Unsure what to sip during your lockdown quiz?—
My wife is wearing an orange wig, beaming into her laptop and sipping a glass of cool beer. Her lockdown quiz is in full swing and even though she isn’t winning, she is laughing, which is great to see.
‘Light and long’ is her quiz drink order – and I would add ‘cold’ to that. Top of the list for easy answers is a decent lager. When I filmed my TV show How Beer Changed The World, it was Pilsner that inspired maximum respect. Its popularity speaks to the simplicity and uniformity of colossal production, but when you taste a Pilsner made with real skill, rich in malty power as well as elegant finesse, this style of beer reminds me of sipping any drink at the top of its tree.
One of the best Pilsners I’ve tasted recently is made by Fierce Beer in Scotland – a gold-medal winner at the Scottish Beer Awards, and rightly so. The secret is in the time spent making it – the ‘lagering’ as it’s known, which in this case is six long lovely weeks.
If you order it now (next day national delivery), the batch you are sipping probably got made around the start of lockdown. That’s devotion.
Cocktails can be cracking, but nothing too hard here. A spirit and a mixer is all well and good but my top tip for your quiz is white port and tonic – over ice with a slice. Makes a change from a G&T and, trust me, is the drink you never knew you’d been missing.
As far as wine goes, I’d rule out anything too boozy. Stick to fizz, whites and rosés. For fizz, I’d direct you to Waitrose, which is supporting English wine producers at this time, putting together irresistible options such as Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rosé 2016/17 for £25.99 (until June 9) – I’ve been buying it for years and it is splendid.
Fizz also has some terrific value knocking around in the Cava and Crémant categories, but the secret of Saumur, such as my wine of the week, is steadily getting out.
Portuguese Vinho Verde splices the zestiness with a gentle spritz, lower alcohol levels and tops the pile for a go-to quiz quencher. For rosé, pale is prime and one of my favourites is Mirabeau Classic from Waitrose.
Chilled reds operate a bit like a butch rosé and I’ve found a treat from Tanners this week that is next-level quality as you prepare for the next quiz question.
OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH
THE LAGER KHAN: Fierce Pilsner (4.2%) £2.75 fiercebeer.com. Next level lager and a champion light beer to feel inspired by. Order by 2pm for next day delivery.
DO THE SPRITZ: Tapada de Villar Vinho Verde 2019 (10%) £7 Marks & Spencer. Scented and zesty as passion fruit spliced with fresh mint , this is spritzy low booze brilliance.
ROCKING ROSÉ: Mirabeau Classic 2019 (13%) £11.99, Waitrose. Brilliantly balanced and easy to sip – the correct answer for your quiz!
THE BARON RED: Fleurie Andre Comonge 2017 (13%) Tanners-wines.co.uk £15.20. Floral and fragrant as sipping wild strawberries, the champion red to chill.
WINE OF THE WEEK
Bouvet Ladubay NV £18.95 (12.5%) Majestic £11.99*. Chenin Blanc made in the Champagne method, as crunchy and bright as an appley glitterball, the winning wine with all the answers. (Mix six price)