9 drinks from the Cotswolds you need to try this Christmas
PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 November 2018
Whether you’re after something for an adults’ stocking filler, a little something while you slave over the turkey dinner or a tipple to enjoy with your festive party guests, we pick 9 drinks from the Cotswolds you need to try this Christmas
Brewery Lane, Hook Norton, Oxfordshire, OX15 5NY
Sitting in its beautiful, mellow Cotswold Hills landscape, Hook Norton brewery is a proudly independent and passionate family business that takes the very best of its handcrafted brewing heritage and combines it with a thoroughly modern approach, to create a range of real ales for today’s drinkers to enjoy.
This Christmas, you must try two of the seasonal ales, both available in 500ml bottles throughout the festive period. The Greedy Goose 4.2% ABV is a delightfully full flavoured beer, rich to the palate and displays a rounded fruity aroma with hints of dark fruit, punching above its weight. This is a great beer for both the goose and the gander.The award-winning Twelve Days at 5.5% ABV, is a strong dark brown beer, offering a dominantly malty palate with nutty overtones, giving way to a lyrical sweetness that speaks for its strength. It’s Christmas in a bottle!
Newent, Gloucestershire, GL18 1LS
Three Choirs Vineyards produce a range of award-winning English wines from grapes grown on their two estates; Newent, Gloucestershire and Wickham, Hampshire. Delicious sparklings, whites, roses & reds are available to complement your festive food.
Visit the online shop or pop in to the Cellar Door at Three Choirs Vineyards, Gloucestershire.
Unit 1A, The Old Kennels, Cirencester Park, Stroud Road, Gloucestershire, GL7 1UR
Friends! Romans! Beer Lovers! Fill your glasses with award-winning ales all brewed in Roman Corinium, Cirencester. At Corinium Ales, a range of classic and contemporary, seasonal and one-off specials are offered.
Their five core beers pay tribute to Cirencester’s Roman heritage and make up the “Roman Collection” including the popular Corinium Gold and the hoppy IPA Ale Caesar. You can also enjoy Firebird - a traditional malty amber ale and 1AD the dark and delicious winter porter; as well as whisky barrel-aged and raspberry infused beers and the spicy festive ale Saturnalia.
The ‘pint size’ brewery is open every Friday afternoon and the second Saturday of the month 3pm-6pm, and you can also enjoy Corinium cheer at the Cirencester and Stroud Farmers’ Markets and a number of growing outlets in and around Cirencester and beyond.
The Mount, Park View, Cirencester, GL7 2JG
The Capreolus Distillery is making waves in the world of high end spirits.
To begin with their gin Garden Swift (formerly known as Garden Tiger) was awarded the ultimate commendation of Spirit of the Year within five months of launch, with its impressive blend of 34 homegrown, wild and traded botanicals. This Christmas will see the release of a permanent mulberry wood barrel aged version to be known as Hart & Dart. Just as interesting is their unique offering of eaux de vie; brandies that take 15-45kg of absolutely perfect local fruit to create. Each captures the true essence of their source, be this quince, perry pear, plums, blackcurrants, greengage or apple to name just a few! A perfect digestif or as an alternative to pudding wines they are already gracing some of the worlds best restaurants.
Poulton Hill Vineyard, Poulton, Cirencester, GL7 5JA
Poulton Hill Estate is a small family-run vineyard, situated in the heart of the idyllic Cotswold countryside. At the Poulton Hill Estate, Cirencester, they carefully harvested by hand their first vintage in October 2012. Using the traditional method, they produce highly exclusive, multi-award winning Cotswold still and sparkling wines recently winning the Cotswold Life Drinks Product of the Year 2018, among many more.
“Our motto is ‘Think Local, Drink Local’ so we aim to supply and support local businesses as well as private clients” says Tiléri Charles-Jones, Managing Director at Poulton Vineyard. “We have opened our Cellar Door at the vineyard and we love to advise on food matching to our wines as well as where to source the local ingredients.”
Outlets include Michelin Guide-rated The Bell at Langford, The Village Pub at Barnsley, The Plough Inn at Cold Aston and Jesse Smiths Bistro, Cirencester.
The wines are available from the vineyard direct at their Cellar Door or via the website.
Hill Farm,Wainlode Lane,Norton, Gloucester, GL2 9LN
With gin an already busy market, British Polo Gin knew that their gins had to be different, and different for the right reasons. Both of their botanical and sloe gins are 100% organic gins, and are quadruple distilled in small batch releases of just 300 bottles. Producing multi-award winning 100% organic gins certified by the soil association alongside being vegan friendly/gluten-free is highly unusual and something that they’re exceedingly proud of. This, twinned with their polo provenance, means that British Polo Gin is fast becoming a favourite amongst gin lovers.
A highlight of the BPG stable is their Botanical gin - the only gin to win three stars at the coveted 2018 Great Taste Awards. The panel commented “Evident botanicals make for a well rounded gin with fabulous complexity. The balance marks it out for universal purpose… it simply tastes great.”
Hand crafted in a wood-fuelled small batch still and meticulously crafted with Ceredigion’s finest spring water, their gins are as pure as can be. Regular gin tastings are now available from their Gloucestershire based venue Foston’s Ash Inn.
Spirit of Ilmington
Puddocks, Frog Lane, Ilmington, Warwickshire, CV36 4LQ
Facebook: Spirit of Ilmington
Spirit of Ilmington Apple Brandy is made in the North Cotswold village of Ilmington, which has a long history of cider making. Four years ago they started producing cider from apples harvested in local orchards and gardens and decided to go one step further and bought a lovely copper still and started distilling. The resultant spirit was delicious.
To quote Fortnum & Mason where the Spirit of Ilmington Apple Brandy is for sale, “A soft mellow brandy with a surprisingly fresh cider nose, warming and refreshing on the palate with a lingering after taste of apple.”
Prue Leith has enjoyed a glass and tweeted: “What a tipple....the most delicious Apple Brandy from Spirit of IImington. Made in the Cotswolds. Perfect for cocktails and definitely too good to be left in the bottle!! Cheers!
Spirit of Ilmington Apple Brandy can be found in quality restaurants, bars and retail outlets throughout the Cotswolds.
Whether you’re the designated driver or foregoing alcohol for health reasons, you may be wondering about your choice of tipple when you’re not drinking this Christmas. The Driver’s Tipple is a new premium non-alcoholic distilled spirit created by former British racing driver and Oxfordshire local, Hamish Gordon.
Described as a distinctively British alternative to gin, uncompromising in taste, just without the effects of alcohol, The Driver’s Tipple caters to those seeking a sophisticated drink minus the alcohol.
With all the flavours of a London Dry Gin distilled with classic gin botanicals including prominent notes of juniper, its sugar-free ingredients also provide a low-calorie alternative to a cocktail.
Featuring charming driving character labels created by renowned countryside illustrator Bryn Parry, The Driver’s Tipple is available to buy online, and from independent shops including Burford Garden Centre, Fillet & Bone in Chipping Campden, the Blenheim Palace shop and at the Blenheim Palace Christmas Market (November 23 – December 16).
The Bounds, Much Marcle, Nr Ledbury HR8 2NQ
Now run by the fourth generation of the Weston family, Westons Cider has been producing traditional English cider in the Herefordshire village of Much Marcle since 1880. One of the largest independent cider makers in the UK today, Westons still use traditional methods; slowly maturing in oak vats and sourcing fruit from within the local region. Brands include Stowford Press, Henry Westons, Wyld Wood Organic, Old Rosie, Rosie’s Pig, Mortimer’s Orchard and Caple Rd. Adding to its successful Henry Westons brand, why not try their Aged Finish over Christmas?
The latest addition is a bright and sparkling medium dry cider, aged for up to 180 days to ensure a deep flavour and rich, long finish. Perfect with cold cuts, the festive cheese board or simply savoured on its own. Tour vouchers of the cider mill also make a great stocking filler and make the perfect sensory day out for friends and family.