The Sweet Beer Alternative
BY AMI BROWN
For all of you non-hip, non-hop loving drinkers, I have a few sweet drink options so you can still be one of the “In-crowd” even if you don’t like beer. I like sweet drinks, and beer just doesn’t cut it for me.
It’s the age of Micro-breweries, craft beer and garage home brew. Every time you turn around, there is a new trendy beer, offering up tastes like pumpkin spice, chocolate, oatmeal, pizza and even banana. Now I have tried a few of these with the expectation that “it won’t really taste like beer”. Guess what? I was wrong every time. Now, don’t get me wrong, they had flavor, but underlying was the distinct taste of yeasty beer, which for some reason – I just don’t like. (Sorry everyone!)
I know there are a lot of people in my boat. You want to go out, to a bar, have a couple drinks, enjoy friends, chat, etc. A glass of wine just feels out of place, and some bars don’t have wine, or you may not like wine either. Now I’ve tasted a lot of alternatives and here are a few sweet favorites that come in a bottle and even look a like a beer especially with a koozie.
MIKE’S HARD LEMONADE
One of my all time favorites. There are so many flavors to choose from, but I recommend the variety pack. You get 4 options, and you’re probably going to like all of them. My personal choice is Blood Orange or Pink Lemonade. They both have a sweet, fruity and crisp taste that is not too tart. Perfect for a warm night, or just chillin’ out with friends. Be careful, it’s hard to drink just one! Regular Mike’s is a 5% alcohol content, where Mike’s Harder Lemonade is an 8%.
OVER THE BARREL HARD SODAS
Now if you really gave a sweet tooth – this is the drink for you! A little like cool-ade on steroids, Over the Barrel Hard Sodas come in Blueberry, Grape, Black Cherry, Crème Soda and Root Beer. These are silly sweet, but super yummy. They have 5.5% alcohol, but you can’t really even tell.
SEAGRAM’S ESCAPE WINE COOLERS
Remember these in college? A light, fruity blend, not too sweet, not to tart, just about right. I like the Wild Berry flavor or the new Tahitian Sunset, with yummy Mango juice. These wine coolers have a lower alcohol content (3.2%) and go perfect with the beach or lounging by the waterfront.
Way too many to mention here! Craft Ciders are a HUGE industry, and new flavors and brands pop up daily! They are traditionally made from apples, but can be made with pears, grapes, blackberries… just about any fruit you can imagine. Ciders offer an ideal alternative, especially as the weather changes to Fall. Not quite as sweet, but still cool and refreshing. My personal choice is Woodchuck Granny Smith Apple or Pear. They usually have a 5% alcohol content. Other nice choices are Angry Orchard, Redd’s or Old Mount. Oh yeah, anything called “Scrumpy” is usually scrumptious!
A little bit like Mike’s, but the original flavor is kind of a bubbly lemonade, “Sprite-like” with a kick. (5.5% alcohol). I just saw the new Watermelon Mimosa one that I really want to try now! They also offer Smirnoff Black Label with a higher alcohol content (7%), so make sure you know what you are getting. These too, are easy to down on a hot day.
A couple of crisp, sweet wines I want to mention from North Carolina wineries are: Sangria by Duplin Winery and Somerset by Vineyards on the Scuppernong. You could call these a dessert wine or just a sweet alternative to your dry whites. Again, these are the icing on the cake, while sitting and relaxing to another gorgeous Southport Sunset.
Here are two of my favorite sweet cocktails (to die for)
THE SUNSET KISS (AMI’S ORIGINAL)
In a tall glass of ice, add:
1 oz Watermelon Pucker Liquor
1 oz White Rum (or Malibu Rum)
Fill almost full with half pineapple juice, half orange juice (or you can use a fruit juice combo/blend)
Top with a generous drizzle of grenadine syrup
Garnish with an orange, pineapple, strawberry or cherry
In a tall glass of ice, add:
1 oz Midori Melon Liquor
1 oz. Malibu Rum
Fill almost full with Pineapple Juice
Top with about 1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream (or whip cream)
Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a cherry