Summer’s here, and with it, the great pleasure that is imbibing at the beach. Here are our picks for drinking on the sand… and at outdoor concerts and movies, on rooftops, at picnics, and basically anywhere else you might want a boozy beverage al fresco.

Kathryn Maier | NYC Food & Drink Editor | Updated: 25 July 2017

Let’s get this out of the way from the start: In most parts of the U.S., it’s illegal to drink in a public place. So we’re not going to tell you that you should actually bring any booze with you to the beach. Or to the park. Or to an outdoor movie or concert. It potentially means a fine of hundreds of dollars. But you’ll likely do it anyway this summer. So if you do, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
Keep it simple. Opening a conventional wine bottle with a corkscrew can be a production. Worse, if no one remembers a corkscrew, you’ll be S.O.L. in the sand. And you definitely don’t want to be mixing cocktails at the beach. It’s indiscreet, it’s impractical (you don’t want to carry a shaker or mixing glass and spoon with you), and it distracts you from time spent with your friends. Stick with ready-to-drink sips.

Keep it canned. A canned drink is the way to go. Avoid glass. Not only are cans more discreet—from a distance, it looks like you’re drinking soda—but you also don’t have to worry about forgetting your corkscrew, or about breakage. (Believe me, nothing ruins a perfectly good picnic like stepping on a shard of broken glass.) And your options are no longer limited to beer: Wines (both still and sparkling) are now available in cans, as are an array of pre-mixed cocktails. You’ve got options.
Keep it light. On a hot day, you want something refreshing and thirst-quenching. Sessionable, lower-ABV drinks are best. Avoid brown liquor, dark beers, or tannic full-bodied red wines—and when you’re dealing with spirits, make sure they’re well-diluted with non-alcoholic mixers. Aim for no more than about 10 to 12 percent ABV in whatever you’re sipping on. Booze hits you harder when you’re in the sun, and it’s no good to be that passed-out person at the picnic.

Keep it cool. Wine, in particular, is prone to heat damage—which means that warm wine is not only as unpalatable as warm beer, but its flavor will change after prolonged exposure to heat. A couple of hours outside, like at a picnic or outdoor concert, isn’t a big deal, but if you’re planning for a long day at the beach, keep your cans in a cooler to preserve their flavors.

Novo Fogo Sparkling Caipirinha

If any country knows something about drinking citrusy cocktails on sandy beaches, it’s Brazil. Its national drink, the caipirinha (made with cachaça, lime, and sugar) is newly available in ready-to-drink form from Novo Fogo, premixed in a petite 200 ml can perfect for sipping in the sun. You get a fair amount of funk from the cachaça (a rum-like spirit made from cane sugar and celebrated for its herbaceousness) in this one, so it’s great to drink with picnic grub.

The Best Canned Wine and Cocktails to Drink at the Beach This Summer
Culture Trip, May 19, 2017