Well another year has passed and it’s been filled with some great food and drink. This year there is a distinct Cumbrian feel in both of my top 5’s (I think there is only one entry that is in Lancashire). I make no apologies for this, I haven’t been able to travel as much this year and to be honest with 4 Michelin star restaurants on my doorstep I feel lucky to be living in this great food county.

So in no particular order here are the top 5 drinks I’ve enjoyed this year.

Strawberry Cocktail – Forestside, Grasmere
As with the top 5 food dishes of 2017, Forestside could have had a few in the top 5 drinks. When we went to the restauarant we had the tasting menu along with the partnering drinks menu. The Ninki Ichi sparkling sake and the cucumber soda from Square Root were both a revalation but the strawberry cocktail which was paired with the strawberry, acidic yoghurt and marigold was the stand out drink of the menu.

Morey Saint Denis, Premier Cru, 1990 – Askham Hall, Askham
Not only does Askham hall have a wide selection of really good quality (and some rare) wine but they have a super sommelier in Nico Chieze. Not only was his knowledge and obvious enthusiasm for wine a pleasure to witness during our meal but he recommended this fantastic bottle of wine. Even though Askham Hall just missed out in the top 5 dishes of 2016 this bottle of wine was a clear winner in the drinks category.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout – Hawkshead Brewery
This is a perfect example of a beer being married with the flavour of whisky. Strong and sweet but perfectly balanced with the bourbon whisky flavour. I was lucky enough to have it on keg in the Hawkshead beer hall and I would say it was even better than the excellent Paradox by Brew Dog.

Cucumber and Elderflower Collins – Slate Bar Kendal
Cucumber in a drink seems to have seen a bit of a revolution in these last few years, not only should you have a slice in your Hendricks gin but there are lots of mixologist are now using this very underused ingredient. This great cocktail from Slate Bar combines cucumber with elderflower to make a really refreshing gin based drink.

Lotus Biscoff Biscuit Frappé – Farrer’s Tea and Coffee Shop, Kendal
I absolutely love those caramel biscuits you sometimes get with coffee, so when a local coffee shop was making a Frappé using them I was all for it. This could have quite easily been a dessert, it was so rich, indulgent and extremely good.