Warmer weather in Madison means the return of picnics, day trips to Devil’s Lake and, of course, day parties, otherwise known as “darties.”
All daytime college get togethers are guaranteed to have a case of room-temperature Natty Light sitting on the porch, but subjecting yourself to drinking that all day is something you can avoid. There are other drinks of choice that are convenient on the go and far tastier than beer only sold in bulk. These drinks are perfect to have in tow whether heading to an outdoor picnic or a three-story split level on Mifflin.
Epic Brewing: Lil’ Brainless Raspberries
Grab a six-pack of this raspberry ale, packaged in cutesy pink cans, and you’ve drastically upgraded from cheap light beer. This seasonal from Epic Brewing is perfectly fruity and summery with a fresh taste that goes great with salads, cheeses or really any backyard picnic food. The cans are an offshoot of the original Brainless Raspberries sold in a 22-oz. bottle, but the canned version is more convenient to transport and doesn’t require a bottle opener.
Milwaukee Brewing Co.: O-Gii
The O-Gii, brewed here in Wisconsin, is a tea-infused wheat beer perfect for summer months. A collaboration between Milwaukee Brewing Co. and Rishi Tea, also a Milwaukee-based company, created a beer that has some Asian-based tea flavors, but also the great taste of craft beer. This beer has over 9 percent alcohol content, so picking up one of their four-packs of 16 oz. cans is enough to keep a steady buzz going all day. The best part about this beer is it can be drunk first thing in the morning without judgement; it has tea in it after all.
Wisco-N-Sin Old Fashioned Mix
Nothing is more Wisconsin than an Old-Fashioned, and this jarred mix makes having the classic drink so easy even the severely hungover can do it. Though it isn’t quite as simple as just cracking a beer, all you need is this mix; some brandy or whiskey; and a splash of soda. If you’re packing a picnic basket and are short on space, simply drink down some of the mix and fill the empty space with booze. Throw a bottle of soda in with the convenient jarred mix and you’re ready to have Old-Fashioneds all day.
Bandit Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon
Sure, there’s likely to be Franzia at most springtime parties in Madison, but boxed wine can be much more than just slapping the bag. Bandit wines are a step (or two) above Franzia, and are offered in eco-friendly cartons, the older and wiser sister of bulk boxed wine. The Cabernet Sauvignon is award-winning and a safer choice for those that want to get drunk off red wine, but don’t want a headache for the following 72 hours. Offered in liter or half-liter cartons, they can be discreetly stuck in a purse or brought to please the masses at any barbecue.
Daily’s Cocktails: Frozen Margarita
A relative veteran compared to the other ready-to-go drinks on this list, Daily’s Cocktails are still around because they created what other companies didn’t: a ready-to-drink frozen margarita that required no additional booze. These pouches are perfect to bring on the go and tropical enough to make a day at the lake feel a little beachy. Just remember to freeze the pouches overnight and pack in a cooler or with icepacks, otherwise liquid pouches would be a syrupy boozy disappointment better left at home.