As the mercury rises and that summer sun gives you the thirst, finding that delicious yet refreshing drink for the season can make all the difference. Here are some summer drinks that give you a lighter, easier way to enjoy a tipple.
With lifestyle choices and busy schedules coming into play with people’s social life more (not to mention the haunting threat of social media broadcasting every embarrassing booze-fuelled lurch and burp) lighter alcohol drinks are seeing a huge surge in popularity.
I must admit, I am an absolute sucker for a big, beefy red or a full-blooded Chardonnay packed with oak.
I also love a rich, heavily-peated scotch that smells like a campfire and tastes like the sole of an Islay distiller’s boot.
And if there’s a hefty IPA on offer that’s so bitter it makes your face implode, even better.
But when the summer pumps up the heat, all I feel like is an icy, refreshing drink that goes down easily and cools the blood.
Thankfully, with the increase in demand for lower alcohol drinks that by their very nature tend to be more refreshing, the quality of easy-drinking products has risen immeasurably in recent years.
Young Henrys Stayer Hopped Lager – 3.5%
If you didn’t tell me it was only 3.5%, I wouldn’t know. Plenty of flavour, a beautiful golden colour and – possibly the hardest part to replicate with less alcohol – a good body and mouthfeel.
I could easily drink this hoppy little friend all day, and the best part is less of a hangover.
Young Henrys is an independently owned brewery in Sydney that we’ve been going to since it opened in 2012. They’ve got some cracking brews well worth exploring, but this Stayer is a keeper.
Starward Australian Whisky – Two-Fold and tonic
One of the champions of the Australian whisky movement, Starward really are doing things right. Not only are they using as many Australian products as possible – the grain and of course the water – they’re also using Aussie barrels to age their whisky too.
The Starward Two-Fold is a wheat and malted barley whisky that’s aged in Australian ex-wine barrels. The result is fruit-driven with a good level of vanilla, but more importantly, it’s a lot lighter than many Aussie whiskies out there.
Instead of ex-sherry, port or bourbon barrels, the red wine influence on the wood calms the whisky.
This drink is not low-alcohol. Neat, Two-Fold is 40% (and a wonderful dram), but because of its flavour profile, you can make this whisky into a much longer drink that’s not as strong.
Adding 100ml of high quality tonic to a 30ml measure of Two-Fold over plenty of ice makes something quite unique.
Like a full-flavoured gin & tonic, the Two-Fold and Tonic is full of rich whisky flavours. Rather than herbaceous gin botanicals, the grains come forward instead after an initial sweetness and bitterness of the tonic.
Less tonic and more Starward gives an almost bourbon and sweet soda taste to the drink – though the drink is of course then higher in alcohol.
Crafters Union In Session Sauvignon Blanc – 9%
Crafters Union has always enjoyed a strong creative element to their wine-making approach. Even down to the finished product, they’re not afraid to mix things up, collaborating with artists for their wine jackets, festival-friendly and pool-safe wines in a can and now producing a lower alcohol In Session wine range.
The winery’s Sauvignon Blanc is already an easy-drinker, with good body, plenty of those NZ Sauvie B aromas and a gentle yet dry taste. The In Session version of their Sauvignon Blanc is right on the same lines.
It has all the characteristics of a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – full of tropical fruit notes and sharp gooseberry dryness – but at 9%, it’s a wine you can enjoy without worrying about getting carried away.
Crafters Union In Session Rosé – 9.5%
Hitting two trends at once, the Crafters Union In Session Rosé is a bit of an over-achiever.
This full-flavoured, rich rosé doesn’t taste like a ‘mid-strength’ wine at all. In fact a dash of soda water will drop the percentage a little more and temper some of the sweetness and strawberry notes.
In fact as a spritzer, the In Session Rosé makes for a very refreshing drink.
Crafters Union also has a Pinot Gris in their In Session range that’s well worth a try.
These sippers are perfect for hot summer days where the sun’s burning down or those nights where the air’s almost too thick to breathe and no-one can move.
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All it takes is the 2ml that comes in each cool little sachet in your first drink of the party and wait for your future self to thank you.
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