Top 10 spirits launches in May 2023

by Georgie Collins

We're taking you around the world as we take a look at the 10 best new spirits releases seen in May, from expressions that capture the vibrant flavours of Mexico to a bottling that embodies the laid-back vibes of Australia.

They say the devil works hard, but booze-backing celebrities worked even harder in May, with multiple film stars bringing out their own gins, pop stars embracing canned cocktails, and one particular rockstar blending up a whisky. Keep scrolling to find out what else was new to the shelves in May. To see what spirits launched in April, click here.

Served canned cocktails

With sales of hard seltzers on the decline, and the ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail category seeing a 24% sales leap last year according to the UK White Spirits and RTDs Market Report 2023 by Mintel, it's probably no surprise that pop star Ellie Goulding’s hard seltzer brand, Served, has added a range of ‘bar-quality’ canned cocktails to its portfolio. The RTD cocktail range is composed of three of the UK’s ‘most popular’ flavours: Mojito, Passion Fruit Martini, and Piña Colada, all of which are presented at 8% ABV and have have been created to ‘bridge the gap’ between inferior quality, low-ABV canned cocktails and ‘less sessionable’ 10% ABV-and-above offerings. “Our award-winning drinks are made for modern lifestyles without compromising flavour — for those who want to live life to the full, never miss a moment, and tread lightly on our planet," said Goulding.

Renais gin

With all the qualities you’d expect from a classic Chablis wine – crispness, minerality, and freshness – the newly launched Renais gin has drawn on the traditions, techniques and ingredients of the French wine region in a bid to capture its essence. Founded by actress Emma Watson and her brother Alex Watson, Renais was inspired by childhood trips to the family’s vineyard, Domaine Watson, in Chablis, France, which their father has operated for more than 30 years. Made with ‘up-cycled’ grapes – by-products from the vineyard’s wine-making process – which are distilled in small batches for quality, the gin has been created to be sipped over ice as well as mixed in cocktails, and is especially suited to stirred-down classics such as Martinis, as well as long and refreshing Spritzes and G&Ts.

Crystal Head Pride bottle

Crystal Head Pride Once again, Dan Akroyd's vodka brand Crystal Head has marked Pride month with the launch of a limited edition bottle, which displays a colourful, paint-splattered design against a white bottle to ‘artistically’ house the brand's original Canadian corn-based vodka. The vessel also integrates additional colours to represent people of colour, transgender, non-binary, intersex, and those across the gender spectrum, and has been created in partnership with Kaleidoscope Trust, an international LGBTQIA+ human rights charity founded in 2011.

Gleneagles' Pursuit series

Gleneagles Throw on your Barbour jacket, tuck your hip-flask into your pocket, and get ready for an activity-led trip to the Scottish Highlands with the Pursuits collection by the Gleneagles Hotel. The four-bottle line-up of single malts from the luxury hotel has been inspired by four countryside activities offered at the estate, from shooting and fishing to falconry and horse riding. Each limited edition whisky has been individually hand-engraved and numbered, and all four expressions are available to purchase at the hotel’s Still Room, which is home to a collection of more than 200 whisky bottles.

Belvedere 10

If you’re looking for a bottle that will stand out on your shelves, this ‘exceptionally rare’ Belvedere 10 is what you’re looking for, with its chiselled facets that give a ‘diamond-like sparkle’. It is made from a single harvest of organic Dankowskie Diamond rye, grown in a single field on an estate in north-east Poland. Crafted annually in small batches, the liquid, which has followed a 10-step creation process, was rested for 10 months to ‘enhance the liquid’s velvety smooth mouthfeel’, and distilled four times, and is said to offer notes of coconut, vanilla, and rich, dark cacao.

That Boutique-y Whisky Company USA series

That Boutique-y Whisky Company has swung for the fences with its latest collection of independently bottled American whiskeys, all of which celebrates the diverse styles the category. The limited edition USA Series offers liquids from secret distillers, closed distilleries, and those at the forefront of the ‘evolution’ of American whiskey, including a six-year-old rye whiskey from Pennsylvania-based distillery Dad’s Hat, and the three-year-old Bourbon Whiskey #2 Batch 1, from an undisclosed distillery. The series also features a selection of Scotch, rum and US brandy.

Holyrood World Whisky Day 2023 Mexico

Edinburgh-based Holyrood Distillery looked to the flavours of Mexico for its annual limited edition new make spirit release last month. Lovers of the country’s history of rich and smoky distilled spirits will enjoy what the team have done with this 60% ABV bottling, as they drew inspiration from the unique combination of malts and yeast found in ‘crisp refreshing’ lagers to create layers of citrus alongside malty flavours and textures. Notes of sweet, sticky toffee and hints of hazelnut can be detected on the nose, followed by a burst of flavours that evoke dried fruit and sweet toffee cake.

Papa Salt

Papa Salt The star of the upcoming Barbie movie, Margot Robbie, became the third celebrity in May to launch a gin brand (following on from Emma Watson, mentioned above, and her Babylon co-star Brad Pitt). Papa Salt gin is an ode to the laid-back Australian lifestyle, and is described on the brand’s website as an ‘easy-drinking gin that celebrates the subtle taste of native Australian botanicals’. The 43% ABV gin is made in Byron Bay, Australia, and has been created for ‘sessionable drinking’ and the brand’s recommended serve is Papa Salt with soda, lots of ice and a wedge of fresh grapefruit. It is currently only available to purchase in Australia.

Bacardí Mango Chile rum

Bacardí Mango Chile Inspired by a popular Mexican snack, Bacardí Mango Chile is the latest innovation to come from rum brand Bacardí. Said to capture the sweet and spicy flavours of fresh mango sprinkled with Tajin seasoning and lime juice, the 35% ABV expression is recommended served chilled in a shot glass with a Tajin rim. Alternatively, it can be used to create a series of cocktails ‘for any warm weather occasion’, adding a ‘hot twist’ to classic Bacardí serves such as the Mojito and the Rum Rita. After a ‘successful’ launch in Mexico last year, the brand has now debuted the bottling in the US.

Rod Stewart's Wolfie's Whisky

Rod Stewart Wolfie's Whisky Bottled at 40% ABV by Loch Lomond Distillery, rock star Rod Stewart has launched a new blended whisky that will be available from 19 June in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, with a US launch set to follow later this year. The Handbags and Gladrags singer said: “It’s a fine tipple, whether you’re partying with friends, celebrating a Celtic win or reminiscing with family. For me, Wolfie’s depicts the carefree behaviour of my more mischievous days and the excitement of what life still has to offer – let the good times roll.” Tasting notes include cinnamon, vanilla and baked apple, with peat, pears in syrup, candied citrus peels and gentle oak spice.

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