Stone's Ginger WineOne of my favourite mood shifting drinks for languishing on a sunny afternoon or early evening, has to be the Whisky Mac. The fine taste of Scotch Whisky and ginger wine takes the sharper edges off the worst of prickly days.

Thus it is worth mentioning that the celebrated creators of the finest ginger wine, Stone's, have brought out a limited edition of specially designed bottles to pack into your jubilee hamper.

I road tested the contents last week with visiting relatives.  Having mixed up the rather long Mac, I was interrupted in my pleasurable supping by a text message luring me down to the Old Ship Pub on the Thames in Hammersmith.  I slipped out unnoticed leaving Ch and her mother chatting over their Whisky and Stone's Ginger Wine (her mother being an inveterate whisky and ginger drinker).  

Well the cocktail certainly came up trumps.  By the time I returned about an hour later there was nothing but vapour trails and surreal guffawing going on.  The conversation had unwound to nostalgic remembrances of times past. The brew had worked its tasteful magic. I'm promptly poured another round and soldiered on.

The Queen's Jubilee period is up on us. I urge you to arm yourself with a bottle of Stone's and Scotch for when the going gets tough.  Deliciously fun!

Winemaker and owner Nicola D’Auria greeted us at the entrance of this fascinating cantina. The winery and cellars have been designed by Rocco valentini in the shape of a vertical barrel in order to immerse the tasters senses in wine.

 

East from Roma to Abruzzo

From Rome we headed east to Abruzzo, a region of Italy that rises up like a burly landlord to greet the traveller. The Apennine mountains at their tops are stark and beautiful, lonely, yet fulsome. Rustic doesn’t quite do this landscape justice. It’s a place for pilgrims, peace lovers and, of course, we followers of Bacchic and gastronomic pleasure.

 

After days of picking grapes in one of the world’s most famous wine regions, the pickers get together to drink, chat and enjoy the drinks they are meticulously involved in the making of. 

Also check out local winemaker, Nico’s, top tip for a white Burgundy from Saint Aubin that you don’t have to travel to Burgundy to get!

 

What started in El Quatre Gats tapas bar in Barcelona, soon became an adventure in the Marche region of Italy, that lies along the east coast facing Albania across the Adriatic Sea. El Quatre Gats is famously where Picasso had his first solo exhibition as a young edgy artists in the Catalan capital and I was there dining with Dr Pia Casarini Wadhams, Director of Italy’s only Polar Institute, Il Polo.

 

The Palazzo is located in the centre of Fermo, a small Roman hilltop town with a rich history dating back to antiquity. Flying from abroad, Ancona is the closest airport, 67km north (about an hours drive) along the coast of the Adriatic sea.