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Pickled herring whisky and other curiosities

There’s no denying that 2020 has been a strange year full of unexpected twists and turns. To cap it off, we’ve rounded up a selection of unusual spirits that reflect 2020’s unpredictable nature, from pickled herring whisky to banana peel rum.


White wine gin liqueur

We begin with an unexpected combination of two different forms of alcohol. This white wine gin liqueur is made by Uncommon Drinks and harnesses the flavours of sweet grapes and zesty citrus with tart juniper. If white wine is not to your taste, the range also includes a red and rosé gin liqueur, and with a reduced alcohol content of 20%, the focus with this one is on savouring the flavour. The only question now is what kind of glass to serve it in?


Wasabi vodka

This flavoured vodka is not for the faint of heart, and sure does pack a punch. Distilled with English-grown wasabi, The Wasabi Company designed this drink to bring out the fresh and fiery taste of real wasabi. It is said to boast bold flavours of mustard and radish that “brood under the drink’s sweetness, with high notes of pepper and star anise.”


Strawberry and balsamic vinegar gin

Not a flavour combination that will immediately have your mouth watering, this strawberry and balsamic vinegar gin by That Boutique-y Gin Company combines the sweetness of summer strawberries with Italian balsamic vinegar from Modena, which is aged between 12 and 25 years in wooden barrels. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but this gin is “woody and warm” and “moves quickly to a savoury taste on the palate”.


Pickled herring whisky

With a name like Fishky, you get one chance to guess what this next wacky spirit flavour might be. Yes, that’s right, it’s fish. And not just any fish; this single malt barrel aged whiskey is infused with pickled herring. Originally distilled by Bruichladdich in Scotland, the whiskey was then sold to a buyer in Germany who put it into a herring cask. You have as many questions as we do…


Discarded banana peel rum

Discarded Spirits Co. is all about using products that would ordinarily go to waste in order to create weird and wonderful new drinks while saving the planet at the same time. This banana peel rum combines two ingredients that would be classed as waste; the rum it uses is used to impart flavour on empty whiskey casks to prepare them for the final phase of whiskey maturation. This ‘finishing’ rum is now being repurposed, in combination with waste banana peels, to create a flavour that is both “sweet and fruity”, ideal for making Daiquiris or mixed with ginger ale.


Apple crumble gin

Apple crumble – the classic British dessert served best with custard or vanilla ice cream – has now been made into a flavouring of gin. Distilled with toasted oats, Cheshire apples, cinnamon, demerara sugar, orange peel and juniper, this creation by Cheshire distillery Three Wrens is best served with elderflower tonic and a slice of fresh green apple.


Peanut butter whiskey

Originating in Ocean Beach, California, Skrewball whiskey was started by couple Steven and Brittany Yeng. Their black sheep logo encapsulates everything the brand represents within the spirits industry, as its signature Peanut Butter whiskey is an unexpected fan favourite. This drink combines the creamy richness of peanut butter with “bold and fiery whiskey flavours”, and will add an interesting twist to any cocktail.


Fresh cut grass vodka

Oddka’s Fresh Cut Grass vodka may sound like an odd one, but it is not as surprising as you might think. In fact, the spirit is not actually flavoured with grass as one might assume, but the kiwi fruit, melon and grapefruit flavours it is infused with give it a fresh and grassy character which is where it gets its name.


Jaffa Cake gin

Is a Jaffa Cake a cake or a biscuit? This age old question has had people worked up for years, but now we finally have an answer: neither. It’s a gin. Distilled with oranges, orange peel, cocoa powder and actual jaffa cakes, the label claims that this children’s snack-inspired spirit will make the best Negroni mankind has ever tasted. The distinctive taste of the Jaffa Cake blends with the juniper base to create a “one of a kind” flavour.


Dill pickle whiskey

You may be surprised to learn that this Whicked Pickle dill pickle infused whiskey that originated in Missouri is expanding its distribution, and will be available for purchase across the US in early 2021. The spirit takes inspiration from a type of shot called the Pickleback, wherein a shot of whiskey is followed by a shot of pickle brine. Both original and unexpected, Whicked Pickle is, according to its makers, “spicy and bold” and claims to be the perfect partner to a cold pint.

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