From refreshing Sprtizers to fine wines, I’ve put them to the test so you don’t have to try on your dime!
I have been on the hunt for new Summer additions for my own home bar, and I’ve had fun at home and in bars, experimenting with the beverages on the market that you can shop right now. Whether you’re just having easy fun teasing tastebuds with flavours OR you are a seasoned Mixologist, a well-stocked bar has revealed itself as a home essential for 2023 and onward.
It’s how many of us got through the pandemic lockdown too!
Today’s handpicked libations listicle is the culmination of diligent drinking efforts that bring the best in the market to you, and for a steal too! This is your summer shopping listicle on the ‘Top 10 Alcoholic & Non-Alcoholic Drinks to Stock Up On‘:
1. Mahala Botanical
There are heaps of spirits out there, but very few potent non-alcoholic ones.
Mahala Botanical makes the case for the power of booze-less botanicals, with their sugar-free, triple-distilled spirit. Dishing out honeybush notes as well as smoke and oak, the Mahal Botanical is an aromatic and spicy spirit laden with distinctly South African terroir.
Marry this spirit with a carefully chosen Tonic, and garnish with orange (or berries). You’re in summer mode now, with this premium pick!
2. Lanzerac 2020 Pinotage
With rich heritage backing it, the 2020 Pinotage from Lanzerac tastes pleasantly of ripe plums and mocha – an elegant wine smoothly making its mark with just a sip in a way only seasoned estates can truly bottle & serve so perfectly and consistently.
You don’t have to be a collector and connoisseur to enjoy this one at first purchase – though it’s said that during 5 – 10 years of maturation, the 2020 Lanzerac Pinotage will start to acquire a velvet density and luxurious chocolate and caramel flavours.
So it’s a keeper offering truly sensational mouth-feel that doesn’t overwhelm and flavour which goes the distance.
3. Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel wines
With its soft bubbles and pale salmon hue, the Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rosé 2021 born in the heart of the Stellenbosch wine region, for example, simply delights along with the persistent mousse and berry bliss on the palate.
Simonsig has a collection of Kaapse Vonkel wines under the banner categorization of Cap Classique sparkling wines (including the gold-hued 2021 Vonkel Brut), and they each bear their own personalities and one unifying attribute: They’re just really fantastic drinks!
Some of them are even Vegan-friendly!
The energetic 2021 sparkling MCC is laden with notes of strawberries and stone fruits, while the Satin Nectars are a gift of peaches and sun-ripe apples, along with tropical fruits, and then let hints of lemon cream biscuits and mango hitting sweet notes on the tongue.
4. Harry Lemon Spritz
What’s a Spritz, firstly?
(Accesssed in 2023). Category Manager at Bi-Rate. For Bi-Rate.Liz Rubin.
And the full-bodied Harry Lemon Spritz is the non-alcoholic Beau Constantia-born iteration of this storied cocktail that’s made its mark around the world.
While herbaceous thanks to its botanical base, it’s more the lemon that zings its way into people’s Must-Have summer order. The award-winning Harry Lemon Spritz is perfect for a sunshine-filled afternoon but can be enjoyed anywhere and anytime thanks to its ready-to-drink bottling and low sugar content. Guilt-free citrusy pleasure!
5. Summer Holiday Iced Tea(bag) Taster or other boxed teas
Featuring fifteen (15) incredible tea blends each individually packed, The Tea Chest SA‘s Iced Tea selection is perfect for those who don’t want to commit to buying just one drink flavour without trying a few others.
From Moroccan Mint to Darjeeling, Red Chai etc. you could have a perfectly civilized Wes Anderson-style afternoon with these colourfully packaged teas, or make it a fun tea-tasting experience with various iced teas made that you and others can try and guess at.
There are different ways you can prepare these iced teas too (the lazy can even drop the tea bags into a good old coffee machine to infuse), and leftover tea can be turned into ice blocks for your cocktails too!
Get some use from your big bottles and jugs in storage, and start loading your fridge with DIY iced tea!
6. Cape Velvet
I know that creamy liqueurs aren’t for everybody….but they definitely are for the sweet-toothed and brandy-loving brigade!
I’m properly stocked on the wine-based Cape Velvet creme liqueur offerings which are made in South Africa and available from Cutler Drinks.
This is a smooth and decadent choice made with real cream, that tastes like dessert and feels like more than just drinking. It’s an experience!
7. Darling Cellars Sparkling Rosé
I’ve always been a fan of aesthetics and quality working in tandem, and the Darling Cellars Sparkling Rosé is a shining example of this.
When chilled, this bubbly is a treat – sweet plum and strawberry notes pleasantly blending to a pink-hued effervescent finish.
This one is uncomplicated and non-alcoholic (0.45% ABV) – despite its 96% Sauvignon Blanc and 4% Grenache premium quality grapes composition!
Courtesy of DRINK NIL. (Accessed in 2023)
It is also available from the local bastions of stocking tasty & trendy de-alcoholised beverages: Drink Nil!
8. Beau Constantia PAS DE NOM WHITE
Take yourself to picturesque pastoral lands with one sip of this wine, from one of the Cape’s preeminent winemakers.
This wine is the inexpensive choice that any host worth their salt should have chilling in their cooler, and ready to pour out with nearly any meal. It is the universal plug fit for refined palates and newbie wine drinkers alike (I think it’s the refreshing minerality), and it has endeared itself to a large drinking market through its notes of, oddly enough: guava, asparagus and white peach.
9. Radford Dale Gamay Noir
Radford Dale’s Gamay Noir is generous in its contemporary elegance, gentle with its ultra-fine tannin, and rewards the drinker with what the winemaker says is a “medium weight” wine with a full finish.
The first sniff permeates the nose with notes of raspberry, the much-beloved mulberry, and evokes any number of dark-red fruits through its aroma.
Its oak barrel fermentation and maturation comes up too, to those awaiting the reputation of a visibly strong Reds woodsy note, to precede it.
This Vegan-friendly wine will impress and satisfy, regardless of season!
10. Nikka Whisky from The Barrel (by the glass at The Taj)
Okay, I really wanted this one on my summer drinks listicle because I recently had a sensational Whisky Tasting at The Taj Hotel and got introduced to this incredible full-bodied whisky gem.
By the bottle it’s pricey, but gathering yourself and your people for an experience beyond home is healthy.
I say head to The Taj Hotel for a whisky tasting, or a drinks session at the Taj’s Lobby Lounge.
The Nikka Whisky from The Barrel is what to order; Aged to perfection in oak casks and made in Japan, this drink pours toffee, caramel, and winter notes out in delectable portions.
It’s spicy and warm, and its malt whisky blend is complex enough to impress any whisky aficionado.