Chef and TV host Warren Mendes says retro is back for summer entertaining. Think exciting canned drinks straight from the esky and nostalgic, no-fuss snacks.
It’s summer and that means the sports fans and armchair athletes out there are celebrating some of the biggest events on the sporting calendar – from the cricket to the Australian Open. Whether you’re in the garden and the tennis is playing in the background, or you’ve got friends coming over to watch the big game over a cool drink, you won’t miss any of the action with this throw-together can party – because, when it comes to convenience, cans ace it over bottles every time. You can buy them ahead of time and store them in a cool place, then they are super quick to chill in the fridge or on ice when you need them. Cans are also handy for alfresco get-togethers, whether you’re on the balcony, by the pool and wanting to avoid glass, or needing something light and transportable for a beach or park picnic.
We’ve enlisted the help of our regular entertaining expert, chef and food stylist Warren Mendes, to make your big game drinks easy as. This month, Warren shows us how to throw a can-only drinks party, so you can focus on kicking back and watching the game.
“It’s summer… the afternoons are long and hot, the tennis is on and friends have dropped in for drinks. Forget the glassware, I’m hosting a can party and these drinks can be cracked straight from the ice bucket – no prep needed,” says Warren.
For the beer drinkers, Warren is loading the esky with cans of Travla – a newly released mid-strength lager that takes a path away from hyper-local craft beer trends and towards refreshing, Aussie-wide appeal.
“I’m not usually a beer guy, but new Aussie lager Travla is mega fresh and crisp, so I’m happy to sit on these for the afternoon and share them with friends,” says Warren, who you will more often find sipping a fine chardonnay.
Lucky for him, cracking cans is not just for the beer fans, thanks to Squealing Pig Spritzed Pinot Grigio. These baby blue cans contain lightly spritzed Pinot Grigio with aromas of green apple and nashi pear, and are a refreshing alternative for those who would usually sip on white wine or bubbles. Warren says this resurgence of a retro drink trend deserves nostalgic snacks as the supporting act.
And for this party, the cocktail crew also get cans. Billson’s Vodka with Portello is mixed with old-fashioned handcrafted soda and triple distilled alpine vodka made in Beechworth, Victoria. “This ready to drink cocktail is vibrant pink and so refreshing thanks to the grape tang of the portello soda,” says Warren.
“Great news, the spritz is back!” says Warren. “And you know what else is back? Cheese squares and cabanossi sticks! Simply thread cubes of cheddar, thick slices of deli-bought cabanossi and cornichons onto toothpicks and serve alongside crisps. These take 5 minutes to make and you can prep these ahead and keep them in the fridge until your mates arrive. Salty retro snacks are the perfect partner for crisp, canned drinks.”
“Ice, cans and retro snacks with friends – this has to be the easiest way to entertain, and that’s my choice for summer,” says Warren.