Keep your cool this weekend with these drinks. From gin to Champagne on ice and this year’s must-drink cocktail, frozé, we’ve got you covered.
This year is the summer of frosé. Contrary to its name, frozé isn’t just a bottle of rosé that’s been forgotten in the freezer. It’s more of a wine cocktail and, just like ice cream and sorbet, frozen drinks need extra sweetness for balance. Frozé gets its sweetness from a puree of strawberries.
You don’t need to be too picky or posh with the rosé you use, but one bright pink in colour does make the prettiest frosé. Puree a punnet of strawberries with three tablespoons of sugar syrup and mix with a bottle of rose in a zip-lock bag or an ice cream tub. Freeze overnight, then whizz to a slurry in a blender.
What to try
Mad Fish Shiraz Rosé 2016 (Western Australia)
A bright candy-pink rosé, this has lovely, layered cherry and rhubarb aromas. Along with watermelon and blood orange, there’s a perfumed strawberry flavour that runs throughout the wine – from start to finish and a touch of sweetness (it’s just a touch and it really suits the style) that carries the lengthy finish.
Icy pole meets Prosecco
Add a cool twist to the classic bellini cocktail by adding a couple of ice cubes – or for a drink that will go straight to your Pinterest board, an icy pole – made from pureed peach. Frozen berries work nicely too and for the time poor (trust me on this one, it works brilliantly) the tropical flavours of a Frosty Fruit work wonderfully.
What to try
La Marca Prosecco NV (Prosecco, Italy)
Prosecco’s generally a bright and breezy bubbly, but this takes the grape from north-east Italy to a higher, more complex, level. There’s a hit of bright pear on the nose, which is fleshed out with red apple and zesty citrus, A chalky, structural grip on the finish seals the deal.
Wine and ice
“What the?” I hear you ask. There’s no shame in adding an ice cube or two to a glass of white – they even add ice to red wine in Argentina – on a hot day. The wine does get slightly diluted, but it’s still much nicer than a warm, unbalanced wine.
Moët gave new meaning to champagne on ice when it released Ice Imperial; a Champagne made to be poured over ice, a few years ago.
It’s sister winery in the Yarra Valley released Chandon S last year. Made with orange bitters, when poured over ice it’s the perfect drink for a hot afternoon.
What to try
Chandon S NV (Victoria)
The crew at Chandon in the Yarra Valley made their own orange-based bitters and added a dash to sparkling. This is the result. It’s designed to drink over ice, and there’s a heady set of aromas, including the distinct smell of orange marmalade. It’s creamy smooth, slightly sweet without ice (this is where the ice comes in and dulls the sweetness), and full of complex orange rind, citrus and stonefruit flavours. It’s the perfect drink for a hot evening under the stars.
Remember the days when beer was all about refreshment? Too many craft beers get turned up to eleven, in terms of flavour and alcohol – hardly conducive to knocking back a few on a hot night.
A few brewers have seen the light and are producing beers with lower alcohol, interesting flavours and, most importantly, refreshment.
Bridge Road’s Little Bling and Fortitude Brewing’s Pacer are excellent examples of the brewer’s craft – low alcohol and loads of hoppy flavour.
What to try
Bridge Road Brewers Little Bling (Beechworth)
$4.50 a 330ml bottle; 3.4%
Ever noticed that light and mid-strength beers are dark in colour? I’m not sure of the reason, but this mid-strength IPA continues the trend. It’s dark caramel in colour, but that’s where any similarities to mid-strength beers end. Grassy, pine needle, white peach and malt aromas and intense flavours have an immediate bitterness that gently holds steady rather than overwhelming the refreshing palate.
G&T with a twist
It took a trip to Four Pillars’ gin distillery to realise I’d been making gin and tonic wrong for the best part of two decades. It turns out less is more when it comes to a garnish, and I’d been drowning out gin’s flavour by adding large wedges of lime. A slice of citrus peel – use a potato peeler on an orange or a pink grapefruit – is all that’s needed to elevate the simple G&T.
What to try
Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin (Yarra Valley)
It seems only yesterday that Four Pillars released its first gin. It has quickly established itself as a leading producer and has three gins in its range. Four Pillars’ Barrel-aged spends time in French oak wine barrels that previously housed chardonnay and another that’s Navy Strength. The Rare Dry gets the balance between its spices, including Tasmanian pepperberry, star anise and cinnamon and aromatic citrus just right.