Spring and summer cocktails to sip on

Aperol spritz cocktail served on dark background.
Aperol spritz cocktail served on dark background.

Spring and summer cocktails to sip on

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Okinawa

For wine drinkers, one of the joys of the German lifestyle is the chance to sample some of the world’s best whites. But not every occasion calls for a Riesling, the country’s undisputed king of grapes. Humbler varietals and sparkling wines from Germany and beyond often serve as the basis for tasty summer cocktails. Here are a just a few to try when out when chilling on your balcony.

Maibowle: Although most closely associated with May Day celebrations, the drink is also consumed throughout the warm months of spring. Its defining ingredient is an herb known as woodruff, or Waldmeister in German. Ingredients typically used to make a classic Maibowle include an everyday white wine; a couple bunches of fresh woodruff leaves, bound together; sugar; sparkling wine; and lemon as a garnish. A popular variation of the Maibowle is made with strawberries. 

Other fruits from pineapple to pears make appearances in Bowle as well. The drink is often served with a little plastic fork so you can pick out and snack on the edible bits. Just think of all those healthy vitamins you’re ingesting!

Other wine-based cocktails you’ll run into in Germany and throughout much of Europe include:

Aperol Spritz: The somewhat bitter taste in this drink comes from Aperol, an Italian aperitif made of oranges, herbs and root. Made with Aperol, sparkling wine, a dash of soda water and an orange slice, this pretty drink seems to glow in its glass.

Bellini: This drink of Venetian origin is a combination of Processo and peach nectar or puree.

Hugo: This cocktail’s distinctive taste comes from elderflower or Holunderblüten. In addition to a sweet syrup made from the fragrant white flower's blossoms, its other ingredients include sparkling wine, mint and slices of lime.

Lillet Berry: This relative newcomer is made with Lillet, a French wine-based aperitif, mixed with Schweppes Russian Wildberry soda, sparkling wine, fresh berries and mint.

Non-alcoholic variations: If the sudden profusion of offerings on supermarket shelves is anything to go by, sales of alcohol-free wines geared toward adult consumers are booming. Those who would rather avoid alcohol altogether can enjoy, for example, the Light Liverange of beverages, alcohol-free sparkling wines in such tempting flavors as rhubarb-vanilla, pomegranate, raspberry and mango.

Be sure to enjoy these cocktails during these warmer months!

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