Low Holidays

All around the country, pagan-identifying types are tuning bare-breasted towards their nearest haul of ancient stones. The ground around Stone Henge will creak under the weight of flashers and dogging enthusiasts expunging ritual joy at the altar of the saggy boob and wonky dong. The Waitrose at Fleet Service station - positioned perniciously before turning into the tailbacks of the A303 - will see a year’s worth of trade between here and Glastonbury and back again. Pull up the effigies! Burn Farage! Burn BoJO! Just don’t forget the mini Molten Mowbray pork pies.

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Back-bar Boocha

Sweet, sour, booze.

This little triptych of ingredients form the basis for a wealth of cocktails and mixed drinks that have been adored, pored over and modified since such a time that these recipes were recorded. We know the ones: sidecar, daiquiri, margarita; and we know the genres: swizzles, fixes, rickeys. All have been ripped in two and rebuilt with cut bases of spirits, flavoured syrups, botanical enhancements, fire and smoke, alchemy and voodoo. One thing that remains largely untouched however, is one of those three key elements: the sour. Lemon and lime (occasionally grapefruit) sit unchallenged at the heart of all.

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Grain Focus × Rye Whiskey

From maligned and near-extinct, rye whiskey has undergone a serious renaissance over the past decade. A lot of that is down to one man’s passion: the late, great Dave Pickerell. Dave passed away at the end of last year but his imprint on whiskey is huge. Master distiller at Maker’s Mark up to 2008, Dave went on to start up WhistlePig Rye in Vermont and breathe new life into a sleeping American classic. Here, in our first Grain Focus interview; Alex spoke with Daniel Khan - the senior steward of the brand - to debunk a few myths, chat American history and knit through the fabric of the Whistle Pig story.

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