There's no getting away from it: spending weeks on end sitting at home will mean you'll probably drink more. Here's how to make sure the well doesn't run dry during self-isolation.
We’ll admit that we were more than a little surprised when the government added off-licences to the list of ‘essential’ shops which are permitted to say open during lockdown.
A week of home-schooling two young children soon put paid to that. Right now we’d probably rather go without bread than wine. Or gin, or beer. Something. Anything.
That said, heading out to an off-licence doesn’t sit well — but many off-licences, wine merchants and even breweries are using contact-free delivery.
If you’re pushing the boat out, then Berry Bros & Rudd — wine merchants to royalty — are still delivering, and for free at that, though you do have to spend at least £200. Given that we’re likely to be in lockdown for many more weeks, that doesn’t sound particularly hard — and it’s not as if the wine will do anything but improve if you don’t get through it all before normal life returns.
Winebuyers.com is another place to look, an online wine club which connects producers direct to the drinkers and promises ‘zero mark up and a commission-free price tag’. Their experts suggested a couple of wines to help see you through: a Vigano Sangiovese and an intriguing-looking rosé made with Ortega and Pinot Noir, made by Westwell in Kent.
While that website has bottles from around £5, www.finewinedirect.co.uk specialises in higher-end stuff — though they have some around the £12 mark which come recommended by the company’s director, Sam Earl. ‘Try the Chateau La Plaige 2016 Bordeaux,’ he suggests, adding that it’s a ‘very good everyday drinking claret from a great vintage’.
You wouldn’t order wine or beer from Amazon (well, we wouldn’t) but it’s got a surprisingly good selection of spirits — they sell the usual suspects such as Slingsby as well as harder-to-find bottles such as Fifty Pounds London Dry, which won Country Life’s ‘best gin’ title in 2016 — and which, thankfully, costs far less than £50.
For spirits specialists, The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt are still running deliveries, with the latter donating £1 to help those affected by the crisis. Also well worth a look is The Drop Store (TheDropStore.com) which is doing its bit until the end of April by offering 10% off with the promo code ‘thanks10’ — and there’s free delivery over £30. We also happened to notice that they’re selling giant 1.75 litre bottles of Whitley Neill gin for £40, including their rhubarb and ginger — a perennial favourite of the Country Life team.
Given the situation in the world right now, many of those delivery services have delays of up to a week — and if you need speed then look to Warner’s, a wonderful Northamptonshire distillery with a superb elderflower variant. They are still confident they can get the booze to your door inside 48 hours — and they’re even chucking in free delivery and two Fever Tree mixers with each order over £30 using the code FREEDELIVERY.
Supermarkets are still selling beer and the large online beer retailers — www.beerhawk.co.uk is well worth a look — are running as normal, albeit with
Bigger breweries including BrewDog have devlivery services up and running, but many smaller breweries — who will be hit very hard by pub closures — are also finding ways to get their wares out to customers. One such not far from the Country Life offices is Hogsback (www.hogsback.co.uk) who are delivering fresh beer (i.e. what gets sold in the pubs, rather than bottled) in the local area. You can also use their contact-free drive-through: one of the team will put your pre-paid beer in the boot, and you can drive off in safety.
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