There’s something undeniably luxurious about drinking on a warm, lazy summer afternoon — those rare idyllic days when your to-do list only contains two items: lighting up the grill and slapping on some burgers. But daytime drinking also has its hazards, as anyone who’s been victim of the 9 p.m. hangover can attest. Relax with my prescription for no-consequence drinks made for summer days.
Called “green wine” because it’s bottled very young, vinho verde is a grassy, bone-dry, slightly effervescent white wine from Portugal. I’ve been obsessed for years, thanks to its relatively low alcohol content and $3.99 Trader Joe’s price tag. (Note: If “grassy” is a turn off, this may not be the wine for you.)
Dinner approaching? Vino verde’s acidity and bitterness make it a great choice for seafood of all sorts—it goes equally well with both steamed crab and spicy fish tacos.
It’s hard to resist recipes that have been secret for more than a hundred years. Lillet is an old-school French aperitif (liqueurs that stimulate the appetite before dinner) that always puts me in a great mood.
The red Lillet Rouge is too sweet for my taste, but I love the bright floral/citrus flavor of honey-colored Lillet Blanc. It’s made from semillon, muscadelle and sauvignon blanc grapes mixed with a secret-recipe citrus brandy. Lillet is great straight or on the rocks. A lemon twist is a nice touch. Or you can go full-out James Bond and use it in classic cocktails like the Vesper (Lillet, vodka and gin).
A popular UK drink just making its way stateside, the shandy—equal parts beer and lemonade—has been known to Britons since the 19th century as the tastiest way to lower beer’s potency.
To make a shandy worthy of a British pub, fill a glass (or, if you’re fancy, a chilled beer mug) halfway with lemonade. High-quality, slightly tart lemonade is crucial (find one without corn syrup), as is a subtle beer (try lager, pale ale or pilsner). Add the beer slowly, pouring against the inside of the glass to avoid foam. Kick things up by substituting ginger beer for lemonade.