Favorite Summer Sips
When I’m at work, I often fantasize about what life would be like if I still got a long summer break. I’d spend almost every day at the beach with a cold drink in my hand and my toes in the sand. Sadly, I have to work year-round, which is why I immediately shut down that delusion. I am fortunate enough to live close enough to the beach for a day in the surf and sand. Whenever I go, I’m sure to pack a cold cider, can of wine or frozen cocktail to enjoy. As summer quickly comes to a close, I’m relieved to know that these invigorating alcoholic beverages can evoke the spirit of summer with every refreshing sip.
My Peach Beach from Mermaid Winery
When I first started drinking wine, I gravitated more towards sweeter wines. While sampling at the 2018 Town Point Wine Festival, I got my first taste of Mermaid Winery’s fruit-forward wines. The urban winery, located in Norfolk, has three fruit wines. Among those three is my personal favorite, My Peach Beach. This fragrant peach chardonnay is light to taste. Not as saccharine as other fruit wines, My Peach Beach has a crisp finish. The winery even recommends the wine for “lounging at the pool, on the beach or with great friends if you dare to share.”
My Peach Beach and Mermaid Winery’s other wines can be purchased from their tasting rooms in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Wine Slushies from Castle Glen
At any Virginia wine festival, one winery booth I’m always certain to visit is Castle Glen. The winery consistently sets themselves apart by offering imbibers wine slushies. I first had Castle Glen’s wine slushies at the CoVa Wine Fest in January. I became so hooked on the tropical-flavored slushie that I bought a souvenir cup to receive a discount on my future slushie purchases, which was a great investment. I’ve since visited Castle Glen’s booth at two warm-weather wine festivals where those slushies not only helped beat the heat, but also provided a frozen buzz.
Castle Glen is located in Central Virginia, but you can always find them at area wine festivals. Just look for the tent with the two frozen drink machines and the long line.
Canned Dry Rosé from The Williamsburg Winery
To kick off the summer season, Williamsburg Winery debuted a new type of drink to their lineup. The award-winning winery began producing a dry rosé in a can. This year, I became a big fan of the canned wine industry and am constantly on the lookout for different brands. I was thrilled to have a local favorite join the canned-wine movement. Made with 100 percent Virginia-grown grapes, Canned Dry Rosé offers fruity notes of strawberry and citrus while remaining true to the dry finish. I first tried the rosé at Coastal Virginia Magazine’s Best Of Party and was hooked.
Williamsburg Winery’s canned rosé can be found at Wegmans in Virginia as well as the winery’s tasting rooms.
Injet cider from Sly Clyde Ciderworks
Last December, I visited Coastal Virginia’s first cidery, Sly Clyde Ciderworks. While most of their dry ciders weren’t my style, I did conclude that my favorite was the Inkjet, a blackberry- and mint-fermented cider. The slightly sweet cider really hit the spot on an especially hot day at the CoVa Battle of the Burgers – Southside. Reminiscent of a blackberry mojito, this cider offers a bit more flavor depth with tart and savory notes as well.
The Inkjet and more of Sly Clyde’s ciders can be purchased at Total Wine or from the tasting room in Hampton.
Click here to read more about my trip to Sly Clyde Ciderworks.
Orange Crush from Various Bars
A signature summer drink in Coastal Virginia is the Orange Crush (honestly, it’s enjoyed year-round). The refreshing local staple is made with fresh-squeezed orange juice, triple sec and sprite. From the original, different fruity variations have emerged, including the Passion Fruit Crush, Ruby Red Crush and many more.
Living in Virginia Beach, an Orange Crush is one of my go-to orders when I’m at a bar on the Oceanfront. Waterman’s Surfside Grille has the most noteworthy crushes. Nearby Chix on the Beach and The Shack also make a proper crush, along with the other flavorful versions.
Champagne Slushies from Broneys Alumni Grill
While I’m no longer a local to Athens, Ohio, my time at OU will always hold a special place in my heart. As I write this, I’m just two months away from returning for Homecoming. On my list of things to eat and drink while in Athens is a champagne slushie from Broneys Alumni Grill. This is truly the only redeeming quality to Broneys. What the restaurant is lacking in quality service, they make up for in the creation of these wonderful beverages. Honestly, whoever thought to smoothly blend frozen champagne is a genius. Perfect for a warm, sunny day, swing by Broneys, grab a champagne slushie and take a seat on the outdoor patio.
Sips from around the Country
Hard Selzer from Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer
I jumped on the hard seltzer train two summers ago. However, while everyone was getting down with White Claw, I found my love for the brand Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer. I was initially attracted to the mermaid on the front of the can, which is very appropriate considering nearby Norfolk is known for its iconic mermaids. When I picked up the can, I was sold when I saw that it was 6% ABV, one percent higher than White Claw and most other hard seltzers. Of the five flavors I’ve tasted, the Indian River Grapefruit, Valencia Orange and Ventura Lemon are my favorite. These light and citrusy drinks are also low carb, making it a guilt-free summer treat that offers a little buzz along the way.
Grapefruit Spritz from Original House Wine
On my quest for more canned wine, I stumbled upon Original House Wine in the back aisle of my local Total Wine. I grabbed a few to taste and found my new summer spirit in their Grapefruit Spritz. The thirst-quenching, carbonated grapefruit beverage is almost 12% ABV with a bubbly citrus taste that lingers until the end. It’s the perfect amount of sweetness and is light enough to enjoy on the beach without feeling bloated afterwards.