Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. Western News file photo Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. Western News file photo

Okanagan Taste: Cool drinks for hot days

Cocktails to sip on during the hot Okanagan summer days

I had plans to write about barbeque this week, but given the environmental situation, decided to take a look at what cocktails to drink to cool down.

Or, cocktail-adjacent ideas to combat the heat. Pinterest is a good resource for summer-inspired libations, where I found a few of these ideas.

Let’s start with gin. Locally, stop by The Dubh Glas Distillery near Oliver for their Noteworthy Gin, a hit at a recent market in downtown Penticton, where gin and tonics (small ones) were served to great appreciation. Old Order Distilling has its Legacy Gin, and Legend Distilling in Naramata has Black Moon Gin and Doctor’s Orders gin. All are hand-crafted and unique. Worth a little gin tour around the South Okanagan, with designated driver, to discover your favourite.

A stickler for a classic, my go to gin and tonic is just that, with a couple of lime wedges — maybe lemon and lime for a change every now and then. I found a recipe for a cranberry gin and tonic, with a sprig of rosemary and a cucumber slice. Sounded great until the garnish: a small round of bocconcini cheese. Not for me.

Gin and bubbly creates a refreshing French 75 cocktail. A splash of fruit juice or muddled raspberries would be tasty as well. Try a bottle of sparkling from a local producer such as Evolve Cellars, Fitzpatrick Vineyards, a new one from Serendipity, or Sumac Ridge.

What else pairs well with bubbly? Fruit popsicles. Not the sugary store bought stuff, just Google “fresh popsicle,” try to avoid those with a lot of dairy or too many additions (spices and multiple springs of things). Keep it simple. Find some deep round bowls or glasses, fill about one third with bubbly and gently place a popsicle in the wine. Dip and enjoy, and when it all melts — champagne slushies.

Speaking of slushy things, how about a frozen rosé? This is possibly the trendiest drink of the summer. There are a number of recipes out there, and several wineries offering their version on their bistro patios. My favourite version: freeze some strawberries. Throw them in a blender with a touch of water, add sugar or lemon juice if you wish. Top with rosé wine, or quite frankly, almost any unoaked, lighter style white, blend till it’s the consistency you wish. Drink.

Save the Date

July 16, Naramata Bench: Art in the Vines at Township 7 returns with a number of artisans, live music, food trucks, and wines by the glass.

July 18, online: Join the Kitchen Chat webinar hosted by Tinhorn Creek to talk all things barbecue, including recipes and wine pairings.

July 19, Naramata: The Slocan Ramblers play the Vanilla Pod at Poplar Grove Winery, $15 cover charge, dinner reservations required. Call 250.493.9463 and press 3 to book your reservation directly with the Vanilla Pod Restaurant, or email

July 20, Oliver: Road 13 and Backyard Farm host the first in a series of three cooking workshops (also August 17 and October 5), guests help prepare a three-course dinner (or choose dinner only).

July 22, West Kelowna: Quails’ Gate hosts Midsummer Night Magic with Opera Kelowna and guest chef Quang Dang of Vancouver’s famed West Restaurant.

July 27, Summerland: Okanagan Crush Pad hosts Sam Spades as part of its Live at Crush Pad Music Series.

July 30, Oliver: Quinta Ferreira celebrates 10 years with an afternoon event featuring live music, paella, and live music.

Sundays, Keremeos: On select Sundays through to mid-October, head to the historic Grist Mill at Keremeos for its Sunday Dinner series, with themed menus.

Wednesdays, Naramata Bench: The Naramata Heritage Inn features Tiki Night beginning at 7pm every Wednesday this summer, with local songstress Yanti, and the cuisine of Ambrosia by Chef Victor Bongo.

Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. She can be reached at and on Twitter @OkanaganTaste.

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