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Food & Drink: Bar.

Byline: Lawrence McCoy

WE may not have had too many opportunities for al-fresco eating this summer, but being optimistic about the weather is one of the great British strengths.

So, on the assumption that we are set for a glorious Indian summer, it's far too early to put the freeze-box away. Outdoor eating and drinking needs a bit of planning, and one of the biggest secrets is what to drink -- and how to keep it cool.

A freeze-box is an essential here, or for an alternative -- and easier to carry option -- cut a cardboard box to fit inside a rucksac, then line it with cloths or newspaper. Freeze a couple of big plastic bottles of water and put it all in together with the drink. Not only will the bottles or tins stay chilled, but you can always drink the water as it melts.

Champagne, or any fizzy wine, will lift a picnic. For something quite different one of those outrageous sparkling Shirazes from Australia would respond to chilling out. For whites, try one of those trendy Italians, invigorating Sauvignons, aromatic Rieslings, Torrontes from Argentina, or Albarino from Galicia in Spain.

Rose seems to come into its own for picnics and nowadays there are plenty to choose from. And some red wines actually do benefit from being slightly chilled, like Loire reds.

If a freeze box or the home made method are not an option, it might be better to choose a soft, fruity red that doesn't mind being warm.

Those frozen bottle sleeves are quite effective for a couple of hours.

Newspaper or cloths soaked in water and wrapped around a bottle are reasonably effective, and a running stream would help do the trick.

Not recommended is putting drinks in the freezer overnight -- if you want to avoid an exploded bottle that is! You can also chill the flavour out of wine.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 28, 2004
Words:313
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