Heatwave drinking

It’s so hot where I live that the winter gritting lorries have been out to treat the melting roads. What do you drink when it’s like this?

I like something that’s painfully refreshing, impossibly cold but also shocking in some other way—sour, spicy or bitter. I want my tongue to wince.

Here are a few things I’m drinking.


Ginger beer can rasp your tongue, or at least tickle it up a bit. Use the spiciest one you can find for both these drinks. More expensive ones tend to have cleaner, less chemical flavours, and a better hit.


Beer spliced with ginger beer. You choose the beer and the ratio, according to taste. In H G Wells’ History of Mr Polly (brilliant, by the way, and not sci-fi), it’s described as “two pints of beer and two bottles of ginger beer foaming in a huge round-bellied jug”. I usually go for a malty bitter, if possible, rather than something hoppy, but there’s no need to strive for subtle effects when you have a blast of ginger.

Dark and stormy

My standard is (roughly):

  • 1 part dark rum (Gosling’s Black Seal is the classic, being Bermudian and good; I also like a spiced rum—Foursquare from Barbados is very good, not overly sweet, and with complementary cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg)
  • 2 parts ginger beer (must be ginger beer; ale is insipid and over-sweet)
  • fresh lime to taste; give it a good measure
  • Angostura bitters (or similar); a few drops (optional)

Using Pimm’s instead of rum and orange instead of lime also does a job.


Sourness comes from acidity. The clue that it’s refreshing comes from the fact that we call notably acidic but nice wines crisp.

In recent weeks I’ve found myself coming back and back to two of Magic Rock Brewing’s sour beers, Salty Kiss (4.1%) and High Wire Grapefruit (5.5%). They say:

Originally brewed as a collaboration with Kissmeyer Beer, this is our take on a traditional German style Gose, flavoured with fruit, sea buckthorn and sea salt. Tart, lightly sour, fruity and refreshing with a defined saltiness makes this beer an excellent accompaniment to food.
(Salty Kiss)

A fruit-infused version of our best-selling West Coast pale ale. We accentuated the original beer’s smoothly composed malt body and lip-smacking citrus character with the addition of 100% natural pink grapefruit flavour. Juicy, tart and deliciously refreshing.
(High Wire Grapefruit)

Fellow friend of the Alderman, Chris Benson (‘In praise of blandness’, September 2016), would hate ’em, but they refresh the hell out of me and I think they’re delicious.

For crisp white wine, a light, often faintly effervescent Txakoli (chak-oh-lee) or Vinho Verde is the bee’s knees. A spritzer made with cheap sauvignon blanc pepped up with some orange bitters does a job, too.


Campari and soda, Campari and orange, the americano and the negroni are all tongue-chewingly refreshing.

The thing to remember with Campari soda is that the ratio should be around 50/50; sweetness is diluted more quickly than bitterness, so the more you dilute it, the bitterer it becomes. Plus you want more biff. In pubs and bars they usually add too much soda.

The americano is equal parts Campari and sweet (red) vermouth over ice and topped up with soda, and the negroni is equal parts Campari, sweet (red) vermouth and gin over ice (stirred). Garnish with orange peel. The negroni sbagliato omits the gin in favour of sparkling wine, e.g. prosecco.

For this refreshment crisis, however, I’m plumping for this frozen negroni recipe on Serious Eats. A negroni slush on a day when it’s so hot birds are sweating through their open beaks, it can make that sweat trickling down your cheek feel like a tear shed from happiness.

Paul Fishman (Windermere, June 2018)

Fishman-bucketPaul is a freelance writer, editor and all-round ink-slinger; he’s also the managing editor of Alderman Lushington.

Website: fishmandeville.com Twitter: @fishmandeville