Welcome to another scorching festival season. Would you like a drink? Thanks to global warming, high temperatures in the UK have us all in a state of summer-triggered mild alcoholism, just in time for the country’s finest festival. And that means there’s only one question on the brain: “What drinks are you taking to Glasto?”This gem of a festival allows you to bring in as much booze as you like, so you can joyously wander around the site knowing your wallet is safe from the £8 festival pint. But with great freedom comes great responsibility: Staring down the barrel of five fridge-less days with your tinnies sweating it out in your sauna of a tent, the decision of what booze to bring must be carefully considered. Get it wrong and you know by day three you’ll be miserable – joylessly chugging sour wine, desperate for the buzz to hit your brain before your taste buds.
The key for festival drinking is to simply regress. Now is the time to dive deep into your psyche and bring out that long-lost 14-year-old. You know, that underage drinker swigging straight vodka in the local park, and pouring Skittles in it to ease the gag reflex.Even with that sense of youthful nostalgia in tow, the long hot weekend has real potential to ruin your favourite drink after days of warm, sickly sipping. So I have honourably decided to take one for the team, to make sure this doesn’t happen. I tried the best and worst drinks, mixers and questionable combos for a sweltering festival weekend. From leaving tonic out in the sun to microwaving Guinness, no stone has been left unturned to find the tastiest tepid drinks.
You can’t take glass into Glasto, so you’ll obviously reach for the box wine. I know the voice inside you wants to get the pinot, I know it looks oh so appealing in the cool air-conditioned haven of Sainbury’s, but you must resist. Warm white wine? Vile. Warm rosé? Chic, tasty, not-too-sweet-but-just-sweet-enough. For the first day or two, go business-as-usual with a standard glass (read: water bottle) of vino. But by the weekend, undrinkable warm wine becomes the perfect mixer. After leaving my bottle out in the sun for a day, the wine itself was rancid, but with some pink gin? Incredibly drinkable. The warm berry notes in one bring out the warm berry notes in the other, until it all tastes like slightly bitter juice. And the best part? You get to be double parked without needing an extra bottle. It’s like a poor man's French 75, if you don’t think about it too hard.
Say yes to… Rosé as a mixer
It’s time to admit that we were really onto something here as teens: Those hazy days as a fresher, pouring orange cordial into vodka with a splash of tap water, saving the pennies on a mixer to spend them on a VK later. They were simpler times, so let’s lean into nostalgia. Squirting some passionfruit Robinsons into some vodka that’s been sitting on my windowsill for god knows how long, I feel joyful before I even take a sip. It smells like the good old days and feels silly, set to get you a nice level of giddy drunk. After adding in a splash of warm water to replicate the day four sun, the verdict is in – it’s totally fine. The squash is concentrated enough to genuinely take away the sting of your spirit, and it even comes in a handy squeeze bottle to pop in your Uniqlo sling bag with a hip flask – it’s economical and effortless.Good ol’ disco water fuelled all your favourite youth memories, so let's bring that same sense of childlike wonder and whimsy to the festival.
Right, hear me out. When have you ever complained that your Guinness isn’t cold enough? Or been like “I’m gagging for an ice-cold… stout”? Literally never. Brown ales and stouts are the beer equivalent of a warm latte, while lagers and IPAs represent the iced coffees of the world. Think about it, it makes sense. To test out warmer-than-usual Guinness, I apologised to the Irish and put a mug of it into the microwave for 20 seconds. No joke, it was genuinely pretty delicious – like a warm Guinness cake or, oddly, a bit like tea. If you’re desperate to take beers, then brown ales and stouts undeniably taste best tepid. You’ll probably ignore this and spend the weekend sipping warm, pissy BrewDog, but on your stubborn head be it.
A wise friend once told me that tequila is the only spirit that’s an upper, saving you the pain of an emotional hangover, and I’ve blindly ran with it ever since. I tell everyone who’ll listen and if it's wrong (which some internet sources tell me it is), then I’m single-handedly spreading tequila misinformation and misadventure around the UK. But three years on from finding out, that hallowed piece of wisdom has served me well, which is why it’s the perfect Glasto accomplice. The last thing you need at a festival is a Saturday morning breakdown. Your hangxiety is correct: Everyone does hate you, everyone is talking about you, and you really are bringing the vibe down so do a fucking shot, okay? Leaving my bottle of tequila out in the sun did nothing detrimental, it went down with only a minor wince. We’re all so used to slamming warm, cheap tequila anyways, that it won’t feel any different to whatever grotty club or pub you frequent on a Saturday night.For those wanting to up the ante, though, mix a slightly more expensive tequila with some orange juice (buy a cold bottle on site, don’t be stingy) and you’ll feel luxurious and refreshed – hopefully you’ll even cheer up a bit.
No, pink gin isn’t beneath you, wise up.
Seltzer is humankind’s greatest alcoholic innovation in several centuries. We’re blessed to be living at the same time of White Claw. It’s basically just fizzy water that magically gets you drunk, so who cares if it’s lukewarm, boiling or baltic when they go down that easily?
Tonic can be kind of gross even at the best of times (in a chilled glass with loads of ice cubes), whether you’ve splashed out on a branded one or not. Just imagine a warm, flat Fevertree Mediterranean tonic, where all the botanicals are waiting to hit you in the throat like a juniper-y punch. Now imagine the hit of the Co-op’s own “tonic”, gas-flavoured with notes of pure plastic fizzy water, and that same bottle open and left out in the sun.I’m close to retching just thinking about it, so leave the gin and tonics alone, yeah? This really isn’t the time. Instead, look to Sprite Zero or a lime White Claw (if you dare) for added flavour to cushion the sting of your cheap gin.
Say no to… Tonic mixer
You ignored me before, so I’m going to say it again. No one wants to, or should, be drinking a tepid IPA or a warm, sweaty lager. On day four of a festival – sitting in your tent like a can of dirty water from the last puddle in the Sahara – it’s not going to be nice. After sipping a bottle of Peroni that’s been in the cupboard next to my oven for a couple months, I can confirm this. So stop lying to yourself before you make this huge mistake again.
IPAs and lagers
For the sake of nostalgia, it’s only right I try out this underage classic: In the glorious sun of my childhood park, Skittles vodka was delicious. In the harsh, smoggy air of my grown-up garden, it’s far from it and my youth feels like a lie. Ignore all prior advice to regress to your younger self, under no circumstances should you go back here.
Everyone knows cider is tasty for like a pint and a half, then gets too sweet and too bubbly for your delicate little tum, so it’s really not the drink to waste loads of bag space on. Warming a splash of Rekorderlig in the microwave for 10 seconds (to replicate two-day heat before it explodes), I’ll admit it still tastes okay, but without the bubbles, it’s a million times sicklier. Plus, um hello, Glastonbury is the heart of cider country so its multitude of independent breweries will be selling their cold, refreshing wares at stands. If you’re still swinging a can of Strongbow, you’re too cheap to be there. @lucyharbron