Move over super-sweet iced tea. Enter: Tonica Kombucha. If you’re not versed in Kombucha, click here for the low-down. This fermented tea-based beverage is utterly intoxicating, but not in a boozy way. It’s at once sweet and sour, refreshing and naturally effervescent. Sure, there are promises of digestive-aiding enzymes, restorative benefits and other health claims, but they remain inconclusive. But we drink it for the taste and that little rush of energy we experience afterwards. Plus it’s organic, free of GMOs, dyes, fragrances and the like. Warning: you’ll be tempted to shake the bottle, but go easy – it’s naturally fizzy.
Take it with you: Stay fortified at Tuesday drum circle nights at Third Beach when you need something refreshing and fizzy to keep your hands (or hips) moving.
We understand your dilemma: it’s a sweaty day and you’re yearning for a cool and comforting milkshake, but it’s hardly the thing you can stash in your bag with the sun beating down. The Juicery Co. has solved such a riddle with its vegan-friendly and lactose-free (and non-melting!) creation: Cocoa Banana Mylk. Sea salt and cinnamon blend beautifully with banana, raw cocoa and vanilla beans, which flavour this fab nut mylk.
Take it with you: Pop a bottle or two into the cockpit of your kayak and it will stay cool while you paddle to Twin Islands in Deep Cove to retreat from the city heat.
Hey there, sailor. While your mates are quaffing Dark ’n Stormys aboard your sloop, why not slug back some non-alcoholic Dickie’s Ginger Beer while you’re under sail (and add the rum when you’re safely anchored for the night).
The flavour isn’t in-your-face, promises Dickie’s Stephen Tuff. “We went with a well-balanced spice profile, just a nice lingering heat.” Plus the sugar level is lower than most of the other ginger beers out there. “We feel it makes it more refreshing and a better base for cocktails.”
The simple ingredient list makes us happy too: natural ginger, fresh lemons and cane sugar. Enough said.
Take it with you: Calling all sober sailors cruising the waters of English Bay and beyond. Stock the galley (get a growler at Dickie’s) and if you get lost at sea, those lemons will help keep scurvy at bay.
Spiked Juice – Percy’s Old Fashioned Lemonade and Percy’s Punch
Smooth. Natural. Spiked. These are elements we can get behind in a lemonade or punch. And if kids selling lemonade street-side used organic honey, glacial water and that essential element – vodka – their piggybanks would get full a whole lot sooner.
XFour Vodka gives Percy’s Old Fashioned Lemonade and Percy’s Punch that heat-beating buzz. As the story goes, Great Grandfather Percy concocted his spiked lemonade for friends in Jolly Olde England, and this handcrafted lemonade, made from B.C.’s purest water, was inspired by his recipe. Percy’s Punch starts with that same lemonade, but it’s amped up with blueberries, ginger and mint.
Take it with you: With ingredients this good, you’ve got to bring it glamping. Leave the crystal at home and pack some cans in your Airstream trailer. (Available at private liquor stores.)
Ten teaspoons. That’s the amount of sugar in your typical can of soda. Makes the idea of eating Fruit Loops with chocolate milk sound like a healthy breakfast. But health-conscious Vancouverites who crave an effervescent soda can drink up, guilt-free, thanks to Jennifer Martin, who founded SIP Natural Craft Soda.
The sophisticated soda comes in three delicious flavours: Lavender Lemon Peel, Rosemary Lime, and Coriander Orange. Each bottle of soda is made with mineralized water, infused with botanicals and fruit, and sweetened with cane sugar — about 12 grams compared to the 39 grams that’s in most sodas.
Take it with you: Hard bodies can stay hydrated without ingesting a bunch of sugar after serving, spiking and bumping the volleyball at the beach all day. (If you add a splash of vodka or gin from a flask, we promise to look the other way.)
A Masterful Mashup – Hopping Mad Dryhopped Apple Cider
What happens when Yakima hops meet Cascade Apples? Well, it culminates in Hopping Mad Dryhopped Apple Cider, not quite a love story but more of a spirited relationship.
Similar to some beers, the hops are added at the end in a “dry hopping” process to add aroma – not bitterness – to the tart and crisp cider. Says Gary Lohin, Brewmaster at Surrey’s Central City, “Our cider will satisfy thirsty craft beer enthusiasts who enjoy cider and cider enthusiasts who enjoy hops.”
At 6.5% ABV, Hopping Mad packs a punch so sip slowly and savour this dry-sweet apple cider.
Take it with you: Bring a six-pack of cans to that backyard bash and stand out from the crowd with this super-cool cider. Warning: the words, “can I try that” will get old pretty quickly.
We usually like our brew blazing hot, but Fernwood Coffee’s Carbonated Cold Brew has us convinced to add this potion to our portable arsenal.
With ingredients such as single-origin coffee and filtered ice water, you know that there’s no messing around with nasties here. So what’s with this zany idea of carbonating coffee, I had to ask?
The reason “stemmed from a drink our staff always enjoyed where they would mix cold brew concentrate with soda water (or gin and tonic),” says Fernwood’s owner, Ben Cram. When the demand for grab-and-go cold brew started to increase, the “beer” can was born. “The result is a cold, crisp, refreshing drink that can travel well,” he says, “and, unlike glass, the empties are easy to pack back out if you end up at the beach or in the woods.”
Take it with you: Early-a.m. hikers and bikers, crack open a can when you’re too bleary-eyed to hit “brew” on the coffee pot.
There's nothing like a cold drink on a hot day – here are our favourites of the summer
Feeling parched during Vancouver’s blast of steamy weather? Beat the heat with these smooth sippers. Why do we love them? Most of them are made locally, they taste amazing (warning: some will give you a boozy buzz), plus they’re portable. So pack a picnic, set sail, hit the trails and embrace the outdoors while quenching your thirst. And remember: pack out what you pack in (and imbibe responsibly).
Janet Gyenes is a writer, editor, beverage columnist and co-founder of 70 magazine, an online travel publication. She has co-authored two travel guidebooks on Vancouver and has put her insatiable curiosity to work in words and photos, covering topics such as tasting sherry in Spain, mule-riding in Molokai, and tracking textile trends in Turkey. She regularly writes for BCLiving about food, beverage, design and more.