Summer Drinks, Easy (and Cheap) Style

Nothing beats a cold drink on a patio in the summer time. It’s easy enough to quench your thirst with a local beer, like the Granville Island Robson Street Hefeweizen with a slice of orange, or a chilled glass of BC white wine (I’m a huge fan of the Wild Goose Gewurztraminer, for the record). But sometimes the summer calls for something a little more creative…and cheaper. Here are three of my favourite creative summertime drinks, in no particular order.

1. Champagne or Beer Spritzer

This is my loose name for any take on a sparkling white mix. Of late, my favourite has been to muddle some mint and fresh raspberries with a bit of sugar, and pour 2 parts cheap Cava with 1 part Sprite or 7up alongside. The bonus of this is the tastiness (and your seeming drink-mixing wizardry) and the fact that your Cava will last twice as long. No one complains about a fresh, tasty drink in the summer, even if the end goal is to save on the booze part! If you’re not a sparkling fan, try subbing your favourite light beer for the wine part. You might be surprised at how good it is to combine beer with fruit. Seriously, try it.

2. Sangria

Like the champagne spritzer, this one’s all about flavor mixing and using less booze. This time, though you’re dealing with cheaper red wine, fruit juice and—most importantly—free-floating fruit. While fruit can be pretty pricy, most flavorful fruits are in season right now, so go heavy on those (pineapple especially). And as the bowl gets less full, refill it with bubbly pop and more fruit pieces (pre-chop these, so you’re not drinking and knifing. Trust me). Your guests will be buzzy enough by then not to care.

3. The Jilly July

The trickiest of the bunch, the Jilly July is my nickname for any drink I make with whatever’s in my fridge. In summer, most of my friends are a little more adventurous and willing to mix it up, I find. The Jilly July favourite is a “poor man’s Caesar” which consisted of cold tomato soup, clam sauce, horse radish, and a generous spray of vodka. It sounds gross, but it was actually really tasty one hot day. Don’t knock it til you try it!

Share your favourite summer drinks in the comments.

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