Festival Season Drinks Guide 2022

Hold your bikinis, grab a picnic blanket, esky and get ready for the latest and greatest new drinks and brand icons which should be part of your cocktail cart this summer. Enjoy on your own or with friends…

Meet Kinny! He’s a new release bad boy lager from Black ‘n Tackle by Brent Smith. The Kincumber-based brewery (on the Central Coast) is famous for creating region-inspired brews. Our little four pack arrived and we lurve the beer. It’s a citrusy number but has lots of flavour from flaked maize additions. The can design celebrates the town’s boardwalk memorial to local ship building heritage and the mountain’s local wildlife in a collaboration with #LoveCentralCoast. See more here

Cowra Distilling Co – Tasting Pack

By the banks of the Murray River, Corowa’s Flour Mill built the town from the ground up, exporting grains across the world. She was a powerhouse until her doors shut in 1970 and the building was left to decay. Then these guys came along with a vision to put Cowra back on the map, the council sold it for $1, well they delivered. The team was invited to London for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, that says something. A town reborn, a new industry and a pride in whisky that takes its name. We loved our tasting pack (Characters, Barrel House XB, Private Notes, Mad Dog Morgan, Bosque Verde). Mad dog was our fav with burnt butter, caramel and orange flavours. COROWA CORE RANGE TASTING PACK – $85.00

Tsarine Champagne

Award-winning Tsarine may not be a champagne you have tried before. We love it has a female winemaker, Isabelle Tellier. Its origins go back to 1787, when the founding brothers served their Chanoine Frères champagne at the tables of the very highest aristocracy, from the Court of the King of France to England, Germany and Imperial Russia. We popped open a bottle and love its floral fruit flavours of nectarine and apricots with a dry, citrusy finish. It’s not your big, bold heavy champagne but a lighter, more feminine style.

Minchinbury Reserve  – Perfect for parties

Just in time for the entertaining season, legendary 100-plus year-old wine label, Minchinbury, has just launched Minchinbury Reserve, featuring a delicious Chardonnay Pinot Noir (easy drinking crisp apple and stone fruit flavours) and a Chardonnay Pinot Rosé (floral, delicate fresh citrus and cherries. This one’s a great value. RRP: $11.99 each

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple & Soda Premix

Now, this is a strange little number! And not your ordinary pairing, either. It’s Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey paired with apple and soda! Pull back the ring on the can, and a burst of strong apple ambrosia hits you. Yum! It’s likely to apple-peel (bad pun, sorry!) to cider drinkers rather than hardened whisky fans as it’s fun and frivolous. Also, definitely quaffable with only 4.4%  ALC/VOL
RRP of $23 for a four-pack. 

When Aussie actor and star of the hugely popular Vikings series, Travis Fimmel, teamed up with MasterChef winner-turned-judge and restauranteur Andy Allen, they created a ‘sessionable’ low-carb mid-strength beer – Travla. It’s a tasty little drop, thanks to Melba hops with mild fruitiness and just a hint of bang-on bitterness. Bring on the sunshine. RRP 24-can case is $59 and six-packs $20. Available at Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and First Choice stores nationally. www.travla.com.au

Scarborough Wine Co – Keepers of The Flame

Affectionally known for its premium ‘Yellow bottle’ chardonnay. Scarborough is much loved around the world. This new label,
Keepers of the Flame celebrates the rarity of excellence. The trio of wines derive from three special vintages (2019, 2020 and 2021) as the next generation of the Scarborough family takes the vineyard into the future. Grown from the very best small-parcel vines, with sustainability at its heart, this is a very special gift.  It’s been a tough few years in the Hunter Valley (drought, bushfires, Covid-19 and the more recent floods). However, three unseen vintages, each slightly different from the other, make their mark by utilising fruit from distinctive Scarborough-owned vineyards, will appeal to die-hard fans. Our favourite was the 2020; big, bold and utterly delicious.
www.scarboroughwine.com.au/Our-Wines/Keepers-Of-The-Flame RRP $100 each or $250 for the trio.

Jon Bon Jovi’s Hampton Water Rosé:

What happens when a rockstar and his son, Jesse, collab with one of the finest French winemakers, Gerard Bertrand? Hamptons Water Rose is the delicious result. Grapes are hand-picked from the best terroirs in Languedoc, Gerard Bertrand, with a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvedre grapes aged in French oak barrels. The bottle is beautiful with a glass stopper, and the wine is a delicate pale blush.  It’s floral on the nose with red fruit, citrus, minerals and spice. Available from Dan Murphy’s stores for $34.99 per bottle, or $199.80 for a case of 6.

Bag a Bagnum for your next picnic

Meet the fancy cousin of cask wine; the goon bag is getting a makeover with the impressive new ‘magnum in a bag’. In fact, it’s the must-have accessory for summer. Choose from two portable pig varietals – the Squealing Pig Sauvignon Blanc and the Squealing Pig Pinot Gris, which is our fave and has a lovely balance of nashi pear and juicy stone fruit. the bags have carbon emissions seven times lower than a traditional 750ml bottle, so impress your buddies with your more sustainable choice. Just add a picnic hamper and blanket!
Squealing Pig Pinot Gris Bagnum 1.5L RRP $37 at major retailers.

Cointreau Salt Rimmer Gift Pack

Photo credit: Cointreau

You know you can’t have an authentic margarita without Cointreau, right? Created originally in 1948 by chic American socialite Margaret Sames, the recipe was born when she mixed her two favourite spirits together; orangey Cointreau and Blanco Tequilla. So why not go all out by salting your margarita glass before adding that green pinwheel of lime? Guaranteed to please and pretty as a picture, this is one present that won’t get re-gifted. The Christmas Pack includes a full-sized 700ml bottle of dreamy Cointreau liqueur and a custom salt rimmer just right for at-home bartenders. (We also like it with rock sugar!) RRP- $60 at all the best retailers.

Fireball Cinnamon Flavoured Whiskys

These cans of cinnamon-flavoured Canadian whisky will up your BYO game and tantalise your tastebuds. We like the yellow cans with the apple flavour – think fresh apple pie, but the black and red cans with the cola never fail to disappear either. Drink them right from the can, cold and convenient, or add some magic of your own in the form of pineapple juice, mint or a fresh squeeze of lime. Why stick with boring beer when you’ve got something much more exciting? Did we mention the cans glow in the dark?! Cheers to that!  RRP- $25.00 for a four-pack

Diplomatico Rum

Diplomático’s distillery lies at the foot of the Andes Mountains in Venezuela, where the purest of waters make the very best of rums. Undergoing three different distillation processes, this painstaking procedure serves to create fantastic cocktails for entertaining. We loved the Diplomatico Old Fashioned – 50ml Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva + 5ml Gingerbread syrup + 2 dashes Aromatic bitters. Simply add the ingredients into your glass, and garnish with orange peel & a gingerbread mini! More, please! Check out stockists here  from $79.00

Smirnoff Hard Seltzers 

Sometimes, you just want something a bit lighter and fizzy without giving up the fun. Just in time for summer, it’s Smirnoff to the rescue with their hard seltzers in Watermelon Margarita and Spicy Margarita. Vodka, sparkling water and natural flavours combine to please your palette straight from the slender colourful can. With only 107 calories, low in sugar and 7% alcohol, these are a great choice for whiling away the warm weekends or even for that cheeky mid-week breather. Pop them in a cooler bag for the beach and keep the fridge stocked.  RRP- $25.99 for a four-pack

Plantation Rum Experience

Now, this is a great gift to open! The box reveals 6x 100ml rums from six different destinations to represent the world of gourmet spirit. The first is 3 Stars White Rum; blended from rums from Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica, we dive into an ocean of richness and balance. Original Dark Rum; composed of blends from Jamaica and Barbados. They’re richer thanks to a second maturation in the cellars of Maison Ferrand. Grande Reserve; a yummy Barbadian rum with notes of toasted coconut and woody vanilla. Gran Añejo; hails from Guatemala and Belize. Fresh floral notes with oak, vanilla, pear and fresh green apple. Xaymaca; is a blend of Jamaican Rums, quite complex and slightly smoky, with a dry, floral and fruity palate. Lastly, XO 20th Anniversary, is the flagship in the range. An elaborate-tasting rum with a lovely mouthfeel and extraordinary length.
RRP $99 David Jones and other stockists

Benriach – The Twelve

To make Benriach Twelve, Benriach spirit is ‘three cask matured’ for at least twelve years in sherry and bourbon barrels as well as port casks. Each cask is then blended to create a smooth, sherry-rich single malt that sings in its flavour. We loved its golden honey colour, with a nose of berries and a lovely taste of maple honey and cocoa. Perhaps, there’s a hint of juicy sultanas with a spiced mocha finish.
RRP $95 at Dan Murphy’s, First Choice, Vintage Cellars

Non-Alchoholic Choices

Athletic Brewing Company

Athletic Brewing Co. have two sensational non-alcoholic brews that gift the familiar taste of a cold beer on a hot summer’s day without hampering one’s New Year’s health goals. The Run Wild IPA combines a citrus taste upfront with a hint of pine finish, making it truly hard to tell it’s non-alcoholic. The Upside Dawn Golden Ale has a light body and some delicate floral notes. Our fave? The IPA, which packs a flavour punch. And, they’re a Certified B Corp. Winning.
RRP $37.99 for a variety 12-pack Shop here

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


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