From a Suffolk cider to a gin in Northumberland and a selection of malts, here’s some of the best bottles that Britain has to offer
Aspall Premier Cru Apple Cyder, Suffolk, UK (from £2, 50cl, Tesco; aspall.co.uk) A staycation is an opportunity to explore one of the livelier and more creative domestic industries of recent years. Whether it’s the small producer-led renaissance of traditional drinks (all those thousands of tiny craft brewers and artisan gin distillers that have emerged in the past decade) or the irresistible rise of English and Welsh wine (the total British vineyard has tripled in size since 2000), the 21st century has so far been a vintage time for British drinks. I’d start a Tour of British booze with cider. In the east, Suffolk’s Aspall’s has been going for the best part of 300 years, and its graceful, subtly perfumed, sparkling premier cru hasn’t lost any of its charm since the family sold up to US beer giant Coors Molson in 2018. In the west, I’d go for something from modern British cider-making’s presiding genius, ex-roadie Tom Oliver in Herefordshire, such as his complex, tangy, properly appley still Oliver’s Fine Cider Traditional Dry (£3.20, 50cl, oliversciderandperry.co.uk).
Hepple Gin, Northumberland, UK (£35.95, thewhiskyexchange.com; masterofmalt.com) A British beer road trip could start in London with the brashly brilliant Beavertown Brewery and their engagingly lurid Lupuloid IPA (£2.20, 33cl, Waitrose). It’s a benchmark modern IPA, all humid hothouse hoppiness, bright citrus and ripe tropical fruitiness. Next a detour to a classic family-owned regional brewer, Cornwall’s St Austell, and their most summery beer, the superbly refreshing, zesty, Tribute Pale Ale (£1.70, 50cl, Tesco), before heading to the very opposite end of England, and the superb Newcastle craft brewers, Wylam, known for their intense IPAs, but in Wylam Gold English Golden Ale (£3.50, 44cl, wylambrewery.co.uk) they have a classic, clean, crisp summery thirst-quenching golden ale which hits several spots. Staying in the North East, you can start an exploration of modern British gin at the Hepple estate in the Northumberland moors. This pristine, vivid presentation of the joys of juniper has notes of resinous pine, citrus and spice and is, as the makers intended, a beautiful base for a martini.
Staycation drinks: a tour of British tipples | David Williams