The world of convenient booze has exploded recently and you can now get just about anything in a can or pouch from wine and G&T to, more recently, cocktails.
This week marks the first step in the government's 'roadmap' plan to ease Ireland out of lockdown. Alongside the reopening hairdressers and barbers, you are now allowed to meet up with friends from a maximum of three households to socialise outdoors. So with that in mind, we’re turning our attention to effortless alfresco entertaining.
First on the list is of course hosting a barbecue for your friends or family. Think long evenings spent out the back garden laughing over drinks and eating your way through a smorgasbord of barbecued food. Next, is visiting the plethora of food markets and coffee carts that have sprung up over lockdown. Last, but by no means least, is going for BYOB outdoors. An activity once reserved for teenagers, drinking in the park has become the norm under current lockdown rules.
But unlike your teenage years, your beverage options are not limited to cans of cider or beer. Until recently, you'd be hard-pressed to find many other options for drinking on the go open to you. Thankfully, a crop of other alcoholic beverages, from wine to cocktails, have started popping up. In other words, our options on what drinks we get to enjoy in the park are only growing and getting better.
And on that note, we've taken the liberty to round up all the best drink launches of the year so far that make for excellent park drinks.
White Claw Mango
Just a little over a year ago, news broke that America's favourite sparkling alcoholic beverage was heading to Irish shores. The launch caused a bit of a social media frenzy and getting your hands on a White Claw Hard Seltzer can was as difficult as finding toilet roll at the start of the pandemic. Now with White Claw being a firm favourite amongst us all, the brand has added a brand new flavour to the mix: Mango. Made from a blend of sparkling water with triple distilled alcohol and a hint of natural mango fruit flavour, this is summer in a can. Priced at €3 per can, the new White Claw Hard Seltzer Mango can be found at supermarkets nationwide as well as selected off-licenses.
M&S Hard Seltzer
It's fair to say that when the previously mentioned White Claw landed on the Irish market, it created a bit of a trend. Since last summer, tonnes of brands from Kopparberg to Coca Cola have got in on the hard seltzer action, and now it's time for retailers to create their own in-store version. M&S's take on the alcoholic sparkling water is available in three fruity flavours: Black Cherry, Lemon & Lime and Raspberry & Rhubarb. Priced at €2.10 a can, each flavour of M&S Hard Seltzer has 75 calories and are available in M&S stores nationwide.
Craft Cocktails first sprung onto the market in October of last year with six classic cocktails made for ease of serve. Since then, they've expanded their range to include Mai Tai, Cosmo, a non-alcoholic Negroni and Belfast Coffee. Now, adding to their range once again, Craft Cocktails has created three new flavours of premium bottled cocktails launching this month. First up, is The Banana Old Fashioned. Made with overproof rum, banana liqueur and chocolate bitters, swimming in Bulleit Rye Whiskey, it has a Caribean feel. Next in the new range of cocktails is The French Martini, which is a classic mix of vodka, pineapple, and black raspberry liqueur, with a little Irish raspberry wine to give an extra summery feel. The final new addition is The Whiskey Sour which tweaks the original recipe by using Bulleit Bourbon blended with Roe and Co Irish Whiskey and leaving the egg white out to ensure a six-month shelf life as with all the range. Craft Cocktails are made using only 100% natural ingredients and some serious bartender know-how from the award-winning team at Dublin’s BAR 1661. But what's truly great about these pre-made cocktails is they are ready to drink straight from the bottle or over ice. Available in two sizes: the small 200ml bottle (€12.50) serves two, and the large 700ml bottle (€35) contains seven serves making them the perfect choice for outdoor drinks – all you'll need is some paper cups. All new flavours will be available from May 24 from craftcocktails.ie and independent retailers nationwide.
Stillgarden Drink Pouches
In an effort to cut down on waste and transport emissions, Stillgarden Distillery in Dublin 8 has launched a range of drink pouches. Available now from the Stillgarden website and the Distillery’s shop these new 500ml products have been made for the Distillers Edition Gin, Boss Lady Gin, Early Harvest Vodka and their best-selling ready to pour cocktails Spent-spresso Martini, Raspberry Soiree and Cosmo, the new drink pouches make drinking on the go sustainable and fun. The new flexible pouches reduce glass breakages and the overall shipping weight by 67.5% compared to glass bottles, which means less transport emissions. Though durable, the pouches weigh 42% less than the plastic stopper on the glass bottle, which means a lower volume of plastic waste than before. It's also allowed Stillgarden to cut the packaging required to protect the product down to 0% when compared to glass bottles. In a bid to be even more sustainable, the pouches can be returned to the Stillgarden Distillery by prepaid post or by walking into the Dublin 8 shop with 1 free 500ml pouch offered for every 10 pouches returned. Priced from €29 to €35 which includes a prepaid postage label to return your empty pouches for recycling. Available to purchase directly from the Distillery shop in Dublin 8 or online with nationwide delivery and next day delivery available in Dublin for orders placed before noon. See stillgardendistillery.com for more information.
Wine is always a great way to turn drinks in the park into a sophisticated affair but there's just one problem – corkage. Sure, you could bring a corkscrew with you or maybe you even have one on your keys but let's face it – we're not those kinds of people and we're never going to remember to pack a corkscrew. Cue WineLab and their clever new innovation. Aptly named Bagnums, WineLab has launched a 1.5 litre Un’Ombr Magnum in a bag. Sourced from Friuli in Northern Italy, Winelabs Bagnums are a range of delicious everyday wines available in both 6 litre and 3 litre boxes. Choose from a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, a fruity Pinot Grigio, or a smooth Rosso made from a local Refosco grape. Bagnums keep wine fresh for up to 6 weeks and with no glass they can be recycled in your home green bin. Choose from a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, a fruity Pinot Grigio, or a smooth Rosso made from a local Refosco grape. The 3 litre box is €50 and contains 2 X 1.5 litre bagnums of premium wine in a beautiful easy pour bag. Each 6 litre box of Un’Ombra, €100 contains 4 x 1.5 litre bagnums which is the equivalent to 8 bottles of wine making it just about the best value you can get. Shop Bagnums now on WineLab’s online store.
Born out of the Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin but produced at their brewery in Dundalk, comes the Míl Spritz. Made with the very Mediterranean flavoured Míl gin and mixed with their own custom made tonic water, this is a very refreshing 250 ml can. Lots of fizz and summertime botanicals with just the right amount of bitter and sweetness.
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