Friday, June 22, 2012

Bicycletiquette #5: Libations

Dear Jasper,

I have some cycling friends who occasionally drop by my place in the summer. Can you recommend an appropriate, refreshing beverage that I can serve them mid-ride on a hot day?


Curious about Beverages

Dear CAB,

Back in the day, when cyclists undertook their summertime club rides, everyone knew what wheelmen drank when they stopped for respite at a country inn: soda and milk, of course. Ah, those refreshing bubbles and that fortifying calcium, that snowy effervescence—who knew these strange bedfellows could make the most delightful and invigorating cocktail. The very thought of a chilled, mid-ride S & M makes me positively verklempt with nostalgia.

Nowadays, of course, innkeepers have forgotten the art of how to concoct a good soda and milk, and, therefore, thirsty cyclists have to settle for other, inferior options. I know the so-called “sports drinks” are all the rage with the younger generation. Gator-this and Power-that. I’ve made my feelings clear on this topic. Such would-be elixirs are vulgar, flash-in-the-can, wanna-be thirst-quenchers, not fit for the sophisticated, semi-serious wheelman.   

Some of the more “scientific” folk today will try to convince you that, of all things, a draught of chocolate milk possesses certain revivifying components which qualify it as the drink of choice for cyclists. To this I say an unqualified Poppycock! Chocolate milk is a child’s drink. Perhaps the brown cow could be made quaffable with the addition of a shot or two of tonic water, but even that feels juvenile to me. In fact, the very thought makes me sort of vurp. What I recommend is a more grown-up libation.

For my money, CAB, the most refreshing (and classy) beverage in the middle of a good run is a flagon of chilled rosé wine. As our French brothers discovered long ago, rosé is a splendidly rejuvenating drink for a hot summer afternoon. It’s also the perfect cycling wine, ideal for glugging on a hot bike ride. The invigorating powers of rosé make it the original power drink, a kind of Pink Bull for the sophisticated cycling set. All those Mediterraneans can’t be wrong.

I’m partial to a Spanish Artazuri or Australian Fire Block, though Quail’s Gate and Megalomaniac from here in the Dominion make fine versions of the pink as well. For the more frugal or campy connoisseurs, there’s always the classic Portuguese Mateus. 

But don’t be surprised, CAB, if your cyclist friends bring their own. Why not take some rosé for the road, eh? It’s no coincidence that a wine bottle fits snugly into a water bottle rack.  The Mateus, however, with its classic canteen-inspired bottle, can be a damn nuisance in this regard—unless, of course, you think outside the bottle rack.

Discreet, law-abiding types may prefer to pour the pink into a water bottle, passing it off as some boring, old, fruit-punch sports drink. Not me, CAB. I’m not ashamed to display my good taste.

So, CAB, you know what to do: hie thee to the nearest liquor mart and stock up for a summer of cycling, sipping, and la vie en rosé.


  1. Jack Daniels on the rocks. Refreshing on a hot day. That's enough riding for today.

  2. Chocolate milk is a child's drink? Rosé is a child's drink. At least drink a nice dry white on a hot summer's day!

    1. I admit that the pink has some playful, child-like qualities: it tastes a lot like Strawberry Kool-Aid, and it goes down swell with a straw. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the French serve the stuff at day cares. But I submit that it is also a serious, under-appreciated grown-up bevvie. Try a good one and see for yerself.

    2. LOL! I tease, of course. I have had rosés, and I like em just fine--they can be pretty refreshing. But having done all the sciency research stuff myself, I stick with -ade-type drinks for exercise. ;)


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