Yes, You Can, non alcoholic drinks, 4 x 250ml, $16.99.
With an increasing number of non-alcoholic mixers on the market it can be hard to find ones that don't present as flavoured fizzy water. If I'm drinking a non-alcoholic mixer, for whatever reason, I still want some of the thrill that, say, a gin and tonic on a warm summer's night, or the warmth of a rum can bring. These Australian-made mixers are among the best I've tried. Available in Spritz, Dark and Stormy and G&T (and a good value mixed pack), these small cans are full of complex and refined flavours that will surprise you. Gin offerings are always the standard to match, These are juniper led, with a touch of citrus, and a real bitterness that replicates the real thing. The Dark and Stormy was also well balanced, with touches of ginger, lime and a depth of flavour a good rum brings.
IronBark Hill Black Forest Stout, Pokolbin, NSW, 5.2%, $23 per 4 pack.
Next Thursday is St Patrick's Day and naturally many beer drinkers will be searching for the Guinness to party like a leprechaun. But if you dig a little deeper there's far more tantalising stouts on offer.
Since 2016 IronBark Hill at Pokolbin has been brewing some creative drops in the heart of Hunter wine country, and one of their best is the Black Forest Stout.
From the opening sip you'll notice the velvety chocolate and sweet cherry. Unlike some beers, this actually tastes like black forest cake, as the label states. That's because cherries and dark chocolate are added to the boil late in the fermentation, giving extra punch to the English hops, Australian Ale malt, chocolate malt and roasted barley.
Black Forest Stout is an ideal nightcap to wash down a decadent dessert.
Parker Coonawarra Estate 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon $24.
The Parker Coonawarra Estate brand is part of The Usual Suspects Collective that includes the Vickery, Hesketh, Ox Hardy, and St John's Road labels. Parker Estate was established in 1988 by accountant John Parker, who was one of the founders in the early 1960s of the original Hunter-based Hungerford Hill wine company. Now the wines are made by Andrew Hardy, a fifth-generation winemaker and great-great grandson of Hardy wine dynasty founder Thomas Hardy. This good-value cabernet sauvignon has 14.5% alcohol, dried cranberry and musk aromas and juicy blackberry front-palate flavour. The middle palate shows mulberry, bramble jelly, spice and cedary oak and a finish of dusty tannins. Good with cutlets and cellar four years.
Parker Coonawarra Estate 2020 Wild Ferment Barrel Elevage Chardonnay, $22.
Besides being a top businessman, John Parker was an ardent wine man driving Parker Estate to a Halliday Wine Companion ranking of five red stars. His death in 2002 was followed in 2004 by the brand's takeover by Rathbone Wine Group, owner of the Margaret River Xanadu, Yarra Valley's Yering Station and Grampians area's Mount Langi Ghiran labels. In 2012 Rathbone sold to Usual Suspects, which retails the wines at parkercoonawarraestate.com.au, Coonawarra cellar and Dan Murphy's BWS and other bottle shops. This enjoyable chardonnay is straw in the glass and has passionfruit scents, peach front-palate flavour and mango, cumquat and vanillin oak on the middle palate. Slatey acid plays at the finish. Drink with fishcakes and cellar three years.
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