Summer’s been weird. 2-3 years ago would have seen me doing a lot of drinking at this time of year, along with Christmas wine matching and broken bottles in transit up and down the east coast. This year it’s wordle and chill – and much less wine. That being said – while I drink a lot less, there’s still so many quality craft drinks I enjoy. These also help provide inspiration for non alc. When I’m not drinking off the list below, you can find me enjoying a lager or a margarita. Here is my summer top 5.
WINE La Petit Mort – Stanthorpe
These are new wave wines out of Queensland’s granite belt. Chrissie and I have family in the region and know it well, having spent many Christmas holidays there. It’s great to see the evolution of wine styles here and this Gerwurtz blend is aromatic and interesting without being confronting. It’s made in a traditional terracotta qwervi – very much in vogue right now (and also 8000 years ago). Good value and great for warmer weather.
VERMOUTH Saison – Victoria
There is great enjoyment in an afternoon aperitif over ice. Saison Vermouth out of Victoria has been my go-to over summer. It’s made by Embla chef Dan Verheul and flavours seem to vary depending on what he sources. I’ve loved both walnut and quince. This also makes a great gift.
RHUM AGRICOLE Clairin – Haiti
Pre Christmas I attended a tasting of Clairin from Haiti at Where’s Nick. These wild spirits are made by micro distilleries within people’s backyards, using local sugarcane. The flavour profiles vary so much between producers – from truffles to sweet pepper to ginger, to a saline quality. These are worth seeking out for rum and spirit lovers.
G&T CANS Poor Tom’s – Marrickville
I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Poor Tom’s as I spend a lot of time in Marrickville. These G&T cans are great for single serves after work or to bring to the beach when there is actually sun. I always love a can.
NON ALC PS40 Soda – Sydney CBD
Michael Chiem from PS40 bar in Sydney CBD has always been a magician with flavours. He’s used native ingredients in his unique range of sodas. Always great to keep in the fridge!
BAIJIU Moutai – China
This is veering as far away from non alc as you can get… but I have worked a lot in China over the past 10 years and have grown an appreciation for a controversial spirit category – baijiu. Similar to Italian or Japanese food pairing, baijiu is best served alongside a Chinese banquet – Moutai is made the Guizhou province so food of that region or neighbouring Sichuan is always a good bet. For spirit enthusiasts, the flavour profile is so complex and unlike anything else you will try from western liquor. I strongly feel drinks allow people to come together and I have seen Moutai do this many times – for better and for worse.