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Tag: flavoured gin

Cocktail of the Week: The Long Sloe Summer

Sloe gin isn’t just for Christmas, says pioneering bartender Nick Strangeway. This week’s cocktail eloquently explains why. Long before foraging became fashionable, people were making sloe gin. These tiny sour…

Sloe gin isn’t just for Christmas, says pioneering bartender Nick Strangeway. This week’s cocktail eloquently explains why.

Long before foraging became fashionable, people were making sloe gin. These tiny sour plums that appear in autumn hedgerows aren’t great for eating but do something magical when steeped with gin and sugar. By the following winter, you have something delicious to drink. Bartender and founder of Hepple Gin, Nick Strangeway told me: “Everybody thinks of it as something you drink around Christmas and then forget about for the rest of the year.”

But he uses sloe gin all year round in a variety of cocktails: “When I worked with Dick Bradsell”, he said, “we made a drink with sloe gin called the Wibble, named after the marketing director of Plymouth Gin at the time who would wobble but wouldn’t fall over”. He also recommended other sloe gin cocktails like the Hedgerow Sling and the Charlie Chaplin.

Strangeway is a stalwart of the London bar scene who worked with Bradsell at such legendary venues such as Fred’s and the Atlantic. Strangeway remembers his mentor very fondly: “Some of the places he worked in were not what you’d call salubrious yet he would look after you as though you’re in the Savoy,” said Strangeway. I asked him what was the most important thing he learned from the master: “Most of it was to do with looking after customers. Bars are about customers, rather than about drinks. Without nice customers and nice staff, it’s irrelevant whether you make good drinks”, he said.

Long Sloe Summer

Nick Strangeway, bartender and founder of Hepple Gin

Anyway, back to those sloes. The Moorland Spirits Company, the business that Strangeway founded in 2014 with chef Valentine Warner and others in Northumbria, has just launched its Hepple Sloe and Hawthorn Gin. It’s less sweet than a standard sloe gin: “Sugar can cloud complex flavours like the sloe”, Strangeway told me. It’s also bottled at a higher ABV than most rivals: “There’s a tendency to default to what already exists, rather than the right ABV. When we did ours, we thought 32% ABV was best in terms of flavour delivery”, he said. The Hawthorn “add another level of dryness to it”, as well as continuing the hedgerow theme.

Strangeway spends half the year in Denmark and he is very inspired by New (well “old now”, he jokes) Nordic Cookery, “a northern style of cookery that’s fresh and light. In terms of flavours Hepple and indeed Northumbria is Nordic”, he said. He’s also inspired by how Scandinavian chefs use technology to bring out flavours. Hepple Gin is made using a ‘Triple Technique’ compromising of traditional pot still, vacuum distillation and CO2 extraction. This juniper-heavy gin is used as a base for the Sloe and Hawthorn Gin.

So now on to the cocktail, the Long Sloe Summer. Strangeway mixes his sloe gin with fino sherry which “adds dryness and salinity.” The final ingredients are a splash of tonic for a spritz and some green olives for a savoury element. “I wanted a long drink that wasn’t massively high in ABV, a drink I could drink all summer long”, he said.

Cheers, Nick!

Long Sloe Summer

The Long Sloe Summer

30ml Hepple Sloe and Hawthorn Gin
30ml Tio Pepe fino sherry
150ml of tonic water
2 Green Olives to garnish

In a large wine glass combine the sloe gin and the sherry, add lots of ice, top up with tonic and stir. Garnish with two green olives.

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Springtime treats for Mother’s Day

Struggling for Mother’s Day presents? In need to replace the winter warmers with refreshing, spring-tastic booze? Well then you’ve come to the right place. With Mother’s Day fast approaching (it’s…

Struggling for Mother’s Day presents? In need to replace the winter warmers with refreshing, spring-tastic booze? Well then you’ve come to the right place.

With Mother’s Day fast approaching (it’s Sunday 31st) and spring very much in full flow, it’s the perfect time to indulge in some seasonal spirits and splash out on great gift ideas.

Fortunately for you, we’re on hand to give you a, err… hand. Not only have we put together a show-stopping list of perfect presents on our Mother’s Day gifts page (where you’ll find gin gifts, whisky gifts, tasting sets, gift sets and gift vouchers), but we’ve also picked out a super selection of spring-themed tipples that we reckon you and the matriarch in your family would most certainly love to sip on a warm evening.

So, what are you waiting for? Brilliant booze is just a scroll away…

The Epicurean

One of Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Regional Malts, The Epicurean is an expression created to highlight the best of Scotland’s Lowland region and tell the story of a 1930s Glaswegian maverick, who is pictured on the bottle’s label. A small-batch bottling that’s presented without any additional colouring or chill-filtration, The Epicurean is another winner from the ever-reliable Douglas Laing that’s delicious neat or in a variety of serves.

What does it taste like?:

Apples, pears and white grapes, chocolate fudge, cloudy lemonade, honey’d barley and a thin layer of thyme honey are joined by notes of elegant lemongrass, grist and cereals, as well as a pinch of pepper.

Spring-tastic serve: The Epicurean Horse’s Neck

Douglas Laing created this cocktail to highlight all that’s great about The Epicurean’s light, sweet and grassy profile. To make, simply add ice, lemon peel and 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters to a tall glass. Then add 25ml of The Epicurean and top with a good quality ginger ale. Stir and then serve, while preparing yourself for any number of Godfather-based dad jokes.

Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger Gin

Who doesn’t look at this beauty and immediately think of sprucing up their G&Ts or creating any number of delicious cocktails? You may know Whitley Neill as the English gin with an exotic, African inspired flavour profile, but the brand has looked closer to home for its inspiration with this expression. This Rhubarb & Ginger Gin pairs two rustic and distinctive flavours in delicious gin-tastic harmony, to the extent that the World Gin Awards 2018 felt it deserved a silver medal in the Flavoured Gin category!

What does it taste like?:

Subtly tart with clear rhubarb influence. A twist of orange sweetness and herbaceous coriander brings balance to the palate.

Spring-tastic serve: The Rhubarb and Ginger Spritz

This cocktail is spring and simplicity in a glass, metaphorically of course. To make, simply take a highball glass and fill with cubed ice. Pour 50ml Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger Gin and 15ml of lemon juice into the glass and give it a quick stir to infuse. Top with a good quality tonic water, then garnish with fresh orange slices and serve to your guests who are no doubt picking flowers or birthing lambs or whatever people do when it’s springtime.

Glenmorangie Allta Private Edition

A rich, fruity and intriguing expression, Allta (Scots Gaelic for ‘wild’) was released as part of the pioneering Private Edition series. It’s the very first whisky to be created from a bespoke strain of wild yeast growing on local barley and the resulting spirit was matured in ex-bourbon barrels. Classic Glenmorangie style meets experimental flair. What’s not to love?

What does it taste like?:

Rounded, with biscuity, yeasty tones, floral notes of carnations, vanilla, butter candy, soft raisins, gentle mint and sweet mandarin orange.

Spring-tastic serve: The Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is delicious and simple. What more could you ask from a cocktail? To create, start by putting a level teaspoon of brown sugar into an Old Fashioned glass. Then add a splash of hot water and a two dashes of Fee Brothers Orange bitters. Stir vigorously so that the sugar dissolves, then add 80ml of Glenmorangie Allta Private Edition. Stir a bit more, add ice cubes, stir a bit more and garnish with a piece of orange peel. Serve while trying to keep the yeast-based facts to a minimum. It’s not much of a crowd pleaser for those who aren’t whisky geeks like us.

Issan (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

For those who want an introduction to the superb category of cane juice spirits, this complex and characterful Rhum Agricole should do the trick. It was sourced by That Boutique-y Rum Company from Issan, a Thai distillery that places a pleasing emphasis on sustainability and community. The spirit is made with the juice from red sugar cane, which is distilled in the copper pot still that you see on the label. Intriguing, tasty and perfect for enjoying in cocktails or on its own, this is one for the adventurous types.

What does it taste like?:

Grassy and herbaceous, with green olive water, damp hay, tinned sweetcorn water, aromatic vanilla, butterscotch, dark berries and a hint of honey blossom lingers.

Spring-tastic serve: Neat

It’s really worth trying this one on its own before you indulge yourself in the wonderful world of Agricole rum cocktails. The connoisseurs of this style of spirit will be rewarded with the kind of profile they adore, while newcomers will get a chance to experience the delights of its unique character in all of its naked glory.

Glenkinchie 12 Year Old

The flagship expression from the Glenkinchie distillery and a sublime introduction to the Lowland region, Glenkinchie 12 Year Old was declared the winner of the Best Lowland Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards 2016 for good reason. Full of light, sweet and creamy notes, this is one to have fun and play with in a number of serves.

What does it taste like?:

Light and aromatic with hints of barley malt, almonds, hazelnuts, stewed fruits, dessert wine, apple peels and manuka honey/beeswax.

Spring-tastic serve: The Whisky Sour

It’s a classic for good reason, the Whisky Sour. To create your own barnstorming edition, you’ll need to add 45ml of Glenkinchie 12 Year Old, 25ml of fresh lemon juice and 25ml of simple syrup (if you want to make your own, it’s one part water to one part sugar) to a shaker filled with ice. Then shake the mix and strain it into a tumbler filled with fresh ice. Finally, garnish with a single Luxardo Maraschino Cherry and a lemon wedge, then serve and raise a glass to whisky, springtime, whisky, Mother’s Day and great whisky!

Monkey 47 Dry Gin

An ever-popular, wonderfully unusual and utterly delicious gin from the Black Forest in Germany, Monkey 47 contains a total of 47 botanicals (actual monkeys, or indeed any member of the band The Monkeys aren’t one them, relax) and was bottled at a healthy 47%. No prizes for guessing why it’s called Monkey 47 (also presumably because monkeys rock). Among the 47 botanicals are the likes of Acorus calamus, almond, angelica, bitter orange, blackberry, cardamom, cassia, chamomile, cinnamon, lemon verbena, cloves, coriander, cranberries, cubeb, dog rose, elderflower, ginger, Grains of Paradise, hawthorn berries, hibiscus abelmoschus, hibiscus syriacus… you get the idea.

What does it taste like?:

Fresh grassy citrus, sweet liquorice, plenty of spice, juicy berries, cardamom, pine and herbal juniper.

Spring-tastic serve: Schwarzendorff Martini

A brilliant Black Forest-inspired twist on the universally adored cocktail, the Schwarzendorff Martini couldn’t be simpler to make. All you have to do is combine 45ml of Monkey 47 Dry Gin, 45ml of Schatzel Riesling 2016, two dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters and a little ice together in a cocktail shaker. Shake this mix and then strain it into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with lemon zest and a dash of cinnamon, and have a few monkey-based puns ready for when you serve. If you don’t do it, somebody else will.

Cazcabel Honey Liqueur

One for the mothers or mother figures that are sweeter than sugar, this superb honey liqueur from Cazcabel was made using its Blanco Tequila as a base and honey sourced from local bees. An individual, distinctive liqueur, this is a bold and crowd-pleasing tipple that’s simply begging to be put to good use in a cocktail.

What does it taste like?:

Rich, sweet and full of honey and caramel with earthy and smoky notes.

Spring-tastic serve: Honey I’ve Made Margaritas!

A refreshing, warm and street treat, you can make this take on the classic Margarita by combining 55ml of Cazcabel Honey Liqueur, 20ml of fresh lemon juice and 40ml of Gran Marnier in a cocktail shaker. Stir vigorously then add a cup of ice and shake for 10 seconds. Pour straight into a Margarita glass, garnish with a lemon wheel and serve. If you want a salted rim, then before you make the cocktail you’ll need to take a lemon wedge and coat the rim of the glass. Then dip it in margarita salt, rotating until coated.

Compass Box Hedonism

Smooth, creamy and really very tasty, Hedonism represents Compass Box trying to create a decedent dram, as the name suggests. It’s a blended grain whisky featuring liquid (depending on batch variation) from Cameronbridge, Carsebridge, Cambus, Invergordon, Port Dundas or Dumbarton that was matured in 100% first-fill American oak barrels or rejuvenated American oak hogsheads. Equally delicious neat or in a multitude of classic cocktails, Hedonism is also amazing with a caramel-based dessert.

What does it taste like?:

Fraises des bois, sponge cake, red pepper, black cherry, milk chocolate, toasted oak and sweet spices with some cereal notes.

Spring-tastic serve: The Rob Roy

In this delightful Rob Roy the vanilla-rich Hedonism mirrors the bourbon-based profile of the cocktail’s inspiration, The Manhattan. To create, stir 50ml of Compass Box Hedonism with 20ml Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, a dash of Angostura Bitters and ice. Then strain and serve up in a coupe glass garnished with a Luxardo Maraschino Cherry before toasting your mother/mother figure because they’ve almost certainly earned it!

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Say hello to some spring spirits!

Spring has finally arrived and there’s no better way to ring in the warmer months than with a seasonal spirit in hand. Shed your layers and rejoice: spring is here!…

Spring has finally arrived and there’s no better way to ring in the warmer months than with a seasonal spirit in hand.

Shed your layers and rejoice: spring is here! The grass is green, there are new baby animals to coo over, and surely the heating bill is about to reduce (adulting truly sucks). So, why not put off the spring cleaning for another day and indulge in a tipple, or two. Whether you’ve got a penchant for Prosecco, a love of liqueurs, a soft spot for Scotch or a taste for Tequila, this is a time of year when the refreshing and rewarding really come into their own.

Here at MoM Towers, we love a bit of flower power when spring arrives. That why we’ve chosen to celebrate the coming of spring with a host of gins featuring fantastically floral botanicals, like rose petals, violets, lavender, lotus blossom and more. Enjoy!

Kyrö Napue Gin

This particular gin has two very exciting properties. 1) It was distilled using rye grain. 2) It features meadow sweet among its botanical selection. Alongside the aforementioned meadow sweet, Napue Gin was also crafted at the Kyrö Distillery in Isokyrö using citrus, cumin and juniper. Plus, it was named as the inaugural winner of the IWSC Gin & Tonic Trophy in 2015!

What does it taste like?:

Creamy vanilla, angelica, juniper, pink peppercorn, orange blossom, a herbal twinge of coriander root and cardamom seed, as well as plenty of floral and perfumed qualities.

Spring-tastic serve: Gin and Tonic

Classic, easy and, in this case, award-winning – it’s the Kyrö Napue G&T! To create, simply add 40ml of Kyrö Napue Gin to a highball glass filled with ice cubes. Top with 100ml of tonic water, stir well, garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a few cranberries. Serve while reminding any guests that this is an award-winning cocktail, thank you very much.

Alkkemist Gin

A wonderfully-presented gin that shines in a number of cocktails, Alkkemist Gin features among its 21 botanicals one of the classics of the floral genre: rose petal. Used to add depth and delicate sweetness, it was distilled (apparently under the light of the moon, no less) among other ingredients such as Muscat grape, orange and lemon peel, samphire, fennel, thyme and mint.

What does it taste like?:

Lemon peel, lavender, apple blossom, grape sweetness, fennel, clove, peppery juniper and a floral waft of rose.

Spring-tastic serve: Tom Collins

Add some Spanish style to this classic gin cocktail by stirring 50ml of Alkkemist Gin, 25ml of lemon juice and 15ml of simple syrup in a highball glass. Then fill the glass with ice cubes and top up with soda water. Garnish with a slice of lemon and serve while howling at the moon like the big badass wolf you are.

Harahorn Norwegian Gin

Sunndal wild marjoram is the star floral botanical is this interesting Norwegian gin. Mind you, you’d be forgiven for not noticing that thanks to the very distinctive label. While Harahorn is named after a mountain in Norway, the gin was actually inspired by the story of a hare with horns. Is it rad? Yes. Is it quite scary? Certainly. Does the gin taste delicious thanks to a botanical selection of Røros juniper berries, Nordmarka blueberries, Grimstad rhubarb, bladderwrack, Oppdal angelica and the highlighted Sunndal wild marjoram? Obviously.

What does it taste like?:

Juniper and blueberry always go together handsomely. The subtle tartness of rhubarb plays well with the pairing too.

Spring-tastic serve: Nordic Martini

See in spring with some Scandinavian style in this wonderful Martini. To create, combine 60ml of Harahorn Norwegian, 1 tbsp of Noilly Prat Original Dry and a little ice together in a cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with candied rhubarb and serve while impressing your guests by correctly pronouncing all those botanicals!

Dorothy Parker American Gin

We’re always happy to celebrate Dorothy Parker, whether that’s the legendary writer, poet and satirist, or this delicious gin from the New York Distilling Company! A fine example of some of the great gins we’re seeing come out of America, this tipple was crafted with a mix of traditional botanicals, juniper, citrus, cinnamon, and more contemporary examples such as elderberries and the floral highlight here, hibiscus petals.

What does it taste like?:

Sweet floral notes, muscular juniper, elderberry, citrus, cinnamon and hibiscus petals.

Spring-tastic serve: The Aviation

A classic gin sipper with a spring in its step and a beautiful purple-bluish hue. You can make this variant of the Aviation cocktail by adding 60ml of Dorothy Parker American Gin, 15ml of Maraschino liqueur, 7.5ml of Crème de violette and 20ml of fresh lemon juice into a shaker with ice. Simply shake this mix and then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry and serve while saluting the great Parker – “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.”

Forest Gin

What a success story Forest Gin has been for its creators, Lindsay and Karl Bond. Forest Gin is the only gin to have ever been awarded two separate Double-Gold Medals at the San Francisco World Spirit Awards, a feat it achieved in 2016. In this family-created small batch gin you’ll find classic botanicals, such as organic juniper berries and coriander seeds, as well as local ingredients foraged from Macclesfield Forest and processed with a pestle and mortar. This includes the gorse flowers, the floral fancy that means Forest Gin made our list, as well as wild bilberries, raspberries and local moss.

What does it taste like?:

Sweet berries, dewy, forest floor, moss, fresh spring water, rooty liquorice, cassia and cinnamon.

Spring-tastic serve: Negroni

Add a dose of forest funk to the Italian classic by combining 25ml of Forest Gin, 25ml of Campari and 25ml of Martini Rosso vermouth together in a cocktail shaker. Shake well with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a handful of raspberries and a cinnamon stick. Serve and marvel at that maverick weasel you’ll notice on the label of the distinctively English porcelain bottle.

Silent Pool Gin

The fragrant and delicately sweet lavender is the floral botanical you’ll find in the sublime Silent Pool Gin, which is produced on the Albury Estate in the Surrey Hills. This is right next to the Silent Pool, a beautiful, mysterious spring-fed lake that was the inspiration for a gin which features 23 other botanicals, including makrut lime, chamomile and local honey among others.

What does it taste like?:

Violet, lavender, lime leaf, elderflower, chamomile, orange blossom, vanilla-rich honey, cardamom, a spark of black pepper and juniper give it a spicy edge.

Spring-tastic serve: The French 75

The French 75 is an excellent celebratory cocktail, the perfect choice to toast the arrival of spring. To make, add 45ml of Silent Pool gin, 15ml of lemon juice and 7.5ml of sugar syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an empty glass, then top up with Champagne. Garnish with lemon peel and raise a glass to gin, springtime and, why not, gin again!

Sharish Blue Magic Gin

Sharish Blue Magic Gin is probably known best for its ability to transform in your glass from blue to pink with the addition of tonic. This is all down to the magic of the blue pea flower extracts which are used as a botanical. They not only provide that magnificent blue colour you can see in the bottle above, but also the colour changing properties that make this Portuguese gin so popular. Botanicals also include juniper, coriander, angelica root, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, lemon peel, strawberry and raspberry.

What does it taste like?:

Raspberry, strawberry, stem ginger, leafy coriander, lemon and angelica and soft juniper.

Spring-tastic serve: Like Magic Gin and Tonic

Let’s face it, we all want to make the colour changing G&T. So, what you’ll need to do is take a large glass (a Copa de Balon glass is ideal) and fill it with ice cubes and a 50ml measure of Sharish Blue Magic Gin. Then slowly pour 150ml of tonic water down a bar spoon onto the ice. Garnish with a slice of fresh orange, then play Eiffel 65’s Blue (Da Ba Dee) and Prince’s Purple Rain, in that order.

Roku Gin

When it came time for Suntory to create its first gin, there was little surprise it opted to include some wonderfully Japanese botanicals. These include the fabulously floral sakura flower and cherry blossom, as well as sakura leaf, sencha tea, gyokuro tea, sansho pepper, yuzu peel and traditional gin botanicals such as juniper, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander and cinnamon, among others.

What does it taste like?:

Earthy and vegetal, with a light whisper of fruity sweetness hiding underneath. Peppery notes develop on the finish.

Spring-tastic serve: Roku & Soda

The highball is a Japanese institution, so making a gin-based equivalent seems particularly appropriate. To create, pour 30ml of Roku Gin into the highball glass and fill with ice to the brim. Then slowly and gently pour 150ml of soda water along the edge of the glass and stir. Garnish with sticks of fresh ginger and, if possible, sakura flower petals to keep the floral theme going.

Boë Violet Gin

Boë Gin is delicious enough as it, but the recipe has been revamped here with the fantastically floral addition of violets! Delicate, refreshing and beautiful to look at, Boë Violet Gin is a smashing tipple, Enjoy it with tonic or any number of mixers, or use it to bring colour and sweetness to a variety of cocktails.

What does it taste like?:

Hugely floral, with classic citrus-forward notes cutting through cleanly.

Spring-tastic serve: The Amethyst Aviation

Fabulous and floral, this beautiful cocktail celebrates its violet spirit. To create, add 40ml of Boë Violet Gin, 25ml of lemon juice and 10ml of Maraschino liqueur into a shaker with ice. Shake this mix and strain it into a cocktail glass, then top with premium grapefruit tonic or soda water. Garnish with a twist of fresh pink grapefruit, serve and enjoy – it’s spring and you’re drinking delicious gin for goodness sake!

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Valentine’s Day gifts for drinks lovers

Mark the occasion of all things love and romance with these Valentine’s Day-themed tipples! The 14th of February approaches. Valentine’s Day. It’s the time of year when you need to…

Mark the occasion of all things love and romance with these Valentine’s Day-themed tipples!

The 14th of February approaches. Valentine’s Day. It’s the time of year when you need to be your most romantic, passionate and thoughtful, but it’s also the day dinner reservations die and expectations go through the roof. Just how on earth are you supposed to come up with an original, Instagram-able way to celebrate your relationships every year?

Luckily, there’s an alternative. A better way. Sure, you could say ‘I love you’ with roses, chocolate or one of those personalised novelty cards with cats on the front (actually, you really should still invest in that last one). But if you want to make this a memorable February 14th, then why not say it with your beloved’s favourite tipple??

Let us play Cupid this year and help you touch the heart of your favourite drinks fan with our round-up of Valentine’s gifts for drinks lovers. Don’t forget you can also give a gift with a personal touch by personalising a bottle of whisky for your beloved. Enjoy!

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Brilliant boozes for Bonfire Night!

Remember, remember the Fifth of November fondly this year with these cracking tipples… Bonfire Night, or as those who own cats and dogs presumably call it, National Scare the Crap…

Remember, remember the Fifth of November fondly this year with these cracking tipples…

Bonfire Night, or as those who own cats and dogs presumably call it, National Scare the Crap out of My Pet(s) Day, has come around again. This is great news because Bonfire Night is brilliant. Countless fireworks lighting up the sky. Heaps of amazing autumnal food. Plus there are the actual bonfires, carrying that fantastic scent and welcome heat through the crisp night air.

For some people, it’s all about the festival atmosphere at parties and displays. For others, it’s all about wrapping up warm and snug at home, enjoying the spectacle from afar. Ultimately, we’re all going to take advantage of another perfectly good excuse to indulge in some spectacular seasonal spirits. Right?

For those nodding enthusiastically in agreement, we’ve decided to round up some of the best Bonfire Night boozes and fireside beverages, each with an appropriately smouldering serve. Enjoy!

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