Picnics are perhaps one of the nicest things about English summers. Any opportunity to eat outdoors has to be snatched, usually between showers, and this irregularity only enhances the enjoyment.
Eating out doors is second only to drinking outdoors and each of the summer months seems to have its own appropriate tipple. May should be treated with caution but a glass of quality rose will cover most eventualities. June is of course the quintessential month for Pimms. Evoking blue skies, green lawns, print frocks and cricket whites, a fruity, gingery glass of Pimms is time-travel in a glass.
From mid-July to August the air thickens, the long grass is bleached to a yellowy straw and on sunny evenings the atmosphere turns sticky-sweet, redolent of honey and tinged with golden light. Somehow something more exotic to sip is required.
Last Friday night was exactly one of those evenings. Sitting under a plane tree in Kensington Gardens, the sun filtering through a curtain of trailing green leaves, I was just a bit smug that I had come prepared with a drink designed to add a little glamour to London park life.
1 strawberry juice (whizz in a blender with a little sugar and strain through muslin) or 1 strawberry liqueur
4 rose sparkling wine ( I used Yellowtail Bubbles whose berry flavours go well with the fruit)
Shake the tequila, strawberry and lime with ice. Pour into a champagne glass and top with sparkling rose. Garnish with a mint leaf.
Tip: Mix the first three ingredients in advance and pour into a disposable glass bottle. Don’t forget to pack a thermos of ice and a cocktail shaker.
(Excuse the rather blurry photo – higher pixel version to be uploaded shortly)