The best alternatives to Diet Coke

British media wouldn’t be British media without endless stories of possible health risks in food and drink. The news cycle turns and we land on whether butter is good or bad, or whether having a glass of red wine in the evening is toxic or therapeutic. Another long-running, oft-studied and frequently-discussed topic of debate is aspartame, the artificial sweetener found in the likes of Diet Coke and Coke Zero. The latter is a favourite drink of mine.  Aspartame has suffered its fair share of derision in the past, but it is now being officially declared a ‘possible’ cancer risk by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health

Why cocktails are superior to wine

I often argue that, in theory at least, well-made cocktails are indisputably better than wines costing 20 times more. My argument runs as follows. In making a cocktail, you can mix, in any combination you wish, any of the liquids known to humanity. In making a wine, you are stuck with using grape juice harvested by grumpy Frenchmen from scrubland east of the Gironde. Mathematically, the odds that the best drink you can generate derives only from a few bunches of such grapes is so small as to be infinitesimal. Besides, almost no one drinks grape juice, and nobody has ever seriously tried to sell non-alcoholic wine. If it really

Sumptuous drinks to serve in your garden

It’s finally time. After long months walking in the park and pounding coffees in the street you can have a small number of pals over as long as they stay in the garden. Will you have a few drinks when then come by? For the first time in months? Just a couple…? Yes, you absolutely will. Here are some of the best things to serve while you to remember how to have a conversation with more than two people. There are a few cocktails among the bottles and cans but they’re kept pretty straightforward to make sure you’ve got plenty of time for overdue chat. Gin/Whiskey Smash A laidback relation

Four twists for your G&T

The gin and tonic is a beautiful thing. Refreshing, anti-malarial, and fixable by even the least confident home bartenders. However, malaria rates are at an all-time low in the UK and over-reliance on old favourites is a sure-fire route to monotony and disenchantment. There’s a whole wide world of ways to knock back gin so why not give the tonic water a rest and try something different when 5pm rolls around? Gin Rickey American lobbyist ‘Colonel’ Joseph Rickey liked his rye whiskey and soda with a squeeze of lime for extra zip. He was an influential man in Washington DC and in the 1880s his signature drink became something of

What to drink on St Patrick’s Day

St Patrick’s Day is coming. Which means people all over the world will be repeating that thing they’ve heard about the pints being better in Dublin, claiming that they’ve read Portrait of the Artist, and championing Irish family connections through some obscure branch of the family tree. When it comes to refreshments on the day you could do a lot worse than a few cans of stout or cider. Bushmills Black Bush (£22; Waitrose) and ginger ale – 1:2 ratio, lots of ice, wedge of lime – is one of the all-time great highballs and would also do the job nicely. However, the old classics are by no means the