Organising an evening al fresco is one of the simplest ways to get yourself into a summer state of mind. The inspiration can come from many sources: channel the romance of a plentiful dinner under Tuscany’s sunset, share laughter and tapas a la española or dream of Hawaii over a tropical feast, torches are a must!
Once you have been fortunate enough to get good weather to RSVP (and actually show up), it’s all smooth sailing. But if you want to bring your night from “nice” to unforgettable, then attention to detail is crucial. Of course, the food is on the spotlight and choices that are fresh, colourful and easy to share are encouraged; but centrepieces, lightning, decor and a specially compiled playlist can also create the perfect atmosphere.
For the pièce de résistance, the right bottle of wine or mixed drink makes all the difference. We have gathered five wonderful options that are ideal al fresco drinks to be enjoyed on a beautiful summer day.
Champagne Lanson Rose Label NV
12.5% ABV – Champagne, France
€57.95 – Available at O’Briens Wine
Lanson is a pioneer in the art of pink Champagne making. This rosé bubbly is a blend of 53% Pinot Noir, 32% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier offers the balance and elegance of three years of maturation in the cellar.
Light raspberry in colour, it shows raspberries too on the nose and palate, where it’s accompanied by crisp strawberries and Pink Lady apples. It’s refreshing, delicate and balanced. Served as an aperitif, it will set the tone for a fabulous evening.
Conde de Valdemar Rioja Gran Reserva 2007 Magnum
13.5% ABV – Rioja, Spain
€50 – Available at Wineonline.ie
Is there anything more celebratory that a magnum of wine? These large format (1.5 l) bottles are ideal for groups, but this intense and classic Rioja is not just a showstopper thanks to its bottle’s size.
It’s a powerful wine from Tempranillo with a delightful mix of ripe red fruits like cherry and cranberry as well as sweet spice (vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom) and toast. Rich and full bodied, it’s a wonderful choice to go with roasted meats and premium charcuterie.
Causes & Cures Semi-Dry White Vermouth
17% ABV – Australia
€24 – Available at Mitchell & Son
From its unusual bottle to its last unique drop, this Aussie Vermouth will be the perfect base for very on-trend and refreshing summery drinks. Its aromas of orange peel and pastis offer a pleasant bittersweet background and its off-dry honeyed palate will be welcomed by both the Vermouth veterans and the uninitiated.
Serve it will ice and a twist of orange, or mix into a refreshing spritzer with sparkling water and ice. If you want to give it an extra touch, you can add a frozen slice of orange or an orange juice ice cube.
Elderflower Gin & Tonic
This floral rendition of the classic G&T is synonymous with this season. Perfumed, light and refreshing, you can make it with elderflower infused gin. If you feel like foraging in advance and infusing your own, fair play to you, but other wise you can resort to St. Patricks Elderflower Gin (€43.99 at Celtic Whiskey Shop).
Alternatively, you can use elderflower flavoured tonic water such as Fever Tree (€1.25 at drinkstore.ie), a liqueur like St. Germain (€41.50 at O’Briens Wine) or an artisan cordial like Richmount. You can add a touch of lime juice to balance the sweetness. Experiment and create the mix that pleases you the most!
Classic Fruit Punch
This super easy to make and ultra-summery tipple is a party in a bowl. The secret to an outstanding one is called Oleo Saccharum, or sugared oil and to make it you need to macerate citrus zest in super fine sugar and leave overnight. The resulting oily treasure is to be added to the mix, along with a lengthener (iced tea or soda, for example) and a spirit.
Tip: you can combine two different spirits or a spirit and a liqueur to add more flavour, for example, white rum and Cointreau, or vodka and limoncello. To make a perfect punch, check out more secrets that mixologist Gareth Lambe shared with TheTaste.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.