Tiffany asked me to make some recommendations on what to enjoy in the realm of alcoholic beverages in the summertime. With the U.S., Europe and parts of Asia experiencing unprecedented heat this year (and probably for years to come) a modification of your usual drinking preference seems in order.
Tannic red wines simply do not work when it is hot. Even a little time in excessive heat can lead to dehydration, and a mouth-drying coat of tannin on your tongue and throat does the complete opposite of quenching your thirst. Better to stick to low tannin reds like Rioja, Southern Rhones (Grenache based), Pinot Noir and Beaujolais which all can be slightly chilled to increase their refreshment factor.
Of course, you can simply switch to white when it is hot. I did about ten years ago and forgot to switch back. I prefer dry, un-oaked whites with a good deal of acidity as that increases the enjoyment when well chilled in the summer.
Txakoli, Verdejo and Albarino from Spain, Sancerre and Muscadet from France and Arneis, Vermentino, Greco, Soave and Fiano from Italy are all winners.
All three of those Mediterranean countries produce excellent Rosé wines as well. Rosé is basically a red wine that has had the skins pressed off from the wine before all the pigment (and more importantly tannin) can leech into the solution. So you get red fruit flavors you find in red wine and it is usually bone dry but it doesn’t “seem” bone dry because of the absence of tannin (that pesky mouth puckering acidity that dries up your mouth).
Lastly, anytime is a good time for bubbles like Champagne or Cava.
Other Summertime Beverages
If wine isn’t your thing, may I recommend a Michelada, a beer based cocktail that comes in a variety of styles. The classic is beer with beef bouillon they call Jugo in Mexico, Worcestershire sauce, lime and hot sauce with a chili powder/salt rim. Clamato is with the addition of Clamato juice and a bit more lime. Then there is a huge array of fruit flavored Micheladas (Tamarindo is my favorite). They quench the thirst like no other when you are dehydrated.
A favorite of Tiffany’s is the flavored Frozen Margaritas. She likes to think of it as a dessert with a kick.
Aperi spritzers and other bitter beverages are also very refreshing as is Gin and Tonic which I frequently enjoy when traveling in particularly humid climates.
So pick your poison. They all work.