This weekend, more than most, you probably feel like a drink. Easter is the perfect excuse to pop a cork or pour a cold beer; now, each sip, even if it’s not alcoholic, tastes precious. Securing an online food delivery is challenging enough, but off-licences are open at the time of writing, and more and more retailers are trying innovative ways to get their drinks to customers.
Whether it’s a glass of off-dry Mosel riesling you crave or the clink of ice in a G&T, our wine, beer and spirit experts tip their favourites. Place an order and savour its eventual arrival, or cut out and keep until times are more certain.
Melissa Cole’s refreshing beers and ciders
Exale Krankie Iron Brew Sour
4.2%, £4.80 for 440ml, indiebeer.co.uk
There’s a fine line between genius and insanity and this beer walks that well: it’s subtly sharp and refreshing initially, but then you get a sudden rush of Irn Bru flavours. For those who drank the pop ‘made from girders’, it will bring an almost Blyton-esque nostalgia.
Stewart Brewing Radical Road
6.4%, £1.50 for 330ml, Sainsbury’s
A stalwart of the craft-beer industry, Stewart Brewing is often overlooked, which is a shame because this is a bargain. Full of tropical fruit, with a spicy malt body and a nice dry pop of grapefruit pith at the end, it’s easier to drink than its ABV would suggest.
5.8%, £2.50 for 375ml, Tesco
If you’re going to swap milk chocolate for something a little darker at Easter, I recommend drinking this beer with it. A lightly sour and very fruity oud bruin (old brown) Belgian ale with lashings of sweet cherry notes, it will enliven your tastebuds.
Waitrose low alcohol cider
1%, £1.19 for 500ml, selected stores and online
I was surprised and impressed when I tried this low-alcohol offering; it gave me everything I wanted in a light, quaffable cider: honeyed apple, a little dry and with a gentle bop of tannin on the end, making it a very pleasant option for Easter lunch.
Adnams Ghost Ship
0.5%, £1.59 for 500ml, Tesco, or £1.49 for 330ml, wisebartender.co.uk
As ever, if Adnams does something, it does it well. Having invested in a reverse-osmosis machine to remove the alcohol, avoiding the need to subject the beer to heat, it produces an extremely faithful recreation of the original Ghost Ship ale, with its lovely bready character and orangey hop hints.
Hamish Anderson's bright whites and bubbles
Graham Beck Brut Rose NV, South Africa
12%, £15.99 (£13.99 in a mixed six), Majestic; check availability and delivery with your local shop
There are few better wines than sparkling rosé to welcome spring, and Graham Beck’s iteration is one of the best-value bottles around. Cranberries and raspberries are framed by a creamy texture.
Roebuck Estates Classic Cuvee 2014, Sussex, England
12%, £35, roebuckestates.co.uk; offering free delivery on all orders
This sparkling is a new discovery for me; only the second vintage, yet it is mightily impressive. Lemon curd and spice sit over a yeasty, brioche-infused core – it’s an intense wine, but with plenty of freshness.
Emiliana Organic Chardonnay 2018, Casablanca, Chile
13.5%, £8, Marks & Spencer; in-store only
This is a lovely bright chardonnay with notes of apple, citrus and raw nuts, from one of Chile’s leading organic producers. It can be sipped as an aperitif, but will also align with dishes like asparagus and Jersey Royals.
Trinity Hill Chardonnay 2016, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
12.5%, £16, Booths
This chardonnay from Trinity Hill, one of best producers in the Hawkes Bay, has a light touch. It reminds me of great chablis, with some honey, flowers, fresh nuts and lemon. Fantastically versatile, it is as happy with food as without.
Riesling Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett 2018, Willi Schaefer, Mosel, Germany
7.5 %, £19.95, Tanners; contact your local branch for delivery information
Willi Schaefer is one of the Mosel’s finest estates and this style of off-dry riesling, with fresh flowers, exotic spice, smoke and mandarin, is just so refreshing and mood-lifting that I can think of no better glass to pour at Easter.
Hamish Anderson’s radiant reds, roses and port
Muga Rioja Rosado 2018, Spain
Some rosé at this time of year can taste a little tired, and you would be better off awaiting the soon-to-arrive 2019s. Muga, though, is still on top form, with typical red fruits backed up by peach and dried thyme.
Edoardo Miroglio Soli Pinot Noir 2017, Thracian Valley, Bulgaria
13.5%, £12.95, swig.co.uk
This Bulgarian estate has a reputation for making some of the best-value versions of this capricious variety. Soli is a light, delicate, perfumed delight with red cherry, strawberry and savoury depth. It can also be served chilled.
St Chinian Les Moulines Reserve 2018, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
13.5%, £7.99, Lidl
This is a wonderful southern French red, with exceptional purity of fruit. A blend of syrah and grenache, it is mid-weight and supple with blueberry, red plum and a twist of black pepper.
Boekenhouts-kloof The Chocolate Block 2018, Western Cape, South Africa
Although this is a dense, brooding, young wine laden with blackberry and dark plum, there’s also elegance and poise. Drink it with a leg of lamb.
Booths 20-year-Old Tawny Port, Douro Valley, Portugal
19%, £21 for 50cl
Easter, and all the chocolate, is a fine excuse to drink fortified wine. This old wood-aged port is extraordinarily complex with cocoa powder, coffee, cinnamon and dried fruits. It will not deteriorate once open, and benefits from being served cool.
Susy Atkins’s springtime spirits and sophisticated soft drinks
Silent Pool Rose Expression Gin
Not a pink gin, but a London Dry style with rose petals added during distillation for subtle floral aromatics and even a faint note of Turkish Delight. It’s not sweet though, and has citrus, pear and bergamot for freshness. Delicious.
Don Papa 10- Year-Old Rum
The Philippines, 43%, £59.95 for 70cl, masterofmalt.com
Rum is on the rise and here’s a magnificent dark mahogany-hued one which packs a punch with its cocktail of oranges, dried figs, spice and cracked pepper. Sip it with the chocolate and salted caramel pie.
Thunderflower Devon Dry Gin
An expertly-crafted, juniper-rich gin, classical in style but leans towards earthy, savoury notes from 11 botanicals, including sage, cassis bark and black cardamom.
Merchant’s Heart Pink Peppercorn tonic water
A crisp and lively new mixer with loads of bouncy bubbles and a warm, spicy hint from pink peppercorns. Delicious just on its own, and a fine partner for gin.
Fortnum & Mason sparkling tea
0%, £16.95 for 750ml, Fortnum & Mason
Packaged very smartly in a champagne-style bottle, this is a delicate fizz with appealing notes of white grape, lemon, and light tea. An excellent alternative to alcoholic sparklers and will match a light salad starter nicely.