Drinks By The Dram Gin Festive Crackers - title shot

Okay hands up, who else is struggling with what to get the men in your life for Christmas? When I asked Oliver what he wanted he just shrugged and said “surprise me”, the two words that strike fear into my life. I even put out an SOS on Twitter earlier this month asking for people to link me up with their gift guides for men. There was nothing but tumbleweed. It seems that no one else has a bloody clue either.

Men, this is why you always end up with socks, Calvin K’s or an electric shaver!

One thing that I know that Oliver does always appreciate is a good gin so when Drinks By The Dram offered to send me one of their Gin Festive Crackers * to review, I was intrigued! Could this be the answer to my shopping woes?

The gift set arrived attractively packaged in festive green, gold and red.

Drinks By The Dram Gin Festive Crackers front of the box
Drinks By The Dram Gin Festive Crackers back of packaging

The crackers sit neatly inside festooned with gold bows.

Drinks By The Dram Gin Festive Crackers birdseye view of open box
Drinks By The Dram Gin Festive Crackers reveal of cracker with gold bows

I was slightly worried about pulling the cracker and immediately sending a bottle of gin smashing to the floor. I found the bottle wrapped up safely inside a joke and a party hat though – phew!

Drinks By The Dram Gin Festive Crackers bottle of gin
Drinks By The Dram Gin Festive Crackers unwrapped bottle of gin

There are six crackers in total, each one containing a different wax sealed 30ml dram of gin:

Drinks By The Dram Gin Festive Crackers alternative view of gin bottle
  • Ableforth’s Bathtub Sloe Gin
  • Ableforth’s Bathtub
  • Gold Infused Yuletide Gin (sadly this one is not suitable for vegans – contains milk and egg)
  • Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin (57% vol!)
  • Conker Spirit Dorset Dry Gin
  • Tanqueray Rangpur Gin

I know that you could buy one big bottle of gin for a similar price (a set retails at £34.95) but I love all the little details that have gone into this gift set. It’s a fun way for a gin lover to try out some award winning tipples from around the globe.

I’m also rather excited about laying them out on the dinner table, they’re going to look so good!

Drinks By The Dram Gin Festive Crackers picture of Ableforth's Bathtub Gin bottle

If you’re struggling to buy for the man in your life (or let’s not be sexist here, ANYONE that loves a good tipple!) the Drinks By The Dram Gin Festive Crackers are available online at Masters Of Malt and on Amazon. A Spirit and Liquers version of the cracker is also available along with a range of other themed selection boxes.


Remember that if you’re ordering online the last posting dates are:  Thursday 20th Dec (1st Class) and Saturday 22nd Dec (Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed).


LovedByLaura

*Disclaimer: Drinks By The Dram kindly gifted me their Gin Festive Crackers. They simply asked me to share my thoughts with my readers if I wanted to!




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Favourite Foodie Finds October

Wait… I planned to do a Favourite Foodie Finds in September, how is it already halfway through October?! Oh well, at least that means that I get to do some photo styling with autumnal leaves – yay! Here are my Favourite Foodie Finds for October… (and September!)

Snacks

Snack time: an important part of the workday, some might say THE most important part. Recently snack time has been 9.45am because I’ve been nailing finding low calorie snacks that don’t compromise on taste, which means they call to me from my handbag. I’m not usually even hungry!

Hippeas*

Favourite Foodie Finds October

To be honest I couldn’t imagine what the heck an ‘organic chickpea puff’ would be like but for only 90 calories per bag I was willing to try them to find out! They are actually extremely moreish, like a super crunchy more flavoursome version of a Wotsit! My favourite flavour is Sweet & Smokin’ made with paprika spice and smoked sea salt, but I’ve happily been making my way through all of the flavours on a regular basis (sorry colleagues!).

You can pick them up from Superdrug, Waitrose and Boots among other places – just look out for the sunny yellow packets!

Find out more at: Hippeas.com

Emily’s Fuit and Veg Crisps

Favourite Foodie Finds October

Okay, so if you want the healthiest option for a snack then you should probably just eat some raw fruit. Sometimes though I want something a bit more satisfying, or just lighter to make the commute that bit easier. I’m finding these a good compromise as an occassional snack. Each bag counts as one of my 5 a day, they’re vegan, gluten free and although high in natural sugars, are low fat and low calorie.

My favourites to munch on are Crunchy Red Apple, Crunchy Pineapple and Sweet Potato, Carrot and Beetroot.

You can pick them up in Holland and Barratt and Waitrose.

Find out more at: EmilyCrisps.com

Flavoured Pea Snacks with Chilli and Lime

Favourite Foodie Finds October

I went into Aldi looking for a footstool bargain (it was £40 and a dupe of a gorgeous The White Company one I have been lusting after!). Sadly there were none left and I was a bit hangry, so I looked around for an emergency snack. These are what I grabbed. Again, they are ridiculously low cal, cheap as chips but also surprisingly good! I can’t find a link to them but if you’re in Aldi have a look for them and let me know what you think!

Spreads

Pip and Nut – latest releases*

Favourite Foodie Finds October

Pip and Nut very kindly sent me a selection of their latest releases to try including the Limited Edition Chocolate Hazlenut Coconut butter which is a grown up version of chocolate spread.

I LOVE Pip and Nut, not only because all of their nut butters are delicious, but also because they make a point of not using palm oil and I fully support that. (My post here which explains why.)

They’ve also added crunchy versions of some of their spreads, much to my delight. I’m now rather partial to a spoonful of their crunchy peanut butter straight from the jar when I need an energy boost!

You can find Pip and Nut in most supermarkets these days and Holland and Barrett too.

Find out more at: PipandNut.com

The Naughty Ones

Okay so you didn’t think I’d been a saint all month did you? Hahaha nope. I ate ice cream and drank gin too. Eat good to eat bad – that’s my motto!

Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup

Favourite Foodie Finds October

This was a case of love at first bite and goddammit they had better stop reducing it to £2.50 soon or I’m going to need chairlifting off my sofa before long. It’s got huge Peanut Butter Cups in it, it’s chocolatey, it’s peanut buttery… it’s divine.

Favourite Foodie Finds October

Find out more at: BenJerry.co.uk

Rock Rose Premium Scottish Gin – Autumn Edition*

Favourite Foodie Finds October

I’m not much of a gin drinker but the fella is a connoiseur so when Rock Rose asked if I’d like to try their Autumn Edition I knew I’d have a willing volunteer to help me taste test it!

This is a really different gin to any that either of us have ever had before. It’s warm, herbaceous and a little bit spicy, distilled using traditional Rock Rose botanicals, blackberries and raspberries. It’s spot on for this time of year – pour a glass of it and enjoy snuggled under a cosy blanket!

Find out more/buy it at: Dunnetbaydistillers.co.uk

…so that’s my round up of Favourite Foodie Finds for October. What delectable goodies have you discovered recently?

LovedByLaura

*Disclaimer: Items marked with an asterisk were kindly gifted as PR samples for my consideration. As always I’ve given you my honest thoughts on each.

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Aldi recently sent me some spirits from their award winning range and invited me to put my creative spin on one of their latest Spring cocktail recipes. Inspired by N bringing home the juiciest punnet of strawberries I’ve ever seen at the weekend, I give to you the refreshing (and slightly lethal) Spring sensation: Gin and Prosecco Strawberry Smash!

Aldi-Spring-Cocktails-Prosecco-Gin-The-Strawberry-Smash

This cocktail is loosely based upon Aldi’s gin based recipe Blackberry Smash (full recipe here) but I’ve upped the ante by combining it with my favourite tipple: Prosecco.

Aldi-Spring-Cocktails-Prosecco-Gin-The-Strawberry-Smash

The sweetness of the strawberries and fizz is given a refreshing kick with lemon, lime and fresh mint to make it all rather moreish. And it’s called a Strawberry Smash because of the how you make the syrup, which is all part of the fun!

Aldi-Spring-Cocktails-Prosecco-Gin-Strawberry-Smash

Make up a jug full and share it with friends and family in the garden for a very lazy, happy Sunday. Alternatively if you’re reading this whilst the April showers do their worst, rustle up a glassful, close your eyes and take a sip… you’ll soon be dreaming of tropical islands!

Aldi-Spring-Cocktails-Prosecco-Gin-The-Strawberry-Smash

Variations

This cocktail is geared towards my sweet tooth. If you prefer your white wine spritzers with tonic water instead of lemonade then you might want to swop the Prosecco for tonic water or go half and half.

Strawberry Smash with Gin and Prosecco

Ingredients (serves 1)

Aldi-Spring-Cocktails-Prosecco-Gin-The-Strawberry-Smash

Directions

  • Juice the lemon and add this to a saucepan. Add the same amount of sugar (approx 3 tbsps but basically enough to cover the lemon juice) and stir the mixture over a low heat until it’s all dissolved.
  • Hull 6 strawberries, then slice 3 of these into halves and put these to one side. Using a muddler, pestle and mortar or the end of a rolling pin smash the remaining 3 strawberries into a pulp. Strain this into your sugar mix and stir through, then transfer the syrup to the refridgerator to cool.
  • Fill a glass with icecubes, then add 1 tablespoon of the fruit syrup, the juice of one lime wedge and the gin.
  • Add the sliced strawberries and the mint leaves, then top with prosecco.
  • Garnish with another strawberry and a sprig of mint.

Aldi-Spring-Cocktails-Prosecco-Gin-Strawberry-Smash

Thanks Aldi for spreading Spring inspiration and giving me an excuse to drink lots of lovely Prosecco. This weekend I’ll be making up some mango bellinis with the rest of the bottle – I can’t wait!

If you try this recipe make sure to take a picture and tag me on Instagram or Twitter @lovedbylaurac – I’d love to see! 

Looking for more Spring cocktail ideas? Try these:

For the chardonnay lovers: White Sangria | For more fizz: Prosecco Thyme

Aldi-Spring-Cocktails-Prosecco-Gin-The-Strawberry-Smash

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