Welcome to my ultimate alfresco drinking guide! Here are my top picks of summer drinking products, from wine and spirits to hampers and lights.
When the sun starts to shine, I want to get out into the garden or park with friends. I’m sure I’m not the only one who spots the sun and wants to light the barbecue and chill some drinks. I love making cocktails like a gin rickey, cucumber caipirinha or cranberry pomegranate cosmopolitan. Other times I want to have a few beers or glasses of wine.
Scroll down for your chance to win a Charles Bentley 4-Person Wicker Picnic Hamper!
Alfresco Summer Drinks (alcohol)
Opihr Oriental Spice Gin is said to have the exotic intensity of the ancient spice route. I love it’s deep flavours and aromas, including cubebs from Indonesia, black pepper from India & coriander from Morocco, which are all reportedly hand-picked to create a unique spiced gin. Opihr (pronounced o-peer) also has sharp bursts of citrus, while notes of cumin and cardamom provide a warm earthy background balanced with the grapefruit peel. I really like this gin, and it livens up any G&T.
Conker Spirit Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
I first encountered Conker Spirit’s gin when on a bloggers retreat to Dorset. Made in Bournemouth, Conker Spirit is Dorset’s first gin distillery. For this cold brew coffee liqueur, they’ve gone against the usual sweet coffee flavoured spirits. For this liqueur, they created a truely coffee flavoured spirit that reflects the rich flavours of espresso. And no additives or flavourings. I really loved this liqueur. It’s so flavourful and we’ve been enjoying it as shots.
Elephant Gin is an award-winning, small-batch handcrafted premium gin, made in Germany with rare African botanicals. It’s 14 botanicals include pine, pimento and baobab. 15% of profits go to African elephant foundations to fight the illegal ivory trade. Go easy, it’s 57% abv!
I’m sure you’re familiar with Smirnoff, I know I am! Ice, vodka and mixer – that’s just summer, isn’t it? My mixer of choice is either tonic, or soda and lime cordial. Often though, I get all fancy and make full-on cocktails. Try my carrot Moscow mule (it’s practically drinking salad!) or cranberry pomegranate cosmopolitan cocktail.
Funkin Cocktails Skinny Mojito Shaker
These cocktail shakers are great fun. You just have to add rum, ice and then shake it up into a yummy mojito. We had a blast pretending to be Tom Cruise in cocktail shaking up the containers.
Redentore Pinto Grigio
This is a crisp and delicious organic sulphite-free wine that has a beautiful tropical fruit flavour that works well with citrus and acidic fruits. It’s from the Organic Wine Club who have an inspiring range of organic wines.
Vale da Capucha
Another offering from the Organic Wine Club, this organic Portuguese white comes from vineyards planted on kimmeridgian limestone with clay on the Lisbon coast. It is best served super chilled and lovely with root vegetable dishes. We had it ice cold on a lovely warm evening and both my husband and I adored it.
Barefoot Pink Pinot Grigio
Rose just screams summer to me. We love this crisp and refreshing Californian rose. It’s really easy drinking and lovely on it’s own in the garden or at a barbecue. It’s light, fruity and flavourful.
Esprit de Buganay
This French rose from Cotes de Provence is crisp and light. We enjoyed it’s deep flavour, but it’s still smooth and easy to drink. It’s perfect on it’s own on warm evenings.
San Leo Rosato Vino Spumante
This sparkling Italian rose is bright, light and fruity. I tend to drink quite a lot of prosecco, and I love this as a summery alternative. It’s a fantastic party drink that’s easy to quaff and full of flavour.
Toro Loco Superior
This vegan Spanish wine from Aldi is a blend of bobal, tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon grapes. The name means ‘crazy bull’ and it’s an earthy and fairly robust red wine. It’s also certified organic and vegan. ‘Crazy Bull’ is rather well-known as being one of Aldi’s excellent value for money wines.
Origin Pure No Sulphur Added Cabernet Sauvignon
This is another organic vegan wine from Aldi. It’s also fairtrade certified and sulphite-free. This award-winning cabernet sauvignon comes from South Africa and has a smooth, dark taste with rich vanilla oak and dark plum flavours. We really enjoyed it and also loved it’s ethical standards and that the company uses all natural farming techniques.
Lager and Cider
Celia Organic Gluten-Free Craft Lager
These gluten-free, vegan Czech lagers are handcrafted and naturally carbonated. They’re traditionally batch brewed in the cellars of a 14th century Czech castle -impressive! We loved the taste of them and will definitely seek them out again.
St Peter’s Alcohol Free Beer
This is a great-tasting full-bodied alcohol-free craft ale from St Peter’s – a Suffolk-based small brewery. We enjoyed it’s distinctive maltiness and slight bitterness. Great for the designated driver or anyone not drinking alcohol.
Smirnoff Cider with Vodka
I love the packaging of these vodka-based fruit ciders, showing off the pretty colours. This new range has lovely flavours like passionfruit and lime, mandarin and pink grapefruit and raspberry pomegranate. They’re lightly fizzy, refreshing and gently sweet.
Alfresco Summer Drinks (alcohol-free)
Van Nahmen Fruit-Secco Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Apple and Quince
As an alcohol-free alternative, this sparkling apple and quince juice is absolutely wonderful. It still feels special and has a lovely flavour. Anyone not drinking won’t feel left out at all with this fruit-secco. It’s absolutely delicious.
Cawston Press Sparkling Drinks
We love Cawston Press’s sparkling drinks. They have grown up flavours including rhubarb or elderflower lemonade. They’re so lovely on their own or as mixers. I like that they’re not from concentrate and don’t have any artificial sweeteners, colourings or preservatives.
James White Drinks
James White English apple drinks come in loads of lovely flavours, including cox apple juice, Bramley apple juice, apple and summer berries, russet apple juice and apple elderflower juice. These premium juices are great mixers for cocktails or on their own as an alcohol-free option.
Sparkling Ice Flavoured Sparkling Water
These low-calorie sparkling flavoured waters are perfect for any guests on a diet. They have lovely flavours and a great range including cloudy lemonade, black raspberry, orange mango, peach nectarine and kiwi strawberry. They’re lovely on their own, or with a cheeky shot of vodka.
Minor Figures Cold Brew Coffees
These handy on-the-go cold brew coffees are great for a pick me up, mixer (perfect with a shot of that Conker Cold Brew Liqueur above!) or alcohol-free alternative. They’re made with in-season single origin beans that are cold brewed in filtered water for over 18 hours. We all loved them, particularly the coconut one.
Shaken Udder Strawberries and Clotted Cream Drinks
My kids grabbed these strawberry milkshakes pretty sharpish and loved them. I like that they’re made with clotted cream from my friends over at Roddas, and they have no artificial flavourings, colours or preservatives.
Stag Stornoway water biscuits, seaweed oatcakes and cheese straws
Stag make a lovely range of biscuits and crackers that are the perfect nibbles for alfresco drinking. They have great flavours and we loved the seaweed oatcakes.
Peter’s Yard Sourdough Crispbreads
These yummy crispbreads come in great flavours including 5 seed, cumin and nigella seed and sea salt. They’re really nice and flavourful and perfect with some cheese and wine.
Meringue Drops from Flower and White
Aren’t they adorable? These cute handmade Swiss-baked meringues are delicious and look great. The little drops come in in flavours including chocolate, strawberry, and rainbow with lemon, passion fruit and black cherry. My kids’ faces lit up when I let them try these. They’re amazing with cream and fresh strawberries. Vegetarian and gluten-free. Some are also dairy-free.
I love taking a picnic, but even better when it’s an amazing box full of Italian antipasti, cheese and other goodies. Since 1875 Diforti have been making gourmet Italian hampers. They have a great selection with everything from family sized boxes to wine and cheese hampers.
We love the careful selection of products that we were sent to try. The Italian pastries are utterly divine and my husband loved tucking into the charcuterie.
The Alfresco Box (£22) includes sun-dried tomato with basil and cheese, green olive tapenade, red sweet pepper stuffed with cheese, prosciutto crudo, coppa, mozzarella di Bufala, gorgonzola dolce DOP and Italian breadsticks rustici.
Alfresco Drinking Guide Products
In the garden
Sirius Lucas 10 LED Festoon Lights
These gorgeous retro LED lights are bang on trend at the moment. I can’t decide if I’ll thread them through the branches of a tree or hang them on the fence around our outdoor dining room. They give off a lovely light and mean we can keep partying outdoors for longer! £30.
Charles BentleyWhicker Picnic Hamper – enter below to win one!
This pretty wicker picnic basket has all the cutlery and crockery you need to four people to dine outdoors. It has a lovely stripy patterned fabric inside and grey straps. It also comes with plastic champagne flutes and a corkscrew so you won’t be caught out unable to open your wine (that has definitely happened to me!). This lovely picnic basket is from BuyDirect4U.
Alfresco Drinking Guide – On the table
LSA International Gin Cocktail Jug and Stirrer
This jug is a lovely, sleek and modern style with the most gorgeous blown stirrer. The quality is absolutely stunning and it feels at once robust, yet delicate. LSA International make such amazing glassware and this jug is no exception. I’ve already made a big batch of Pimm’s in it and I’m sure I’ll do that often with it this summer! £38.
LSA International Deco tumblers
I adore the different golden patterns on each of the eight of these tumblers. The quality and art deco style are gorgeous. As with other LSA products, they’re elegant, distinctive and a treat to use. £50.
LSA International Nomad Highball Beer set in Wood Crate
No need to struggle carrying beers or cocktails with this elegant wooden box and glasses. The glasses are a great highball size so perfect for different drinks. The box is a pale unfinished birch wood and looks Scandi-chic and minimalist. It is all amazing quality and just gorgeous. £45.
Judge Slate Cheese Board and Dome
Judge have some great products and I love this cheese dome. It’s large with a wooden and slate base and a plastic dome. Perfect to keep the flying beasties off cheese and nibbles when you’re having an al fresco garden party! £24.
Thornback and Peel Pea Tray
Isn’t this pea tray adorable? I love the jolly retro pattern on it. It’s a great size for carrying a few cocktails into the garden, or nibbles. I’ve long loved Thornback and Peel as they have such lovely products and distinctive patterns. £20.
To be in with a chance of winning a Charles Bentley Wicker 4-Person Picnic Hamper worth £40, just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open to UK entrants over 18 only and runs until midnight on 30 June 2017.
Check out my current other giveaways, including an instant hot/cold tap worth £499, an ancestry DNA kit, an art print worth £120, cake tins and more!
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
The winner will be announced on the Rafflecopter widget after the prize has been claimed.
There is 1 prize of a Charles Bentley Wicker Picnic Hamper.
There is no cash alternative and the prize is not transferable.
This giveaway is open to UK entrants only and runs until midnight on 30 June 2017.
The winner will be picked at random and then contacted via email.
Veggie Desserts, as the promoter, reserves the right to cancel or amend the giveaway and these terms and conditions without notice.
Entrants must be over 18 years old.
If the winner doesn’t respond to the email within 5 days, another winner will be picked.
The prize will be delivered to the winner as soon as possible by the brand directly.
Disclosure: I was sent products to review for my Ultimate Alfresco Drinking Guide. A huge thanks goes out to those who sent me product to try. I’ve only shared products that I like and all opinions are my own.