Christmas comes but once a year, which is a good thing for the liver and wallet of those who want to enjoy a drink or two. One in four of us are tipped to visit the web this season to buy or find out more about products that have caught our eye, and the majority will be looking for a drink as well as something to eat.
Advertising itself as the UK’s oldest online off-licence, this Scottish Highlands-based company offers a one-stop shop for lovers of whisky and spirits. The site shop offers a full-range of malts and rare whiskies – as well as vodkas, cognac and armagnac – and promises its staff can leverage supplies of collector and limited edition bottles ‘no matter how rare the item.’ A bookshop has a good selection of relevant publications on the worldwide spirits industry. A drinks and beverage industry news section offers booze news as it breaks from across the world. Whiskynet.com editors make a virtue of the clean, but workaday site design, claiming that ‘… if you are fed up with flashy sites that offer nothing more than a limited range of commonly available mega brands, welcome to your manna in the wilderness.’ 7/10
One for the 19th-century bohemian, absinthe will make any party go with a bang and could even send your guests home in a whimper. This site is packed with valuable information about the once 136 proof hooch that was banned across Europe at the beginning of the last century, but has made a comeback over the last couple years in a relatively watered down 70 proof form thanks to the Czech Republic. Known as the Green Fairy for good reason, its use of the toxic chemical thujon present in wormwood has helped many a poet connect with the little people and turned painter Vincent van Gough to an early grave.
Also available in drops. 6/10
Not one for graphics but information rich on the myriad possibilities of putting spirits together in a glass, shaking and finding oneself with a drink that deserves an off-the-wall name. Weekly and all-time classic charts, and database statistics give more information than most would look for in their class of eggnog. A comprehensive listing of drinking games gives online access to the rules for old favourites such as Cardinal Puff and Fuzzy Duck, although Drink along with Dallas has been usurped by the Jerry Springer Drinking Game. Also features the useful ‘In My Bar’ section, which allows browsers to list ingredients in their drinks cabinet and offers online drinks solutions. Nice. 8/10
A slick, stylish site from the up-market trader Bibendum. Normal wine and vintage wine lists are introduced with pleasing world and regional maps that lead you to the company’s competitively priced selection of wines. The user friendly charts layout grower information and case prices, with the equivalent cost per bottle, while lively, adjective rich tasting notes make a good job at assaulting your better judgement and wallet. Alongside the basic wine list, which lists over 2,000 ready-to-drink wines, as well as featured wines and offers, there are separate site sections for fine wine and en primeur listings, which makes this site a good port of call for the serious vintner. 8/10
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