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Hosting Outside: the BBQ

Barbecue, BBQ, Barbie or ‘outdoor grilling’. Whatever you want to call it, these words instantly inspire thoughts of relaxed and sun-baked outdoor hosting. The one thing that brings everything together is the drinks, both what they are and the way they’re served. Get it right and your barbecue with have just the right effortless, fun feel.

Hosting any event outside requires a surprisingly large amount of organisation. Given all the fiddly dishes that need putting together for a barbecue and the piles of crockery to get outside, it can be easy to overlook the drinks until the very last minute. Make your life easier by thinking about the following in advance, so you can stick everything on the table and forget about it. As a host, you’ll look both generous and relaxed: exactly what’s required.

Buckets of fun

Along with ice, the most important piece of drinks equipment for any barbecue does not just have to be functional; it can be attractive too. A sleek, metal ice bucket saves you running to the fridge to top people up (and risk burning your sausages), and can double up as a stunning centrepiece to your table. The bigger the bucket, the more impact it will make, so consider the Ruinart Ice Bowl if you want to make a statement. If you prefer to scatter one or two more bijou, branded buckets prettily about, then try these from Moët & Chandon and Dom Pérignon.

A good to time to experiment

The informal atmosphere of a barbecue means that it’s a good time to try something new, such as slightly chilling a red wine or adding ice to your champagne. Grilled meats often call for red wine, which can be problematic in the sunshine, but a fruity red that’s not too tannic such as the Cape Mentelle Shiraz or Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir can be surprisingly lovely after a dip in the ice. For those who prefer bigger reds with serious cuts of meats, Terrazas de los Andes Single Vineyard Malbec is a superb match.

If it’s a touch of glamour you’re after then why not also try a champagne designed to be poured over ice, such as Veuve Clicquot Rich or Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial. They come in larger sizes too for extra panache.