It’s nearly Christmas, the shops are full of it and I also understand that for many it’s also the hardest time of the year.
Perhaps you’re thinking of holding a party for friends and family, you head towards the spirits cabinet, burn off all the cobwebs and then realise you’ve got a half bottle of Bailey’s, a bottle of some fruit liqueur and some cream sherry, so bin all that shite, pull up a chair and get ready for the Captain’s annual spirits buying guide.
All of the following should be relatively easy to get, nothing is single cask or auction only, that would be fucking pointless.
We all need mixers and Fever Tree are very good if a little expensive, my advice is buy the Aromatic Tonic Water, the Madagascan Cola and the Smoky Ginger Ale. Tonic water is just Tonic Water and I’ve yet to try any that taste any different to any other so just go to Lidl or Aldi and buy Tonic water from there. Personally speaking I go for Irn Bru and Spiced Ginger Irn Bru and I buy Pepsi Max, that’s just personal taste.
Shall we get gin out of the way?
I will never be a gin lover, I like a Martini now and again which is the one single reason I have any gin at all. I am in my mid forties and I have yet to find a gin which beats Tanquaray No. Ten which is 47.3% and doesn’t taste horrible, my other gin is the No.3 from Berry Bros and Rudd which is 47%, maybe I just like gin with numbers in its name? Anyway, both are around thirty quid, don’t try and dazzle anyone with stupid labels or even more stupid made up back stories and, well, that’s it, just buy those, you’re mixing them anyway.
I am going to suggest three rums.
Two are from my new favourite Scottish Company based in Orkney and probably don’t even consider themselves Scottish but it’s over to J.Gow for both their spiced rum and chestnut cask rum.
These are absolutely amazing, both mix really well in shorter cocktails, long drinks are rather wasted on either of these, just buy a litre of Sailor Jerry for that (I like Sailor Jerry by the way and please go and buy a bottle for long drinks) but both work a treat sipped neat and perhaps would impress your guests and you enough into trying these excellent products.
Both the Spiced rum and Chestnut Cask Fading Light are available from a few online retailers as well as their own website. You will not be disappointed.
My final rum choice is a cheeky Jamaican rum from Berry Bros and Rudd. For around thirty quid you can get a 40.5% Jamaican rum which blew my socks off, it’s a sipper, or again for shorter cocktails where you still want the sweet and spicy notes of the rum to shine through.
Oh Christ, whisky, for this I’m going to suggest a handful of easy going sippers which will work well with cocktails.
Fuck putting expensive whiskies, single malt or otherwise in cocktails, you are off your fucking head if you’re mixing anything over forty quid, I know it’s your whisky and you can indeed do whatever you like with it but honestly, don’t waste your money and don’t waste your whisky.
Anyway, it’s that time of the year when the Supermarkets and online retailers and Amazon etc will be practically throwing whisky at you so let’s dive in.
I would be fucking amazed if you don’t find the Glenfiddich 12 and 15 with good offers in your supermarkets and both will serve you well both as sipping single malts and I guess if you need to mix then they’d work okay, bit of a waste with the 15 especially which is why I will refer you to……
Just buy this, eh, come on to fuck, get this bought, it’s under twenty quid when on offer and makes brilliant cocktails, for a peaty cocktail though might I suggest the Glen Moray Peated? Again don’t pay more than twenty pounds for this and whilst it’s okay on it’s own but it’s great in a cocktail, you could go for Gran’t Smoky too but this edges it for me and is widely available.
I’ll give you two more whiskies that I’ve been experimenting with regarding cocktails. I won a bottle of Glen Moray Fired Oak for making up a cocktail which the organisers liked and I’ve been exploring the bottle ever since. It’s works okay on it’s own but is superb in cocktails, maybe a bit pricey for a mixer I grant you but then I was mixing the superb Ailsa Bay and that was nearly sixty quid.
Last one, last one that’s both a sipper and a mixer, decided to go to Islay and try the horribly labelled by really quite jolly Smokehead Islay Single Malt, I was going to go for the Port Askaig Cask Strength but it’s a bit obscure and blows your head off so went for this easy to get, aft on offer, peaty beast, works a treat in cocktails and as a simple mixer with Irn Bru or Ginger Ale.
Other random stuff.
I know I’m coming across as a Berry Bros fan boy here but do yourselves a favour and get a bottle of King’s Ginger and their Coffee Liqueur, the coffee liqueur might seem expensive compared to Kahula but it’s much better and is a whopping 35%, King’s Ginger is an absolute must for winter drinking, neat, heated up with apple juice or cider it’s the absolute business.
Now you’ve got them head over to Aldi and pick up some of their weird drinks, coconut liqueur and the like, a new personal favourite of mine is the tea infused whisky liqueur, absolutely magic. They also stock a decent range of port and sherry too, just buy these.
Some of these I’ve bought, some have been sent to me, I can’t be arsed going over which was which.
Now, get drinking.