It’s not just newspapers and magazines that run features on summer drinking. Bloggers, marketing agencies and drinks companies are all keen to create seasonal pieces that nobody reads as well.
With so much competition out there, the stress of churning out yet another Summer Drinks feature can be daunting. You might even be tempted to shake things up a bit and try something different.
Well Fake Booze is here to ensure that that doesn’t happen!
So whether you’re a first-timer or a grizzled old pro, just follow our ten Top Tips and we guarantee your content will be as tedious and cliché-ridden as everyone else’s.
DO start with some banal tosh about the mercury climbing, long lazy days and leisurely afternoons surrounded by friends. Cutting and pasting last year’s intro is probably fine. Again.
DON’T spend too much time on this bit. Nobody reads it anyway. It’s mostly so the middle aged picture desk editors can spend half an hour ‘researching’ pictures of pretty women wearing denim hot pants.
DO put your serious face on to talk earnestly about the importance of acidity and low tannin, even though your readers don’t know what either is. Adding in something about serving temperatures will allow the subs desk to drop in a wincingly bad pun like ‘Ice n Easy’ or ‘The Chilling Fields’.
DON’T spend too much time on this bit. Nobody reads it anyway.
DO talk about barbecue wines. Of course, there isn’t a wine on the planet that works with burgers, lamb, chicken and whatever token veggie crap you tenderly put on top of a grill full of caked blood. But your readers don’t know that.
DON’T worry that you’re spouting drivel. Nobody ever pays attention to food matching advice, especially barbecue and wine pairing, so nobody will read this bit.
DO make sure that you mention sherry. Nobody knows why, but it’s compulsory in any article on summer drinking. Always talk about how refreshing it is, even at 15% alcohol. After all, it’s huge in Andalucia where they drink it with coca-cola. Tedious stories about a trip to the fiesta in Jerez and / or horseriding on the beach at Sanlucar will make your readers hate you just that little bit more. Do NOT forget to mention razor clams.
DON’T spend more than 30 seconds writing this bit. Your entire readership will have skipped to the next section at the mention of the word ‘sherry’. Except for PRs and brand managers who are paid to read this stuff. But regurgitating their press releases should guarantee you another year of free samples.
DO mention cocktails. 99% of your readers won’t get past badly-made gin and tonics, but it adds to your credibility if you can write about something different, even if you have no idea what you’re talking about. Throwing in a few random ingredients like falernum or Tibetan panda vermouth (only one of these is fictional) will make you sound clever, even if the products are impossible to find and taste appalling.
DON’T ever be tempted to make or drink the creations you are suggesting. Your readers won’t, so why should you suffer?
DO talk about rosé as though it’s a new trend that your readers probably haven’t heard of and might dismiss if you weren’t there to set them right. The fact that most of them were drinking it before you cottoned on that it was A Thing is beside the point. You’re the one with the big-bucks gig. They’re just grunts.
DON’T make any effort with this bit. Whatever you talk about, they’ll just buy the cheapest wine in a Provence-style bottle, especially if it comes from Romania and contains half a bag of sugar. And since it’s rosé, who cares?
DO mention ‘summer reds’. It’s fun to drop in a couple of deliberate non sequiturs here just to see if anyone in the newspaper’s subs desk or at home is paying attention. ‘Beaujolais is great chilled, while a nice brisk Amarone is a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc on those hot summer afternoons.’
DON’T take any time over this bit. Nobody actually drinks red wines in the summer. You’re just putting this in to get to your wordcount. The paper doesn’t care and luckily none of the editors read your column; which is why you’ve had the gig for the last thousand years.
DO write a large section on white wines that covers all the places you’ve been on holiday. There’s literally nothing interesting to say about Picpoul or Muscadet so you need to be able to pad out this bit with ‘local colour’ stories about quaysides and moules marinières and how clever it is to bring wines back home from France – even though since Brexit you can’t. If you’ve long since used up your actual stock of summer drinking holiday stories, make up a few pen-sketches of comical locals instead. The more clichéd and racist the better.
DON’T mention a) that drink-driving conviction after two bottles of Gavi in Tuscany; b) that time you parked a pizza in your host’s guest bedroom after gorging on too much free vintage Port; c) the ill-advised liaison with a Spanish wine waiter in San Sebastian whose number you still have in your phone 10 years later under the title ‘Gas Engineer’.
DO talk about beer. I know you never drink it. You know you never drink it. Your readers know you never drink it. Your editor knows you never drink it. But recommending a Flemish farmhouse ale that smells of mice won’t do you any harm, since the kind of people who might drink that won’t read your column anyway.
DON’T mention that you’ve only just realised that IPA doesn’t stand for I Prefer Amstel.
DO make sure that your recommendations in every category veer wildly from undrinkable supermarket piss, aimed at the lucrative ‘problem drinker market’, to bottles that cost three times the price of an EasyJet flight. Whispering Angel and Blossom Hill in the same article? Why not.
DON’T fret about little things like accuracy or spelling. Or, indeed, content. After all, nobody will read it.
Click here to read about Fake Booze’s handy guide to writing a Celebrity Drinks feature