Summer Sessions: the low-down on low ABV cocktails
Here in the Southern Hemisphere, spring is well and truly underway, and summer is just around the corner.
Before you know it, the silly season will have begun, and you’ll be left wondering what you’re going to serve your thirsty friends and guests for those all-day celebrations.
Enter the low Alcohol by Volume (ABV) drink. These tend to be long drinks or ‘built cocktails’ made in the glass they're served in, stirred with ice and lengthened with juice and sparkling water.
Along with shrubbing and fermented ingredients, these light and refreshing options are a continuing trend for this summer, increasingly finding themselves a standard feature in bars and magazines.
“Today, it’s expected that a cocktail menu have at least a few low-ABV options—if not an entire section, or even menu, devoted to them”, says Punch.
But what makes a good low ABV drink? And how can you make them at home? Here's some inspiration to get those creative (summer) juices flowing...
There's a tendency for these longer drinking sessions to be associated with a shared bottle of wine or craft beers, and you might think cocktails are too heavy or alcoholic for this experience. But, a good starting place is traditional cocktails served in jugs or carafes - great casual drinking cocktails that work well in an alfresco setting: think cool, laid-back summer vibes, think Sangria or the 2017 obsession – the Aperol Spritz.
With wine in mind, there’s a growing popularity for European-style fortified and aromatised wines and vermouths. These drinks have complex flavours and subtle bitterness, which tend to go well with fresh herbs, juices and sparkling waters – paving the way for the season’s hottest (but coolest!) drinking trend – the Aperitif.
And like all things on-trend, there are various naming conventions popping up, with some bars highlighting their Aperitif drinks, due to the way they stimulate the appetite as lighter, pre-dinner style of cocktail. While others are turning to a term 'Session Cocktails' to describe them. These are drinks that have fresh citrus acidity balanced with sweet or bitter mixers.
The Aperitif drink, by it’s nature, is a simple drink to make and the low-alcohol vibe is best achieved using premium mixers like the Fever Tree range of tonic waters and fresh ingredients. When thinking of low ABV aperitif products to have on hand this Summer we like to use any of the following: Lillet, Pampelle, Regal Rogue, Madenii, Cin Zano, St.Germain. You could also use products like Sake, Sherry or Port as well as non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ like Seedlip and syrups from the Monin range.
Have a look at our some of our Summer Cocktails on our YouTube channel here.
For that refreshing summer vibe, have your C-Press at the ready and add a touch of fresh citrus zing with grapefruits, lemons or limes - think Tom Collins, Mojitos or a homemade, slightly boozy, lemonade on the deck.
Also needed is a precision muddler like the BarStik to get the best natural extraction of fresh fruit flavour. Muddled fresh strawberries with a teaspoon of sugar and topped ice with Rosé wine is perfect for Summer! Jazz up a wine spritzer by using a flavoured syrup and muddled fresh limes and berries.
With your Boston Tin you can shake up a frozen cocktail that will be a blissful cool down on a melting hot summer’s day. And like anything in the heat of summer – the key is to keep your cool, make it simple and don’t overthink it. Low ABV cocktails mean a chilled summer vibe, so instead of sweating the strong stuff it’s low alcohol refreshment for the win!
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