Written by: Melanie Parker
There is a world of spirits to discover. Strap in; we are taking you for a flyby around the globe. A digital globe crawl, if you will. You may just find somewhere you want to stop, stay and order. Enjoy the ride!
Mexico - Tequila
The spirit of the party, the world has finally woken up to Mexico's national spirit, and everyone is getting on the tequila train, A-grade celebrities included - we are looking at you, George Clooney and The Rock. Distilled only from the Blue agave in Jalisco, today tequila is appreciated for the exceptional, unique spirit it is. The lick, sip, suck reputation is long gone. Appreciate the exceptional quality, flavour and provenance of this unique drink.
Try this: Corazon Añejo Tequila
Añejo means tequila aged between one and three years on oak barrels imparting a distinct smoky taste and colouring. This stunning tequila is light in the mouth with a savoury and aromatic flavour of spiced tobacco, charred moss and coffee. It is subtle and focused. Sip it neat in a tumbler and appreciate the nuances like you would a whisky.
Sweden - Vodka
The Swedes do spirits so well. When you live in a climate like that, you need a tipple or two to warm the cockles. Think sweating in a spa, jumping in the snow, drinking vodka. You get the idea. They are known for the purity and quality of their vodkas; from big brands to independents, Swedish vodkas are worth seeking out.
Try this: SVEDKA Rosé Vodka
A pure and super-premium Swedish vodka distilled using only the highest quality ingredients. This clean and crisp rosé flavoured vodka uses 5% rosé wine to add sweetness and charming aromatic aromas and flavours of strawberry and rose petals. Try it with a splash of soda and a garnish of fresh strawberry.
South America - Rum
The tropical climes of South America and the Caribbean, with their vast sugarcane plantations, deliver some of the world's most outstanding examples of this rich and complex spirit. Indeed, it was in the Caribbean where the first sugarcane spirits were distilled. Back then, they were rough and unrefined and known as kill devil, then rumbullion and eventually rum. The quality of rum from these parts has come a long way, baby.
Try this: Diplomatico Rum Reserva Exclusiva
Connoisseurs consider this great Venezuelan rum the benchmark against which others are rated. It is complex, smooth and elegant, distilled from molasses and sugar cane honey through a combination of a kettle, copper pot and column stills, before ageing for a minimum of 12 years in small Spanish and American oak casks. It exhibits lively aromas of citrus and liquorice with a palate of dark chocolate, toffee and fudge. One to sip and savour; it is best served neat or on ice with a splash of water.
Italy - Aperitif
The Italians love aperitivo hour. The Italians make excellent pre-dinner drinks to get the appetite going. But there is so much more to this category beyond the cult status of the Aperol Spritz. Explore the options and be amazed at the stunning variety of Italian Aperitivo drinks on offer.
Try this: Hotel Starlino Arancione
A delicious, semi-dry vermouth that is rich, full-bodied and vibrant with tropical fruit aromas met with flavours of blood orange and peach. Try this in your next Negroni for that extra citrus intensity. Saluti!
Philippines - Rum
Another tropical country aiming to make rums as popular as its Caribbean rivals. Why not? It's a premium sugarcane region, after all, and it shares the same Latin cultural heritage, so it makes perfect sense they produce excellent rums worth exploring.
Try this: Don Papa Rum
Launched in 2011 and named after Colonel Dionisio Magbuelas, also known as Papa Isio, an iconic leader and key figure in the 1890s Philippines Revolution, Don Papa Rum is a Premium Single Island Dark Rum from the base of Mt Kanlaon, an active volcano in the Philippines. It uses only the finest sugarcane to produce a bold rum with subtle candied fruit, honey and vanilla notes and velvet-smooth deliciousness.
France - Cognac
If there was ever a country to perfect the art of making grape spirit or brandy, it had to be France. Cognac, to be precise, is just north of the famous wine region of Bordeaux in the east of France. Cognac is alone among brandies; it has no rival. Its unique provenance and balance of power, nuance and subtlety mean it is the world's most sophisticated spirit. To appreciate cognac is to experience this unique and complex drink - at room temperature with the correct glassware of course. A taster's glass for neat or a tumbler if you prefer on the rocks.
Try this: Martell Blue Swift Eau-de Vie de Vin
An innovative spirit from Martell, which cannot be called Cognac because the latter can only age in French Oak. Blue Swift finishes Martell's VSOP Cognac in Kentucky Bourbon casks. It exhibits intense and fresh notes of ginger and rich white candied fruits and plums with a smooth and long vanilla and toasted oak characters from the Bourbon casks. Sip and savour in a taster's glass at room temperature to appreciate its unique nuances.
UK - Gin
Holland may have invented gin by steeping spirit in lovely juicy juniper berries, but England made gin its own with the London Dry Gin style. Today gin is the drink du jour, and the choice of gins in the world today is enough to make your head spin. We suggest starting with our selection of award-winning gins to keep your sanity.
Try this: Sipsmith London Dry Gin
This perfectly blended London Dry Gin is a signature spirit from Sipsmith. It offers juniper-forward characters followed by distinct citrus flavours like lemon zest and orange marmalade. Carefully crafted from traditional London Dry botanicals with hints of almond, cinnamon and coriander, it is on the drier side but beautifully balanced to make the perfect martini and smooth enough to mix it up in a G&T. Amongst the plethora of gins available we highly recommend this delicious English gin.
India - Whisky
India loves its whisky. The Indians consume more whisky per capita than any other nation in the world. In fact, one in two bottles of whisky produced is sold in India, and they are the biggest importers of Scotch. They know their whisky, so it is not surprising they can make a good drop too.
Try this: Paul John Bold Single Malt Indian Whisky
Created from Indian 6-row grown barley grown in the Himalayan foothills, this exceptional whisky is a meeting of worlds as the grain is peated using peat brought to Goa from the Isle of Islay in Scotland. The result is a silky smooth and delicious dram with savoury peat smokiness balanced by the signature hints of exotic spice and tropical fruit sweetness of Indian whisky. Appreciate the difference.
Japan - Whisky
Japanese whisky landed on the world stage in 2015 when one of whisky's most revered reviewers, Jim Murray, claimed a Japanese whisky as the best in the world. Since then Japanese whiskies have won many awards and gained a global reputation to rival the best of their Scottish counterparts. Likened to Scotch, they are of exceptional quality and contemporary in style. For whisky lovers, Japan is the place to go right now.
Try this: Akashi Blue Blended Whisky
The only whisky in the world produced under the supervision and guidance of a toji, a grandmaster of sake production. It is made using traditional sake methods, including smaller pot stills. A blended whisky, it is aged for two years in Japanese shochu barrels of American oak, then Bourbon barrels before being finished in sherry barrels for a year.