By Peter Rockwell
Punch it Up
On a warm, lazy day at the cottage, or on the back deck, nothing quenches a thirst better than something cool, refreshing and easy to make. Watermelon Punch not only meets that criteria, its presentation will have your friends leaping to social media to share your inspired creation. Find a watermelon that will sit upright and carefully cut off the top. À la a jack-o’-lantern, clean out the insides (try an ice cream scoop) and in a blender, liquefy the pulp. The addition of other fruits (like strawberries) isn’t necessary but they will add dimension to the final flavour. Strain the juice into the watermelon then add vodka and sparkling wine to taste. For a virgin version just replace the alcohol components with sparkling water.
For a great summer read with benefits pick up Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes ($24.99 at Indigo Chapters) by liquor mavens Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau. Born in Veneto, the simple mix of Prosecco wine, Aperol aperitif and soda water (over ice, with an orange wedge garnish) has become the signature cocktail of northern Italy. The authors trace the Spritz’s long history, offering up instructions for a wide variety of versions, and classic Italian snacks perfect for summertime munching.
There are plenty of floatable beverage caddies out there, but only one guarantees it is cannonball proof. Drinker Toys’ new Thirst Mate ($9.99) is a sturdy holder for any size glass, bottle or can that stays afloat thanks to the buoyancy of three recycled plastic pop bottles (not included). You can even link a few together to create your own flotilla. Order online at drinkertoys.com.
Think Outside the Barbecue
While Malbec, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon may be the go-to grapes for most grilling aficionados, I like to drink long the path less taken. Here are my Top 5 alternative barbecue wines that taste as good on their own as they do with whatever you have cooking under your lid.
- Les Dauphins Côtes-du-Rhône Reserve ($14.99): A juicy, Grenache-led red from France’s Rhône Valley that looks retro but tastes oh-so modern.
- Bodegas Palacio Milfl ores Rioja ($15.99): This Spaniard is pretty to look at and rich in spicy Tempranillo goodness.
- Goats do Roam Red ($14.99): Though mostly Shiraz, six other grapes work their magic within this balanced South African.
- Velenosi il Brecciarolo Rosso Piceno Superiore ($16.99): A robust blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese from Italy’s up-and-coming Marche region.
- Crazy Life Rivaner Pinot Grigio ($14.99): This off-dry German works as well with grilled fi sh and poultry and it does with red meats.
Peter Rockwell is a Wine Category Manager at the NSLC. In each issue he will be serving up entertaining ideas and tips that are ‘freshly pressed.’