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Food & Wine

Summer Sipping Round-Up

August 18, 2019
Longshot Pinto Grigio

It’s been a crazy busy few months as I balance work on the book I’m writing with the launch of Krista Lamb Communications.

It’s an exciting time with lots of balls in the air, but I’ve still done my best to taste as many new wines and cocktails as possible. I hope you’re following along with me on Instagram for more consistent updates, but I’ve compiled a few recent selections below.

And a huge thanks to the amazing wine community who continues to support me as I pursue so many different projects. Wine holds a very special place in my heart, but as I work to balance the body and soul parts that make up the name of this blog, it’s great to know that my friends in wine continue to cheer me on!

Sperling Vineyards Market RedSperling Vineyards 2017 Market Red – I really enjoy the wines from this Okanagan Valley vineyard. Sperling produces excellent wines for their price point and this Market Red is no exception. Medium-bodied and dry, this one has a great mouth feel and is a lovely mix of deep red fruit and soft spices. It was a great pairing for roasted chicken and a summer salad.

Longshot 2017 Pinot Grigio – This California Pinot Grigio is full of flavour, with lots of green apple and some lovely citrus on the palate. This is a bold, easy-drinking wine that would be nice on the patio or at your friend’s backyard barbecue. Shawn and I also tried the Longshot 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a bit heavy for a summer sipper, with spicy notes and lots of bramble and dark chocolate. Still, another great party option – especially as the evenings get cooler.

All Day Rose - Huff EstatesAll Day Rosé from Huff Estates – It was a steamy day when we cracked open this summer sipper from Prince Edward County (even my lens was foggy from the humidity!). This rosé is a little on the sweet side for my tastes, but it’s a fun patio wine for a hot summer day. This is a really fruit-forward on the palate with notes of watermelon and mango.

Social Lite Vodka Soda – Field Strawberry – I’ve talked a lot about Social Lite over the years, and with good reason. I love that this Canadian brand makes a sugar free option without artificial flavours. I’ve bought a lot of their Field Strawberry flavour over the summer and it has been such a great go-to when I want a cooler, but not a sugar bomb. When people ask me what’s in my fridge, it’s a good bet that you’ll find a few cans of this.

This is just a very small selection of the wines that I’ve reviewed on my Instagram this summer – be sure to head over to @kristavino and check out even more of my summer selections.

And be sure to share your summer favourites with me, post them in the comments or on social media!


Spirits and Cocktails

Fun Summer Sipping Suggestions

July 13, 2016
Social Lite sugar-free vodka coolers

It’s hot in the city these days, so Shawn and I have been experimenting with some alternative options for patio and cottage sipping. We have to balance a lot of things—he prefers beer, I don’t like to drink anything super sugary and neither of us has the time to make anything super complicated.

This year, we’ve had the opportunity to sample a few options that we wanted to share with you for days when wine may not be at the top of your wishlist (I rarely have those days).

Ernest Cider from OntarioErnest Cider – I like to have the occasional cider as an alternative to beer or wine. It’s a great option at pubs or restaurants where the house wine sounds dodgy, and with so many great Ontario craft options, I usually have some interesting selections to choose from. Ernest Cider impressed me with its adorable packaging, but I was much more interested in what was in the can and that was quite good too. A little sweeter than the bone dry cider I usually prefer, this had a more natural sweetness from the addition of local honey and some cane sugar so it wasn’t a sugar bomb. Shawn and I both enjoyed this one, as the apple really comes through and the carbonation is nice and crisp. We’d both have this again on a patio.

Giffard 1885 Creme de Violette gin gimletSocial Lite Vodka Cocktails – I like a cocktail once in awhile too, but I don’t like having sugar-sweetened drinks if I can avoid them. Social Lite understands that not everyone wants something sweet, so this Toronto-based company developed their line of sugar-free cocktails to appeal to health-conscious sippers like Shawn and I, who want a convenient cooler without all the sugar. First things first, these are not sweet, so if you’re hoping to replace a sugary cooler, this will throw you off. For us, it took a minute to adjust to the flavour, as both the lime and ginger and the lemon cucumber mint flavours seemed a bit bitter on first sip. But once your palate adjusts, they are a really nice sipper. We both preferred the lime and ginger (I’m not a cucumber fan at all, so this is more about my preferences than the quality of the drink) and are thinking these will be our cottage coolers of choice moving forward.

Giffard Lichi-Li Martini is a fun pink sipperGiffard Liquers Crème de Violette and Lichi Li– So first I tell you I avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and then I suggest syrups? Yep. Because with a liqueur you can get a pop of flavour without a huge amount of sugar and I like the ability to play around to make a slightly-sweet drink that will be fun and summer-ready. Shawn can’t handle lychee scent or flavour at all (he asks me to keep my lychee martinis on the other side of the table at restaurants), so I was on my own to try this one. And I liked it. I made a Lichi Martini with 1.5 oz vodka, ½ oz of Giffard Lichi-li and some fresh lime juice to taste. I found it a little strong, so I cut it with a bit of diet ginger ale. The drink was pink and fun, but not too sweet..

With the Crème do Violette, I made a Violet Gimlet with 2oz of dry gin, ½ oz of Giffard Crème de Violette and 1 oz of fresh lime juice (they suggest lime cordial, but I wanted something with less sugar). It was pretty good, but a bit strong, so we again cut this with a bit of diet ginger ale to taste. Shawn and I had fun making these easy-breezy cocktails and I look forward to playing around with these syrups even more over the summer!

Chateau des Charmes Cuvée d'Andrée 2014 RoséChateau des Charmes – 2014 Rosé Cuvée D’Andrée – I couldn’t resist adding in a wine to this list because my honest-to-goodness go-to summer sipper is usually rosé and this is a really good one. With strawberry, lemonade and oranges on the nose and lots of ripe fruit on the palate, this Pinot Noir rosé is bright pink and bursting with flavour. We have already gone through two bottles and the summer is only just starting. It’s perfect for a night out on our patio, pairs well with just about everything and is a fun option to bring to a barbecue—especially at a $16 price-point.

So what are you sipping this summer? Do you have a go-to cocktail without all the sugar? Share your suggestions in the comments or on social!

*We received these products as samples, but our opinions are all our own.