Summer is here and it’s time to have fun in the sun. After a few dreary summers in some parts of the nation, it looks set to be a hot one across the country! And people will be looking to cool down, relax, take it easy and party.
One of the big drinks of summer is the spritz. It’s light, easy to drink, has plenty of flavour, is visually appealing and the bar staff find it easy to make. We’ve seen a rise in lemon-flavoured alcoholic fizzy drinks over the years and the limoncello spritz is a great offer on a summer’s day. Or night. It’s basically a 4:6:2 ratio of that great Italian citrus liqueur limoncello, some Italian prosecco and soda water to lighten it up and add some more bubbles. Pour over ice, stir and garnish with lemon.
With berries at their most affordable over the summer, now is the time to consider the pink gin spritz. A mix of pink gin, prosecco, soda water or lemonade, raspberries and strawberries. With its pink hue, summer fruits and surprisingly full flavour, it really is an eye-catching and delicious drink. Another incredibly popular summer drink is the Aperol spritz, a mix of the Italian digestivo Aperol, Italian prosecco, soda and a slice of orange.
Sauvignon blanc has been a crowd-pleasing white for over a generation now. The sauv blanc coming from Marlborough in New Zealand has set the standard for those beautiful big, grassy whites with that distinctive passionfruit note. Australian sauvignon blanc is just as refreshing, but slightly more subtle and rounded, especially those from the cooler climates of Margaret River and Coonawarra. All these wines are very approachable and great to have side-by-side on a wine list where a choice can be made. They are also perfect to suggest with summer seafood dishes. A plate of prawns, oysters, crab or a seafood platter goes even better with a chilled sauv blanc in hand.
Italian pinot grigio, with its notes of nashi pear and white peach, makes a great summer quaffer but is also a serious food wine that matches well with summer dishes such as burrata, grilled eggplant, blistered tomatoes, as well as French soft cheeses. Rosé is also a popular summer-style wine that can range from dry to sweet depending on the grape it is made from and how it is made. It is what I sometimes call a non-gendered wine in as much that it appeals to both men and women, often those with a discerning palate. Rosé from the Hunter Valley can be fresh and fruity with the dusky pink hue and notes of strawberry, raspberry, grapefruit and rose water. Great with salt and pepper squid or even a Margherita pizza. A Mornington Peninsula rosé could have notes of jasmine and honeysuckle blossom and a lovely rich, creamy melon aroma. Perfect for a charcuterie platter or crudites, as well as grilled fish and poultry dishes.
When the sun is out people are trying to find any reason to celebrate and Champagne, prosecco and Australian sparkling were made to fulfil this mission. It’s a time to make sure there is a range of bubbles on offer, from entry-level sparkling to top-range Champagne. If there is a choice, it is a chance to trade customers up in their celebratory experience. There are also a lot of corporate and institutional end-of-year get-togethers and putting forward a range of bubbles gives the organiser a chance to be generous to the partygoers. I love the way a wine bowl filled with ice and a range of bubbles on the bar says that it is time to clink glasses. It is a great visual reminder to customers of what is on offer.
When people get together to celebrate, there are always those who are drinking no or low alcohol so don’t forget to have an offer for them. Rather than giving away free water, an attractive range of good-looking, delicioustasting drinks will keep those people as valuable customers as well.
appetiser. liquor expert
As seen in Summer 23/24