If you’re throwing a party this year, visiting friends, or having a quiet night in, there’s a good chance you’re searching for a decent bottle to see you into 2016.
Luckily for you, Which? has done all the heavy lifting with our series of alcohol taste tests this year. You’ll be pleased to hear that you can pick up most of our Best Buys in your local supermarket and for quite a reasonable price.
So whether you’re buying a bottle, a case, or filling your trolley, our Best Food and Drink reviews are sure to come in handy.
Champagne is a classic choice for your midnight toast. We revealed three Best Buys this year, with two supermarket brands excelling in our expert taste test. Of the non-vintage fizzes we tested, the Co-operative Les Pionniers (£16.99) came out on top with a stellar score of 85%.
And the highly rated Waitrose Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne (£24.99, 83%) was dry, savoury and had a fresh citrus flavour.
If you think a well-known brand would impress your guests, try a bottle of the Lanson Black Label Brut Champagne (£30, 81%). Spice, orchard fruits and honeycomb were the main notes that came through for one of our experts.
Winning white wines
The New Year period is a prime time for dinner parties, so you may want to choose a delicious crisp white wine to share with friends and family.
The cheapest white wine we tested also came out on top. The Asda Extra Special Leyda Valley Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (79%) was described as being very fruity and fresh – and is a bargain at £5.75. Our second-placed wine, the Lidl Cimarosa Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (£5.89, 78%), was ‘appealing’ and somewhat delicate.
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Albarino 2013 (£8, 74%), was creamy in texture, with a zesty finish. And the lemon flavours shone through in the Waitrose Grüner Veltliner Niederösterreich 2014 (£7.99, 73%).
If you’re more likely to opt for the red, take a look at our full red and white wine reviews to find out where to get your hands on our Best Buys.
Gin and tonic is a great option for parties, and our experts recommend using cold tonic, plenty of ice, and – more importantly – one of our Best Buy gins.
The top-rated Best Buy gin might suit those looking for something festive and warming, as our experts loved the ‘nice balance of sweeter notes with spice, pine and juniper’ and a hint of gingerbread. Morrisons London Dry Gin had a score of 80% and will only set you back £10.49.
One of the cheapest on test, Lidl’s Castelgy London Dry Gin (£9.99), came in at joint second place with a score of 78% for its perfect blend of sweetness and dryness. It was tied with Waitrose London Dry Gin (£12, 78%), which was a good option as part of a gin and tonic, as it was ‘very citrusy, with hints of lemongrass and lemon peel’.
If whisky is more your style, take a look at our Best Buy whisky.
All of the prices listed here were correct at the time of the original taste tests, but there are sure to be special offers during the festive period, so keep your eyes peeled.