As the seasons change so do our beverage cravings. While we were cozying up with spicy reds and ports just a few weeks ago, we're ready to shed those notes of chocolate and tobacco for uplifting hits of strawberry, lemon, and basil. It's spring, so we're cleaning out our fridges and liquor cabinets and restocking them with what we'll be drinking well into the summer.
Cider: We're swiftly leaving behind the days of bold stouts and heavy porters, and we're rounding the corner to bright saisons and crisp Belgian wheats. While we make that transition, we're filling our palates with the fruity flavors of hard ciders. New to the market this season (and in constant supply in my fridge now) is Angry Orchard's Orchard's Edge in Knotty Pear and The Old Fashioned. They're playful and more fruit forward than you might expect from most ciders. But this is Angry Orchard. Fruity beverages are what they do.
Of the two, Cooking Light testers preferred The Old Fashioned. "It's crisp and refreshing, not too terribly sweet. It's what I want to be drinking this summer by the pool," wrote one taster. "It's dryer than I was expecting. It's not cloyingly sweet like some ciders can be, so this would be good for people who dismiss ciders as too sweet automatically."
Both Knotty Pear and The Old Fashioned have 6.5% ABV and are available in 6 packs for a suggested retail price of $11. Some bars and restaurants will have these two ciders on tap and in bottles throughout the spring.
Rosé: No way we'd leave rosé off this list. We just can't! The über trendy pink drink is a must-have at brunch, girls' nights, or when just sipping with your favorite Netflix date (your cat). Pick up a sparkling version, and you're in for a real treat.
Most rosés are packed with berry aromas and refreshing acidity that's often dry enough for even the most sweet-averse. While many great rosés are on the market now (and you can most certainly expect a roundup in the very near future), we typically reach for Mumm Napa Brut Rosé ($24) or Charles & Charles Syrah Rose ($14).
Gin: This spirit is on the rise. Though it's been around for hundreds of years, it's place in popular beverage making has ebbed and flowed with the popularity of other liquors. As tasters begin to experience the many exciting new gins happening in distilleries across the country, this potent potion is popping up at plenty of bars and restaurants.
If you're uncertain (gin does have a lot of floral and woodsy notes that may be too strong fro some people), try it first in a cocktail like our Ramos Gin Fizz. Egg whites transform this tart gin drink into a creamy, dreamy cocktail. (See more Egg-White Cocktails.)