The four-day Easter holiday weekend in the Cayman Islands is a time for outdoor fun, whether its camping, boating, going to the beach or just lazing by the pool.
For many, the weekend will include some alcoholic beverages and if wine is your beverage of choice, you’ll want some options that are good for outdoor drinking.
If your budget allows, you could always just buy a case or two of Champagne and chances are that will keep you and all your guests happy. After all, Champagne really goes with everything … at any time of day. But not everyone likes Champagne and not everyone can afford it. Fear not: finding wines that are $25 or less and ideal for outdoor drinking is actually very easy in Cayman.
Big breakfasts and Easter brunch are popular during the holiday weekend and sparkling wine is a great way to make any occasion a little more festive.
Most sparkling wines have the added benefit of low alcohol content, which is good when you start drinking early.
Some good choices that can be purchased for under $25 a bottle in Cayman include many kinds of Prosecco from Italy; Cremant de Loire from France; sparkling Riesling from Germany; Cava from Spain; and a variety of sparkling wines from the United States, Argentina and Chile.
All of these wines will pair well with seafood, egg dishes and white meats like chicken and pork.
For those looking to add a little color to the table, or to pair with heavier dishes, try a rosé sparking wine like De Chan
ceny Cremant de Loire Rosé Brut, which is also priced under $25.
Many people like to mix a little orange juice with their sparkling wine at breakfast, something that not only adds flavor but cuts down the potency of the drink. Another easy option is to puree some fresh or frozen fruit like strawberries, raspberries or peaches, and add 1/3 measure of the puree to 2/3 measure of sparkling wine to make a Bellini or a twist on a Bellini. For outdoor drinking, simply puree the fruit in advance and keep chilled in a separate container.
For a more potent sparkling wine cocktail, add one part crème de cassis to four parts sparkling wine to make a Kir Royal.
Afternoon whites and rosés
The heat of the afternoon calls for chilled wines when drinking outdoors. When it comes to white wines, something unoaked with refreshing acidity works well.
Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris are all good choices, and there are several options under $25. For something a little different, try Grüner Veltliner from Austria, Verdejo from Spain, Gavi from Italy or dry Riesling from any number of countries.
Rosés have been the go-to summer wine in Europe for a long time, and now the U.S. – particularly the East Coast – has jumped on the bandwagon. Given that its subtropical climate makes Cayman basically a land of eternal summer, it’s not surprising that rosés are becoming more popular here too.
There are three basic styles of rosés: the semi-sweet White Zinfandel style from California; the crisp, light and fruity style from Provence, France; and the more robust, darker rosés made with “big red” grapes like Tempranillo; Cabernet Sauvignon; Malbec and Grenache in wine regions all over the world.
Whatever your preference, just be sure to serve these wines nice and cold and be careful: it is easy to drink these light wines quickly, especially on a hot day, and even though they have low to moderate alcohol content, you do not want to over-imbibe.
Evening reds and dessert wines
Any of the afternoon wines could easily work for outdoor evening drinking, but if you’re a red wine lover, then the evening is the time to bring them out.
It’s best to choose reds that you can chill slightly without losing too much flavor. Some good choices include Pinot Noir from California; Beaujolais from France; or Zweigelt from Austria.
California Zinfandel, while not exactly a light wine because of its high alcohol content, is easy drinking and fruity, making it good for outdoor cuisine like grilled hamburgers, ribs or steaks.
Of course, if you prefer heavier red wines, by all means have them if that is what you really enjoy, but try chilling them a little.
Most sweet wines are served chilled, and even those that generally aren’t – like Port – can be, at least a bit. One excellent choice for bringing some sweetness to an outdoor event at any time of day is Moscato, the slightly sparkling, slightly sweet wine from northern Italy. Other affordable options include off-dry Riesling, sweet Chenin Blanc and Sherry. Port and Sherry can be purchased in half-bottles for under $25, but be careful with these fortified wines because they pack a big alcohol punch that can go to your head quickly.