A Few Summer Drinks Ideas, Plus An Excellent Cocktail Book

Apparently, according to new research, even moderate drinking is now linked to an increased risk of dementia and other age-related issues. Life without any alcohol would be very dull in my view, but I’m aware of the dangers and I don’t really need a scientist to tell me it’s not good for me, I take MUCH longer to recover from a couple of Negroni now than I ever did at 30 or even 40.

I’m trying not to drink during the week currently, because I don’t want to waste any time feeling hideous the next day and to keep my units low. I still don’t drink wine that often, due to the menopause apparently making me allergic to it.

To help me on my way, I was sent some excellent alcohol free wine to try recently, by Eisberg. The Sparkling Blanc tastes like an apple-ish prosecco and although it’s clearly not alcohol, it is delicious and refreshing. You can down a couple of glasses in the summer heat without panicking, it’s also lower in calories than wine. Even my twentysomething sons thought it was good, polishing off the Sparkling Rose so swiftly I didn’t even get a chance to photograph it.

I’ve also been using it as a low alcohol mixer for my second fav drink of the summer, which is any vermouth topped up with prosecco. While in Venice earlier this summer, I was introduced to Cynar, an artichoke vermouth which is deliciously jammy and bitter. It’s scrummy, but packs a punch, so adding the Sparkling Blanc makes for a longer drink and slows down the affect of the alcohol.

It’s also good with another new favourite, Berto Bitter, which is like an artisan Campari, so if you like a Campari spritz, or fancy up-scaling your Negroni mix with something more interesting, add it to your shopping list.

I was introduced to the Berto range by my favourite barman in London, Mr Brian Silva, head barman of Balthazar in Covent Garden. Brian mixes the very best Negroni in town and is an expert at all things drinks related. He has a new book out, Mixing In The Right Circles, which is  all you need for good cocktail making. I highly recommend the book and popping in to see Brian at his bar. If he’s on duty, ask him to make you a Breakfast Negroni (there’s definitely not an low alcohol version of this available.)

Finally if you have been slow to the Negroni party (where HAVE you been?) and are nervous of making your own, you can buy the cocktail ready mixed as Campari Negroni, from Waitrose, it is very good.



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