Beach. Barbecue. Boat. Who’s Bringing the Drinks?

Pandemic seems to be over. The world is back to being together – physically. So let’s cheer with some invigorating concoctions!

By: Isabelle Kellogg

Posted on: June 24, 2022

Summers are a time for celebration, mirth and, well, simply getting some sun. And drinks are an important part of that setup. So here are some light, refreshing beverage ideas (one’s zero sugar and one’s low sugar!) to serve your guests at a picnic, party or casual get together.  

French Beauties

The wine industry is shaping up as fitness friendly. Kobrand Importers launched four innovative and flavorful zero sugar wines called The Simple Grape, which is also low carb, vegan (for wine!) and certified sustainable in production and practice. Kobrand, which imports distinguished wines like Louis Jadot and Champagne Taittinger, sources high quality, sustainably grown California grapes. I sampled the Pinot Grigio (all four wines are 13.5% alcohol) and enjoyed its delicate notes of floral, green apple and stone fruit (apricot, pear), fresh, clean finish with beautiful concentration and balanced acidity.

The Simple Grape wine

Many of the wines from the Côtes du Rhône districts in France’s Rhône Valley are very close to famous region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Côtes du Rhône wines may be considered “basic” by sophisticated wine drinkers and are excellent quality for those among us looking to level up their wine buying and wine enjoyment. The majority of Côtes du Rhône wines are red (90%) but there are white and rosé wines too. At a recent presentation by Rhône Valley Vineyards and Inter Rhône at Aldo Sohm’s Wine Bar in Manhattan, owned by the sommelier of Eric Ripert’s famous Le Bernardin restaurant next door, I was introduced to many different wines and recommend a closer look at any wine from that region for you to enjoy with your guests this summer.  

Rare Pleasures

Escudo Rojo Baron de Rothschild wines

Chile, a country whose Pacific coastline is 2,700 miles long, has a robust wine growing industry with some surprisingly good wines. The famous French wine house, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, rushed in under the direction of Baronesa Philippine (the daughter) in the early 1960’s and found micro-terroirs mimicking Bordeaux back home. Escudo Rojo Maipo wines are exceptional in the Grand Cru style. The Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and almost tart—perfect for hot summer days or nights and seafood. If you’re grilling prime meat or game, turn the event into a culinary experience by serving the newly released 2019 Baronesa P or the Escudo Rojo Reserva Carmenere 2019. 

Villa Maria New Zealand Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc came as a nice surprise during its unique tasting event held on Governor’s Island recently (great day trip if you’re visiting NYC). The wine is fruit-driven and expresses the grapes grown in the Marlborough region with hints of gooseberry and fresh citrus. 

Villa Maria New Zealand

Suadela wines are inspired by a Roman goddess known for her powers of seduction and persuasion. This winery is situated next to the border with Slovenia facing the Alps and it was here that Julius Caesar’s soldiers were told to plant vines. The Friuli Colli Orientali Bianco DOC 2016 is a blend of Friulano, Pinto Bianco, Sauvignon Blanc and a smidge of Riesling which gives it dry saltiness. 

On the topic of ancient wine growing areas, amber wines from Georgia are quirky and represent the Georgian tradition of Qvevri winemaking using vessels (giant jugs made of clay whose internal surface is sometimes lined with beeswax)) that are buried in the ground for the wine to ferment.  

Mixers & Coolers

Busker Paloma

Let’s switch to a few cocktails! Irish whiskey fans can drink Busker Triple Cask Triple Smooth blended whiskey either neat or as a knockout Paloma cocktail with grapefruit soda - a refreshing poolside boozy beverage. KLYR is a clear rum (check the bottle and the clean graphics), also referred to as a “silver” rum, made in the US, whose ratio of sugar, water and yeast makes it enjoyable neat or in a classic cocktail like Mojito.   

Klyr vodka mojito

When dessert calls for something cold and icy, skip the gelato and serve Disaronno’s new Velvet Cream liqueur poured over crushed ice with a splash of coconut water. It’s nut free--made with bitter almonds which are apricot pits--and gluten free but contains real dairy cream, giving it a dreamy, creamy texture. Yummy! 

Isabelle KelloggIn addition to a career in communications and marketing focused on the luxury lifestyle sector, including co-authoring and lecturing a case study on French heritage jeweler Mauboussin with Harvard Business School, Isabelle continues to share her experiences about fine art, wine, travel, jewelry and culture as a freelance writer for internationally based digital publications.

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