and tonic?

The idea of putting rum in your tonic (or should that be the other way around?) is a bit of a tough sell to lovers of the classic G&T and the Cuba Libre alike. Yet this is worth a try: it comes across like a G&T with an unusual zing that’s unexpected and different. Union also suggest this a cocktail of 50ml of the rum, 20ml passion fruit puree, 30ml fresh lemon juice and 15ml vanilla syrup, garnished with passionfruit. If any of those were in stock for home delivery, we’d have given it a try. Let us know what it’s like if you manage it.

Union Lemon & Leaf Rum at £34.95 from The Whisky Exchange — click here to buy.