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Spinky-spanky new local lockdown tipples

Surviving lockdown has driven the nation to drink. But it's also give local producers to wave their magic wand and bring us something new. Charge your glasses…

How have we all survived 10 weeks in lockdown? On a diet of sunshine, Netflix and gin. Don’t take my word for it, I consulted the stat nerds at the Office of National Statistics and they revealed alcohol sales soared by 31.4 per cent. Judging my recycling bin, we may have achieved those levels in our house alone.

But while we’ve all been busy necking the good stuff, our talented local Willy Wonkas in their distilleries creating something new. So I thought I’d introduce you. Stagger this way…

Berkshire Botanical Rhubarb & Raspberry Gin

Berkshire Botanical Rhubarb and Raspberry gin

The nation has gone fruit loop for flavoured spirits and this Berkshire Botanical Rhubarb & Raspberry gin is dangerously drinkable. Inspired by the flora and fauna on the Yattendon Estate, it’s delicately infused with rhubarb and raspberries. It’s fresh, fruity and elegant – just like us really. Just add a splash of tonic or, even better, bubbles! £19.50 or 50cl. Available to buy online and at Yattendon Village Shop.

137 Gin Lockdown Negroni

Lockdown Neggroni from 137 Gin Distillery– wax sealed bottle

It’s a wonder 137 Gin’s founder and chief distiller Pete Lumber has had the time to whip up a new product. For the past 10 weeks, he’s been making hand sanitizer for frontline services. But here it is Lockdown Negroni – a drink so summery it can whisk you off to Tuscany in one sip. Given that we’re going nowhere fast, that’s essential drinking right now. Balancing 137 Gin’s earthy Berkshire Dry Gin, with the sweet vermouth and the bitterness of Campari, this cocktail is ready mixed. Just add ice and a slice of orange and you’re good to go. It’s a limited edition of just 40 bottles, so grab one while you still can (£42).

Highclere Castle Gin

How I am so late to the party on this one? *Ahem* Highclere Castle Gin actually launched a little while ago and was even in the Baftas goody bag – much eye-rolling here. Now I was either face down on a lawn somewhere or I dropped a ball. Anyway, we’re here for it now. Distilled above an ancient underground water source, Highclere Castle Gin is a traditional London Dry using a blend of botanicals grown on the Highclere Estate – juniper, obvs, with a hint of lavender, lime flower, and orange peel. It’s available online and in selected local Waitrose store – £37.95 for 70cl. Now Carson, be a love a top us up, We’re gasping.

West Berkshire Brewery Solo Pilsner

west Berkshire Brewery alcohol free SOLO pilsner bottle and can

Alcohol-free? Have we completely lost our minds? No. Granted, we are pickled most weekends but we do try very hard to keep on the path of sobriety Monday to Friday. OK Thursday. Anyway, Muddy award-winning West Berkshire Brewery has recently launched a micro range of alcohol-free beers, Solo Pilsner, Pale Ale, and Peach Pale – and it’s really good. In this weather, a cold beer goes down a treat – all the flavour without the hangover. The packaging pretty foxy too. 12 X 330ml cans £16.50.

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