Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Review and cocktail recipes: Sweet Potato Spirit Company spirits

Humankind has a habit of getting creative when faced with a struggle. No grapes or grains handy, no problem! Carrots, mouldy fruit and ketchup, milk, or beetroot will all work just fine to make alcohol...

So when you think of sweet potatoes, your mind probably drifts to fries, wedges, or mash. But sweet potato booze? Well, the humble sweet potato has been taken to a higher (abv) plane by the lovely folks at the Sweet Potato Spirit Company (and with considerably more success than the mouldy fruit and ketchup method). 

I love a craft, artisan product, but obviously it has to live up to the big boys in the taste stakes... I was excited about these before they arrived though. I’d seen pictures of the bottles and they looked great. The branding is bright and fun, but definitely not too twee. 

While the four tall, slim bottles – Moonshine, Spiced Rum, Orangecello, and Raspberry – might not fit on your average bar shelf, they certainly stand out above everything else. Each bottle is topped off with a thick, wax seal, which took me a while to get off, but it was worth the hassle.

How do they taste?

This moonshine is so far away from the hooch, home-brew, white lightning, or whatever else you may be envisaging. As you may expect, this is the UK’s first sweet potato moonshine! Instead of Deliverance-esque chaps passing around petrol cans with big Xs on them, this moonshine is more akin to a smooth, light, whisky. There are notes of vanilla, stone fruit, and a bit of caramel sweetness on the finish.

You put the fine sugar cane molasses in the sweet potato and drink it all up. Ok, so that’s not quite as catchy as putting the lime in the coconut, but it’s just as tasty. I find some spiced rums to be a bit heavy, but this has got a great balance to it. There’s definitely some fire in there from ginger and warm spices, but it’s offset with treacle, cherries and even a light citrus note. I definitely prefer it to the mainstream spiced rums. 

While you may never have thought of putting oranges and sweet potatoes together before, be thankful that the Sweet Potato Spirit Company did. I really like this as it tastes like real oranges, rather than that strange synthetic taste you can get. It’s not too sweet, there’s plenty of zesty tanginess, and it works very well in fizz for an extra boozy Mimosa. 

This is a fruity little number! Similar to the Orangecello, it tastes like it should: like actual, real-life raspberries. There's a gentle sweetness, but it's not sickly. Once again, it works really, really well in fizz.

If you can’t decide which one to try first, you can buy a gift box, featuring 5cl miniatures of all four spirits, for £16.50.

Cocktails and serves

While all the spirits work as sipping drinks, they also work very well in cocktails...! 

Moonshine sour

50ml Moonshine
25ml fresh lemon juice
15ml sugar syrup
A few dashes of Angostura bitters

Add all your ingredients to a shaker filled with ice, and shake hard for 20-30 seconds.

Strain into a glass filled with crushed ice, and garnish with some orange peel.

Spiced SP mojito

50ml Spiced rum 
20ml simple syrup
A lime, cut into small chunks
10 mint leaves
(A little soda if desired)

Muddle the mint, lime pieces, and simple syrup in a glass, making sure you extract all the juice.

Half fill the glass with crushed ice.

Pour in your rum, and muddle again.

Top off with more crushed ice, and a little soda water if desired. 

Sweet potato Mimosa

Add a little Sweet Potato Orangecello Liqueur to a champagne flute, and top with your fizz of choice.

Raspberry fizz

The Sweet Potato Raspberry liqueur works just as well as the Orangecello with fizz. Garnish with a fresh raspberry. 

Gin raspberry cooler

50ml gin
50ml Raspberry liqueur
25ml fresh lemon juice
15ml sugar syrup

This is kind of a cross between a Bramble and a Gin Sour. The raspberry and lemon cut through the sweetness for a refreshing summery drink.

Add all your ingredients to a shaker, shake hard for 20-30 seconds.

Strain into a glass filled with crushed ice, and garnish with a raspberry. 

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