Refreshing Libations: Best Beverages for Fun in the Summer SunJul 30, 2022 07:07PM ● By Gina Birch
The days are longer, the sun is brighter, the temperatures are hotter, and with “season” behind us, it’s the time of the year to take a break. Whether it’s a vacation, a weekend of beaching or boating, or a simple backyard barbeque, beverages are a must—and the easier the better.
It also helps if they are not only refreshing, but also lean toward natural and are lower in calories. After all, you still want to rock that swimsuit. Here are a few ideas for thirst-quenching celebrations in the sun.
Fabrizia Italian Style Lemonade
Lemonade is a quintessential summer drink. The makers of Fabrizia Italian Style Lemonade don’t use just any lemons for their sparkling beverages. They source their citrus from Sicily. The Italian island is known for many fine things, including sweet limoncello liqueur.
Fabrizia takes that liqueur, adds vodka and carbonation, then cans it to create tangy, fresh, low-alcohol beverages. The company treats blood oranges the same, creating a light, low-alcohol, low-calorie (100) vodka soda with no added sugar so you don’t have to stop at just one; you certainly won’t want to.
Fabrizia canned cocktails are $9.99 for a four-pack.
Three Girls Wines
The label on Three Girls wines screams “poolside.” It was inspired by the women of the Maggio family, fourth-generation winegrowers, and intended to be a celebration of women in wine.
From Oak Ridge Winery in Lodi, California, the girls on the label represent three characteristics found in many friendships: the mediator, the instigator, and the influencer.
The chardonnay is easygoing, smells tropical, has some citrus, a pineapple palate, and a touch of vanilla. The sauvignon blanc is zippy and fresh with flavors of stone fruit and citrus. For red wine lovers, the cabernet sauvignon is not overpowering for summer. Its tannins are soft, with vanilla, black cherry, and gentle spices.
All three wines are 2019 vintages and sell for $14.
When lightening the load for summer, sake is a terrific option, and not the heated version commonly found in sushi restaurants. Sake comes in a range of styles, many of which are served cold.
It’s less acidic than wine, less bloating than beer, and now it comes in a can for easy access. WESAKE’s simple can reads “Dry/Light/Fruity.” The label does not lie. Note that fruity does not necessarily mean sweet.
Made in partnership with a 280-year-old Japanese brewer, WESAKE is a Junmai Ginjo-style brew made with only rice, water, yeast, and koji, a Japanese fermentation starter; it has no additives and no gluten.
Chill it and enjoy its mild flavors with fresh seafood and sushi, or a salty snack.
WESAKE is $8.99 for a four-pack.
Wander + Ivy
Dana Spaulding’s inspiration when founding Wander + Ivy was to elevate the single-serve wine experience. Sometimes you don’t want to commit to an entire 750ml bottle.
Her wines come in easy-to-enjoy 6.3-ounce bottles with convenient twist tops and are easy to fit in coolers. Made from sustainably grown organic grapes, the premium wines include a dry rosé full of raspberry and strawberry flavors, a chardonnay that leans toward the rich side with a little toast, a red blend from Spain that has slightly more body but is still fresh and balanced, and a variety of blends.
Bottles start at $6.99. You can often find limited edition bottlings, as well as variety packs.
Jack Espy created Spirited Hive while in grad school at New York University during the pandemic. After many late nights making cocktails for his “hive” of friends, he joked about canning his creations so he wouldn’t have to clean up.
Spirited Hive offers bourbon, tequila, and vodka concoctions. Its bourbon whiskey infused with rosemary, lemon, and honey uses bourbon from Green River Distilling Co in Kentucky and is a refreshing way to enjoy so-called “brown water.”
Tequila infused with ginger, lime, and honey is made with blanco tequila from Jalisco, Mexico. It’s a little bit margarita and a little bit mule, and gets an extra little kick from organic ginger juice. Finally, Spirited Hive’s vodka infused with cranberry, lime, and honey is reminiscent of a cosmo, only with fizz.
A four-pack is $16.99.
During the hot summer months, many wine drinkers opt for whites and rosés such as those from Balletto Vineyards in Sonoma County. The winery puts great effort into sustainable practices both in the vineyard and the barrel room.
The 2021 Rosé of Pinot Noir is deceiving—it looks so delicate in the glass, but it makes a statement in the mouth. While it’s full of delightfully juicy red summer fruits, it’s dry and acidic. It’s more than just a porch pounder, though; it can stand up to food.
Like the rosé, the 2021 Pinot Gris might not be a weak white, but it is an all-day drinker. It spent some time in neutral oak barrels to add character. It has a little salinity to it as well. Try with oysters.
Both wines are $22.
Regardless of your beverage of choice, don’t forget to chill it down and keep it cool. Nothing ruins a cocktail, glass of wine, or bottle of beer faster than the summer heat.
Gina Birch is a regular contributor. A lover of good food, good drinks, and a fun time, she is also a well-known media personality in Southwest Florida.