Light and breezy drinks of the rum and gin variety are about to dominate the season, and here are four bottles that invite cocktail experimentation. Whiskey lovers can revel in a lush new Scotch expression, while pop culture enthusiasts will gravitate towards an especially vibrant Cinco de Mayo–ready tequila offering. Bright citrus and complex vegetal liqueurs also snag the spotlight this month. — By Alia Akkam
The long romanticized, ancient Spice Route, that nascent form of commerce beloved by merchants, is the inspiration behind aromatic Opihr. This London dry gin, made at England’s circa-1761 G&J Distillers, features evocative Eastern botanicals, including Moroccan coriander, Indian black pepper, and Cubeb berries from Indonesia.
Venezuelan-made Diplomático Rum has a new Tradition range, spanning the flagship Reserva Exclusiva, cocktail-friendly Mantuano, and rich Planas. The latter is a blended white rum, aged up to six years, and charcoal-filtered. Its notes of citrus and toffee lead to soft spice that shines in Daiquiri form.
Washington, D.C.–based distillery Don Ciccio & Figli is known for making elegant, Italian-style aperitivos. The latest: Bitter C3 Carciofo Artichoke Liqueur, infused with three different versions of the California-grown thistle, along with grapefruit and nearly 20 botanicals. Let it stand in for Campari in an herbal Negroni riff.
More than 30 estate-grown ingredients buoy the ambitious Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin, such as sloe, rosehip, lavender, and almond shell. But what makes this spirit—which hails from Germany’s Saar region that borders France and Luxembourg—stand out is the botanicals’ infusion of Riesling grapes hand-plucked from the vineyard’s steep shale slopes. Pair it with tonic for a floral, citrusy G&T
Glenmorangie’s Private Edition series now makes way for Bacalta, the Scots’ Gaelic word for “baked.” First aged in one-time bourbon barrels, then matured in custom casks baked under the sun that once held coveted Malmsey Madeira, Glenmorangie Bacalta is an ode to the Portuguese island of Madeira. Honeyed on the nose, with baked fruit on the palate, it culminates in caramelized citrus
Jacques Cousteau and Jules Verne have helped reinforce France’s image as a pioneering underwater nirvana. SPYTAIL Black Ginger Rum, a nod to vintage submarines, channels such deep-sea adventures. Produced by La Compagnie Bathysphere, SPYTAIL is based on a 19th-century recipe and distilled in the Caribbean—then aged, spiced, blended, and bottled in Cognac. It’s perfect in a classic Dark & Stormy.
An ancient fruit embraced in rituals of the Jewish festival Sukkot, etrog is an obscure citron that propelled couple Howard and Marni Witkin to make their own liqueur. Etrog, the first product from Beverly Hills–based Sukkah Hills Spirits, is slightly sweet and redolent of lemon blossom with warm spice. Sip it chilled as a springtime digestif.
To commemorate Jose Cuervo’s 222nd anniversary, artist Ricardo Cavolo dreamed up a quartet of eye-catching label images for a limited-edition series of the tequila. Heart, “devil’s water,” lady, and music all depict touchstones celebrated throughout the brand’s history, from a female running the company post-revolution to the Rolling Stones’ “Tequila Sunrise” tour.