What to Drink

Sometimes you need inspiration to try something new to drink, and getting advice from a sommelier can be what helps you discover a new favourite drink. From our Women in Business Newsletter, we pick out seasonal recommendations for you each month.

Sparkling wine from different vintages in a vertical wine tasting

Rosé Champagne from André Clouet

If we can’t celebrate on a Friday evening, when can we? Skip the large Champagne houses with huge marketing budgets and focus more on branding than taste. This rosé gives good quality for money and offers everything we would want from a sparkling wine like this. It tastes of strawberries, raspberries, red cherries with some toast and bread. Very fresh with the acidity balanced by just 8g sugar per litre, putting it safely into the Brut category.

Sparkling red Lambrusco

It might look like a really dark rosé Champagne, but it’s actually red wine. This particular type of sparkling wine is produced in Emilia-Romagna in central Italy. Local grapes like Lambrusco Salamino, Lambrusco Grasparossa and Lambrusco di Sorbara are used for the production, and most of the wines will be made using the tank method, meaning it’s slightly different from Champagne. The wine is kept in contact with the grape skins for 1-4 days depending on how deep colour and how much tannin the producer wants to extract. Most wines will have medium tannins, some sweetness from residual sugar and taste of strawberry. They will also often be made with less bubbles than traditional Champagne. Price-wise they’re relatively inexpensive, and while this will not usually be a very complex wine, it’s still easy and fruity to drink and it’s a lot more adventurous than the classic Prosecco.

White English Pinot Noir from Artelium

Red Pinot Noir is often a favourite because of its distinct pale colour and red fruit aromas. But did you know that Pinot Noir can just as well be made into a white wine? The most common example of this is in Champagne where it’s the most used grape alongside Chardonnay. As it grows well in cool climates, several English vineyards have tried to establish their own Pinot Noir. Artelium only made 500 of this white Pinot Noir which has also been aged in oak barrels. It tastes of white peach, red apple, cloves and vanilla.

Wine as a vertical wine tasting

What does that mean, you say? This is when you taste several vintages of the same wine at the same time. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get your hands on vintage Bordeaux from the 80s to do this. You can try bottles from 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and get a great impression of how the wine ages. Note that most wine producers will make minor adjustments each year, but many of them (especially for sparkling wine) will try to keep to a house style. You can expect to find some variations based on how hot or cool that year was (hotter years give riper fruit aromas), but one of the most interesting things to see is how the wine develops in the bottle. If you have a normal cork, a tiny bit of oxygen slips through and this will react with the wine, making it slightly oxidised. For wine that has the concentration and characteristics to develop over time, you can see a Chardonnay tasting of lemon, peach and apple suddenly get aromas of nuts, or you can see a Cabernet Sauvignon go from intense blackcurrant and eucalyptus to getting layers of leather and meat. I recommend getting together with some friends so you can open all the bottles at once, as it’s very difficult to compare two wines if you taste them days or weeks apart.

Kir royal

It’s one of the easiest drinks you can ask for at a bar. It’s an upgrade from a Kir which is made from Cassis (cherry liquor) and Aligoté (a very acidic white wine from Burgundy). It has a splash of Cassis combined with a glass of Champagne. To get the same toasty and bready flavours Champagne would normally give, we recommend adding Cava, Cremant, English sparkling wine, Franciacorta or MCC instead as a budget version since these are produced the same way as Champagne. Though English sparkling wine will often be closest to the high acidity in Champagne which makes it a perfect match for the very sweet Cassis. Make sure you only add a little at a time so the liquor doesn’t overwhelm the Champagne.

Lavender and chamomile ice tea

Pouring lavender ice tea over ice in a glass

London is currently mid-heatwave, and so are plenty of other cities around the world. And while the Brits love their tea, most cannot bear to put anything into their body that might make them warmer right now. Making ice tea is easy, but you need a bit of time. Heat up 1 litre filtered water to 70° C and pour it into a teapot. Infuse the tea with 2 tsp dried culinary lavender, 3 tsp dried chamomile and 2 tsp green tea. When the tea is starting to cool down, take the dried leaves out and squeeze in juice from 1 1/2 lemon. Pour over ice and stir in drops of stevia to adjust to your preferred level of sweetness. No more heat exhaustion for you! 

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