Discovering new, rare, exotic drinks can be so much fun. Remember the first time you drank a cocktail out of a coconut? Exciting, right? Well that’s what we’ve found for you here, just the grown up versions. Delicious to drink but also awesome gifts, here are our 5 Foodie Finds!
Some people are into Star Trek. Some people lust after stamps. Me, I’m a bit of a booze geek alco-nerd.
I get probably a little too excited at the prospect of discovering a new brew down the pub, trying an experimental spirit or sipping on an out-there style of wine.
Recently we’ve been privy to quite a few of the masterstrokes from both craft and mainstream distillers and brewers as they showcase their skills and try new and exciting things.
These artisans of their industry have been busy creating one-off products or working on new, rare blends – here are our top 5:
Royal Albert Hotel’s Dopey One American Brown Ale
Those crazy cats at the Royal Albert aren’t content to just bring out a run-of-the-mill ale. The Dopey One is a remarkable brew that’s so full of flavour and so dark, it didn’t seem like a brown ale at all.
More packed with hidden chocolate than a porker’s bag at fat camp and mouth-watering coconut notes in there too, the Dopey One is just delicious. Then, just when you think you’ve tasted all the flavours, a little raspberry finish comes through.
Not sure how much of this stuff is left, but ask at the bar and they might still have some there!
If this isn’t your cup of tea but you think it might be for someone else in the house, ask for a can of the stuff.
The Royal Albert now does takeaway tinnies of any beer on tap – they make the tins for you while you wait and it costs the same as 2 schooners.
Hendrick’s scorpion tail gin
I love it when big brands test themselves a bit and produce new, interesting concept products.
Hendrick’s– a cornerstone in top quality gin for a long time now – prides itself on pushing the boat out into uncharted waters.
This time they’ve quite literally gone to extremes.
They sent their head distiller, Leslie Gracey and their international brand ambassador and man of action, David Piper deep into the Venezuelan jungles in search of a new botanical.
Armed with a tiny 10 litre copper still, David and Leslie finally found what they were looking for: the exotic Scorpion Tail.
They made just 8.6 litres of distillate – or pure infused alcohol – which they smuggled back into Scotland to blend into their Hendrick’s recipe. Merely 360 litres of this stuff has and will ever exist, so, sadly, you won’t find it in any shops.
What you can take away from this is the knowledge that Hendrick’s doesn’t like to sit on its laurels and is always interested in experimenting with its brand. That’s got to be worth something, hasn’t it?
Ginger Hammer from Belgrove Distillery
I reckon Peter Bignell – owner and mad scientist of this Tasmanian micro-distillery – is some kind of magician.
Here are some facts about Pete:
– He’s the only maker of rye whiskey in Australia
– He grows all his own corn for the rye
– He made the copper still he uses from scratch
– He uses biodiesel that he makes from old cooking oil to heat the still and fuel his vehicles
– The water’s all from rainwater he collects on his property
– Most of the mash from the whiskey is fed to the livestock he has on the farm…
It’s an unbelievable, impressive company.
This Ginger Hammer came about because Peter had a lot of leftover ginger from a cocktail party he had. He decided to distill it and here’s the result.
It tastes a bit like whiskey, but you know it’s not. There’s a quite a strong ginger flavour as you’d imagine, but it’s such a fresh, lively taste.
Keep an eye out for the Ginger Hammer in select bars (the Royal Albert currently stocks it actually) and bottle shops. You can also buy it direct from Belgrove’s website.
I love how environmentally conscious and sustainable Belgrove is. I think this would make an awesome gift for someone who loves their liquor and who cares about the planet too.
Whisky Grant Ghosted whisky
It’s a sad truth that there used to be so many distilleries all over Scotland. Many of them have since closed for any number of reasons.
The scotch that’s left over, however, is often bought by existing distilleries like William Grant & Sons.
The whisky from 2 such dead or ‘ghosted’ distilleries – Inverleven and Ladyburn – has been blended to create the incredibly rare Ghosted Reserve. This concept whisky is the first and only time these two distilleries will be brought back to life in this blend.
It’s a very special thing and the combination of the oakiness from one whisky and the fruity sweetness from the other creates a unique drink indeed.
William Grant has also created the ‘Cruinnich’ – a Scots Gaelic word meaning ‘an assembly or gathering’ – is their second Rare Cask blended whisky.
This whisky has been aged in sherry barrels, which has given it a beautiful, delicate sweetness. As it’s been made with 21-year-old rare cask reserve whisky, the Cruinich is also very smooth indeed.
Both the Ghosted Reserve and the Cruinich are available for the generous gift buyer to purchase but be quick. There are only 300 bottles of the Ghosted Reserve in Australia (6100 worldwide) at $650 each, they’ll disappear.
The Cruinnich too is limited, with only 4900 bottles available at $180 each.
Stone Pine’s Dead Man’s Drop black spiced rum
Stone Pine Distillery has many strings to its bow. Rum, gin, liqueurs, vodka… but this is the first time they’ve made a spiced black rum.
In fact, it’s the first time any Australian distillery has made a black spiced rum, so I’m glad it’s Stone Pine that’s done it.
This stuff, black as Davey Jones’ locker, is a real nod to the pirate legacy of spiced rum. Mind you Dead Man’s Drop doesn’t get its name from nautical roots.
Stone Pine is based in Bathurst, NSW – 200km west of any beach. Instead, owner Ian Glen went with an Australian bushranger theme. Dead Man’s Drop refers to the first public hanging in Bathurst of 10 men of the Ribbon Gang in 1830.
It’s also being released on the bicentenary of the Bathurst becoming a city, which is nice, isn’t it?
For more information on Dead Man’s Drop – a lovely drink indeed – and our own cocktail recipe for this black rum, check out our feature on Dead Man’s Drop here.
What do you look for in an interesting drink or a good gift to a loved one who likes a tipple? Tell us in the comments!