On the 8 March, UK residents will finally be allowed to meet friends outdoors which means one thing… picnic time! So, for all your outdoor feasting needs, here are our favourite drinks to take on picnics.
There’s not doubt that the British love a picnic. We even celebrate the less enjoyable aspects of eating out of doors; who can forget those lines from John Betjamin’s poem Trebetherick: “Sand in the sandwiches, wasps in the tea”?
Wasps aren’t the only hazard you can face on the beach. Last time we went to Ramsgate, a little boy ordered some chips and then next thing you know there were seagulls as big as pterodactyls swooping down to steal their share. They were eventually beaten off by a gang of children armed with cricket bats. Anyway, I suppose my point is that there’s lots of uncontrollable elements in life, but there’s no excuse for not having top quality booze.
Happily these days, there’s a massive choice of drinks suitable for taking on a picnic, and they’re all at Master of Malt. From delicious bitters and lagers, to fine ciders from Kent, the West Country and France. Not to mention delicious RTD (ready to drink) cocktails in cans and fantastic choice of wine. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites so stock up in preparation for the official beginning of picnic season. Don’t forget the corkscrew, and a cricket bat to beat off marauding seagulls.
Adnams in Suffolk brews some of the finest beer in the country as well as making some impressive spirits. This Lighthouse Beer named after the famous Southwold landmark, is a picnic beer par excellence. It’s a light refreshing pale ale, packed with gentle hop character, and weighing in at a very drinkable 3.4% ABV.
One of the best things to happen to brewing in the last five years is the development of genuinely delicious low ABV beers. There’s some cracking ones at 0.5% ABV but we’re particularly taken with the slightly stronger range from the Small Beer Company. Everything it does is excellent but this lager packs a lot of flavour into its 2.1% ABV.
The name comes from the sassiest castle in France, the Château de Sassy. It’s in the heart of Normandy, the home of French cider. This is a classic Norman sparkling cider but made from apples with pink flesh which gives it its pretty colour. The flavour is just off dry and packed full of sweet apple fruit.
Fancy a proper Dark ‘n’ Stormy made with Gosling’s Black Seal rum and ginger beer without messing around with bottles and jiggers? Well, now you can because this is the canned version. Simply add ice and a slice of lime and it’s just like being in the Caribbean. Or just drink it straight from the can.
This beauty comes from one of our favourite distillers, the East London Liquor Company, or ELLC to its friends. This blend of the company’s excellent grapefruit gin with tonic water should be in everyone’s Esky when the sun comes out.
This is a splendid concoction. It’s a mixture of gin, English sparkling wine and mineral water. It manages to be refreshing, utterly delicious and it comes in at a very drinkable 8.5% ABV, much lower in alcohol than a straight sparkling wine. There are also Mediterranean and Italia versions.
Here’s another marvelous mash-up. It’s a sherry cocktail in a can blending Croft Fino sherry, elderflower, lemon and mint cordials as well as sparkling water. And only 5.5% ABV. Perfect for hot summer’s days.
Beaujolais, made from the Gamay grape, is the ultimate picnic wine. It goes with pretty much any food and tastes equally delicious chilled as at room temperature. This example is packed full of fruits of the forest and partly-aged in concrete for maximum freshness.
Here’s one you may not have had before, Rosé from Sancerre, a region best known for its whites made from Sauvignon Blanc. This is made entirely from Pinot Noir and exhibits fresh strawberries with a citrus tang. It’s class in a glass.
It’s not the easiest wine to pronounce, but it’s worth getting your tongue around all those ‘x’s because this white wine is delicious. The grapes are Basque natives, Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza, and the resulting wine is light, vibrant and lemony with delicate fizz to it.
This wine was a massive hit in our family last summer. It’s made from the grape that England has made its own, Bacchus. Then to keep all those vibrant citrus and elderflower flavours, it is carbonated. Yes, just like with lager. Also makes a great base for a Kir Royale, just add creme de cassis.