Puts down your cans of warm Budweiser and chuck out those supermarket tinnies – we’re pulling out the big guns.
That’s right – if we’re going celebrate our summer of (relative) freedom properly, we’re going to need a lot more than just 750ml of booze at a time.
We’re talking actual magnums of fizz, jumbo pre-mixed cocktails, and if you’re not feeling tipsy enough already, three whole litres of gin.
Here are our picks of wines, cocktails and spirits that are sure to liven up your Rule-of-Six gatherings in the local park.
Taste the Difference Crémant de Loire Magnum, France
There’s something deeply decadent about a magnum of bubbles, possibly sipped straight from the bottle in the passenger seat of an open-top vintage Bugatti. Well, we are in the ‘roaring 20s’.
Actually, that wouldn’t do for social distancing or driving, so perhaps let’s not. Chenin Blanc leads the charge, made by Bouvet Ladubay for Sainsbury’s in the same method as champers, giving revved-up creamy, honeyed, lemon balm notes over toasty brioche.
How delightfully spiffing.
Buy it for £22 at Sainsbury’s.
Vilarnau Brut Reserva Cava Magnum, Spain
Prepare to be asked where you bought this bottle by every passer-by – trust me, it gets old after a while.
The Gaudí-inspired, mosaic-style bottle depicts the smashed-tile effect that can only mean Barcelona, where Vilarnau is indeed produced.
It’s actually called ‘trencadís’, if we want to get highbrow, a design used in the modernist artistic movement. A dry style of sparkling, all green apple, pear, heady jasmine notes and a pop of Mediterranean-style herbs.
Buy it for £26.25 at Ocado.
Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Brut NV Magnum, France
We can’t celebrate our national uncaging without a bottle of champagne – it should really be English sparkling but this has a tenner off.
I love Heidsieck and though I struggle to spell it, I’ve always thought it’s one of champagne’s best-kept secrets, with flavours of lemon curd over buttered baked goods.
You can find two regular-sized bottles for less money, but with double the liquid under the same oxygen pocket, slower magnum ageing equals a smoother pour.
Buy it for £49.99 at Ocado.
Sauvignon Blanc Magnum, New Zealand
Kiwi sauvignon blanc fans are going to lose their minds over this big boy, made in New Zealand’s wine-producing ‘engine room’, Marlborough.
This region makes three quarters of the country’s wine, pumping out sauvignon with textbook flavours of cut grass, passion fruit and gooseberry, as if anyone’s eaten one of those recently.
Aldi sporadically stocks a seasonal range of larger bottles, so get in there quick – something tells me this is going to prove popular.
Buy it for £13.99 at Aldi.
All Shook Up Passion Fruit Martini 2.25L
I’ve raved about this one before, though let’s call it by its proper name, Pornstar Martini. There, I said it.
Centred around an almost dessert-like vanilla and passion fruit flavour combination, with the welcome addition of vodka, all housed in a whopping 2.25L Tetra Pak carton.
Immediately decant the cocktail into chilled plastic martini glasses, or real ones if you’re feeling fancy, then garnish with half a passion fruit and a splurge of fresh lime.
Buy it for £13 at Tesco.
Lordson 3-Litre Gin Box
Gin has been begging for the bag-in-box treatment, and why not, it works for wine? This genius invention should have ‘festival’ written all over it, with the perfect size and quality to keep the designated G&T-maker suitably occupied.
Though no one is buying a three-litre box of gin for the quality, it turns out this has all the aromatic calling-card notes of juniper and lemon zest we need, and not just in a muddy field.
Buy it for £56 at Amazon.
Aperol Spritz 3-Litre
Who hasn’t been mainlining Aperol Spritz over lockdown? Asking for a friend. Just the idea of a gigantic three-litre bottle gives me a disproportionate amount of joy, rivalled only by my upcoming haircut.
A reservoir of those bitter orange and butterscotch notes, poured over ice with that accompanying creamy Prosecco foam, a dash of soda and an orange slice as garnish. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a faff, but we all know it’s worth it.
Buy it for £75.94 at Master of Malt.
Barton & Guestier Passeport Provence Rosé Magnum
No exaggeration, but here is the summer of our freedom, in a bottle.
I can actually feel my muscles unknotting at the sight of this towering magnum of Provence rosé, made from a triumvirate of juicy, perfumed, peachy, spicy Mediterranean-style grapes with that all-important, powder puff-pink pigment.
With six large glasses-worth of wine housed in this super-sized flagon, it’s a good job rosé season runs from January through to December in my world.
Buy it for £22.99 at Waitrose.
Argentinian Malbec Magnum, Argentina
How Aldi prices this bottle shall remain a mystery. Let them worry about that, I’m focusing on how to transport a case of it on to the picnic blanket.
This monster Malbec is produced in the Uco Valley, a high-altitude region widely considered to be one of the best in Argentina.
It’s like playing wine ‘supermarket sweep’, with all the plums, raspberries and violets you can fit into your glass, while they’re basically giving it away.
Buy it for £11.99 at Aldi.
Nero Oro Apassimento Magnum, Italy
Apass-i what now? Apassimento means sun-drying a section of these Sicilian Nero d’Avola grapes before they’re pressed, concentrating them into raisins, though it’s usually reserved for dessert wines.
What does it do? It delivers super-intense, semi port-like black fruit notes of damsons, plums (which are basically damsons), black cherries and dried fruit, transforming an already hench style of wine into an amped-up hybrid.
Higher alcohol, ramped-up richness and velveteen smoothness, check, check and check.
Buy it for £17.99 at Majestic.
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