Hallelujah. As I’m writing this, the sun is pouring into the living room and I’m a little bit buzzed after enjoying a cider in a beer garden with some pals. This is what the Brits have been waiting for: the first promise of some truly glorious weather.
Even if the sun isn’t shining while you’re reading this, we’re still in for some beautiful weather this year; which means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to work your way through this upcoming list.
We’ve gone for a mix of specific wines, beers & spirits; as well as some cocktails that you should be able to order at any bar. All guaranteed to give you that sought after summer feeling.
So, in no particular order:
This Belgian-style, American-made, unfiltered wheat ale is full of zestiness and real depth of flavour. You can really detect the twist of Valencia orange peel and coriander, which makes the drink so enjoyable and unique. To really set off those tangy citrus notes, top your beer with a healthy slice of orange. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a beer drinker, this really should hit the spot.
2. Tuets Parellada 2015 – available to order via L’altreVi
We’ve enthused about this Catalan wine recently, following our tasting session with the guys at L’altreVi. This natural white wine, made with one of the classic Cava grape varieties, Parellada; is the wine world’s answer to a crisp cider on a summer’s day. The apple and pear aromas are undeniable, every sip is wonderfully mouthwatering and the finish is fresh and moreish. Drink responsibly, but be aware that it will be difficult to stop once you’ve started…
3. Aspall Draught Cyder – or any Aspall Cyder to be perfectly honest
This has been a strong favourite of mine for years and will still be my go to choice when it comes to ordering cider. Stocked at a vast array of supermarkets, pubs, bars and restaurants across the UK, you should easily be able to get your thirsty mitts on a bottle or pint of Aspall. The Draught Cyder is dry, thirst-quenching and ‘lip-smacking’ (their words, but we’re happy to agree). The winner of multiple awards and suitable for coeliacs, vegetarians and vegans, this really is a crowd-pleaser.
4. Albourne Estate White Pinot Noir 2015 (West Sussex)
I discovered this little gem recently at The Cork & Bottle on Cranbourn Street, just off Leicester Square. Well worth a visit for any oenophile. Not only is this wine an example of a rare, white Pinot Noir – achieved by pressing whole bunches of grapes in order to decrease the amount of skin contact, resulting in a beautifully delicate, very lightly rose-tinted white wine – it’s also a wonderful example of English wine. It maintains the classic hints of cherry associated with classic red Pinot Noirs, and the fruitiness is offset by a mineral edge, which makes it incredibly refreshing and easy to drink. Masterful winemaking on show here!
5. A Gimlet
The classic gin cocktail. Originally introduced to the Royal Navy as a way of souping up their daily tot of gin to ward off scurvy, this mixture of gin and lime cordial is simple, invigorating and inexpensive. The basic recipe is two parts gin and one part lime cordial, but we’ve listed a couple of variations for you below:
The Bartender’s Bible by Gary Regan:
- 60 ml Plymouth Gin
- 15 ml Rose’s lime juice
- Garnish with lime wedge
The Richmond Gimlet:
- 60 ml Tanqueray No. 10 gin
- 30 ml fresh lime juice
- 30 ml simple syrup
- large sprig mint
- Shake with ice, strain into a chilled glass
If you want to know what the fuss is all about when it comes to Chablis, this is an example that’s guaranteed to impress. Exclusive to Waitrose, the 2014 vintage in particular is elegant, crisp, creamy, smoky and steely all at once – perfect with scallops or shellfish, but equally as enjoyable on its own. At £20 per bottle, it’s a little bit more than your average spend on a bottle of wine, but I promise you it’s worth it. For a drink that will truly put a smile on your face, look no further.
7. G’Vine & Tonic
Love wine and gin? What if I told you that you could enjoy a unique spirit that combines the best of both worlds? G’Vine is a French grape spirit distilled with 10 botanicals, including a rare vine flower. The use of a grape spirit, rather than the usual wheat spirit most gins are based on, means that the gin has a much fuller body and mouthfeel, making it perfect for cocktails and G&Ts with a little more character. The two blends are Floraison (capturing the fresh and floral aromas of a flowering vineyard) and Nouaison (more intense and spicy, representing the evolution of flower into berry); both are available to buy at Amazon.
8. A Pisco Sour
Originating in Lima, a pisco sour is a classic Peruvian cocktail based on pisco (a brandy produced in Chile and Peru) and mixed with lime juice, syrup, ice, egg white, and Angostura bitters. It also happens to be tied with the Negroni as James’ favourite cocktail. If you’re looking for something thirst-quenching and utterly delicious, this is your drink – worth mentioning that Sean from Kuckoo makes an outstanding pisco sour! Peruvian cuisine is famed for tantalising dishes such as ceviche and tiradito, both built upon raw fish cured in citrus juices. The pisco sour is a perfect equivalent in drink form, giving you that slurp-worthy juiciness with the tangy edge of the Angostura bitters keeping you on your toes. Click here to find the recipe on Epicurious.com.
9. Bloomsbury NV, Ridgeview (East Sussex)
For an outstanding example of English sparkling wine, which is well and truly on its way up in terms of reputation and quality; look no further than Ridgeview. The family run vineyard, located at the foot of the South Downs in Sussex, produces a world class range of sparkling wines – Bloomsbury being its signature blend (available at Waitrose). My personal favourite is their Blanc de Blancs, which admittedly has a bigger price tag and is much more on the yeasty side (Marmite, anyone?) so some people might prefer the Bloomsbury for a refreshing tipple on a hot, summery day.
10. Aperol Spritz
Yes, the resurgence continues! This Italian aperitif cocktail was originally popular in the 1950s, but you couldn’t visit a bar without seeing the peripheral orange glow of the stuff last summer and this year seems to be no different. Yes, it might look like a fancy glass of Irn-Bru, but people go crazy for the mix of prosecco (3 shots), Aperol (2 shots) and soda water (1 shot) in those glistening balloon glasses, filled to the brim with ice.
This is obviously not a comprehensive list, so we’d love to hear from you if there’s something you think we should be ordering – just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment. But, for now, we hope you’ve enjoyed our list of 10 drinks to try this summer!