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Gotta have it

Your perfect party drink. A fine sherry spritz inspired by Spanish fiestas and created in St Albans.

Por fin, Croft Twist! Where have you been all my life? The minute you touched my lips I was all of a quiver: the perfect summer party drink at last! This brand new aperitivo from Gonzalez Byass in St Albans is a crafty mix of dry-as-a-bone Fino, a zesty punch of lemon and mint and a refeshing whoosh of sparkling elderflower, all tangled together in the zingiest of zangles.

The inspiration for Croft Twist is the refreshingly cheeky drink rebujito (yes, it does sound just a little bit like mojito). Rebujito (Fino or Manzanilla with lemonade) started life as a pick-me-up to sustain body and mind during the hot and passionate ferias synonymous with Andalucía. These ferias are now weekend or even week-long parties where you can strut your stuff and worship local virgins, but some date back to medieval times when they started life as livestock festivals. It was in Andalucía that I cut my teeth as an English teacher and was warned by the school director that if I man asked me to get on his horse and ride off at speed, I should refuse. Well…

Where was I? Oh yes, Croft Twist. Forget cloying summery lightly fizzing drinks – and we’ve all had our fill of those – the pastel sparklers that promise a lot but inevitably coat your teeth with fur. This spritzy number is bright and breezy. It’s startlingly low in alcohol (5.5%), yet at those parties that start in the afternoon, it is remarkably easy to down quite a few and I suspect that Croft Twist could be quite devilish. I suggest you serve this drink as an ice breaker before moving your guests towards the harder stuff.

And of course if your summer celebration doesn’t involve horses and flamenco dresses, Croft Twist tastes just as good with picnic blankets and hampers. Whether it’s an outdoor screening at Hitchin Lavender, or an impromptu gathering of friends in your garden, you can chill the Croft Twist, don some light linen and you’ll be ready. You can buy Croft Twist from Flagship Wines in St Albans. Same day delivery if you are local and next day anywhere in Herts and further afield.

It’s so new that it’s a great talking point. People love this drink. Perfect on its own and a dream with a handful of salted almonds. You can mix it up a little: serve with lemon and mint, by all means, but how about basil? Ooo, yes! Happy in a highball, it’s a doddle to build: pour over ice, add a wiggly curl of lemon peel and a sprig of whatever herb takes your fancy and get ready to PARTY.

Croft Twist is available at Flagship Wines, Hatfield Road, St Albans.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Hertfordshire