The Race For Drink of The Summer Has Officially Started!

Posted 2 weeks ago in Food & Drink Features

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As the mercury retrogrades and rises, so does our collective thirst for the quintessential summer sip. People have long been seasonal in their taste for food, and drinks are no exception. When the mammy salad comes out, so does the Rosé or, more recently, the Aperol Spritz.

To most people these days, nothing says summer quite like Instagramming a table full of Aperol Spritz with the gals, guys, and gays. It’s the harbinger of fun. Posting this picture as soon as the heat turns on, like it did for the weekend of April 20th, essentially manifests summer.

Yet, as the Aperol Spritz’s candy-peach hue and effervescence casts its shadow over summer soirées, something fickle is underway in the realm of summer libations. While the spritz retains its photogenic charm and easy-drinking allure, a cadre of contenders vies for dominance. This May we are about to see every drinks company we know coming for Aperol’s crown.

This year, the Paloma is getting a mighty push from Don Julio. Expect to see it everywhere having recently launched at 777. The Paloma is more quintessentially Mexican than the Margarita and much simpler to make. It’s a pour-and-stir, essentially. Crucially, though it is lower in alcohol and calories than Aperol. Two things we care about more in summer when all day sipping and beach bodies are on our minds.

The Paloma is an equally photogenic pantone colour that pops and locks eyes on it when you’re on the scroll but I do think the fact that it’s a long drink will hold it back. Long drinks are the ones served in glasses like Vodka Soda glasses. They just don’t photograph as well as the balloon glasses of the quintessential Aperol Spritz. While that seems superfluous, everything counts in the race for this summer’s hawt-thang. 

That said, the Paloma has the new kid on the block, insider vibe about it. And you should never underestimate the new cool underdog, especially when they have Don Julio money behind them.  Whether that will be enough to lure us en masse away from spritzing our summer away has yet to be seen.

Aperol’s Summer Spritz Sessions are already in full swing. Every year they host a heap of seemingly weekly pop-up events at bars all over the city (and likely country) where you get entrance, someone decent on the decks, an Aperol Spritz, and usually a few nibbles for a tenner. In this economy, that is a bargain and a half for guaranteed craic atop Nolita’s rooftop bar, singing along to this year’s summer jams.

Of course, White Claw also positions itself as the quintessential summer accessory. The bubbly concoction of alcohol-infused water has peaked and troughed in popularity since its debut in 2013. But it has never quite landed as fantastically as the Aperol Spritz.

Last year, Guinness launched their ‘It’s a Lovely Day for a Guinness’ campaign to get people to stop associating the black stuff with just cold evening winter pints. In some ways it did wonders because there’s nary a sunny evening you don’t see every Dublin Creative in the city hanging at Grogan’s sipping a Guinney and saying, ‘sure lovely day for it’.

Not to be outdone, traditional beer giants like Corona have joined the fray, releasing their own hard seltzer variants to compete for consumer attention. Canned wines, exemplified by brands like Nomadica, have experienced a meteoric rise, appealing to those on the go or heading to canal cans. Each reshapes the summer drinking landscape in some way, but none have really changed the game the way Aperol did in 2016. So, for these contenders, the goal is clear: to be the next Aperol spritz.

Will any drink ever break through and change the way we summer now that every drink is trying to? Who knows, but it’s a fun fight to watch.

Words: Shamim De Brún


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