Monday, 22 July 2013

30 Ultimate Outdoor Summer Drinking Gadgets for Barbecues & Picnics


The summer weather has been ace, and looks set to continue for a few more weeks. There'll be time for more barbecues, more garden parties, more going to the beach, and more taking picnics to the park and getting tipsy with my friends.

I've already found the bicycle wine rack for impromptu trips, but what if you're making a day of it and want the latest gadgets and accessories to make your outdoor drinking time super cool in more ways than one? Here's our ultimate list:

Keeping cool

Yep, if you want to drink Jo's picnic drinking suggestions, Freddy's summer wine picks, or Sam's must-try summer white wines, then your chosen beverage simply has to be ice cool. The Rapid Ice Wine Sleeve is pretty good (£12.70 at Tesco*) and you can even get a beer bottle sized cooling sleeve (£4.99 at Amazon) , but here are some suggestions that range from the handy to the epic:

For a simple but stylish ice bucket, the cheapest I can find is the funky pink ice bucket for a measly £7 from Wine Gift Centre. (They do a bigger, 2-bottle ice bucket for £12.95 too which is ridiculous value - and yes, it's still pink.)

Obvioiusly we've written about the wonders of corkcicles several times (sorry about that) but this guide wouldn't be complete without mentioning them one more time. My current fave is the Corkcicle Air (£19.99 at Firebox*) because once your wine is chilled, you just pop the lid off the wine cooler and pour the ice cold wine straight through it.

And Firebox's latest bit of genius is the Freeze Chilling Wine Glasses - keep them in the fridge or freezer, and just pour in your wine/G&T and they'll keep your beverage cool for hours! It's £24.99 for two.

And now for the more epic coolers, courtesy of Lakeland*:

The Kilner Drinks Dispenser. Want so bad. So. Many. Showoff. Points. And it's only £29.99.

Your very own cool bar! Look how many bottles you can store on ice, and then you can use the table to shake up a cocktail without going anywhere near the kitchen! Hooray! Oh, but it's £69.99, so I'm going to have to save for a bit...

Hold Me!

I'm definitely going to jam a hands-free wine glass holder (£4.99 at Lakeland*) into the grass when I'm next laying in the park reading a good book on a sunny day - and these drinks spikers from Not On The High Street* (£24.95 for the set) take it one further with a handy place to hold your bottle too!

The On The Go wine glasses (£9.99) are also pretty nifty - the base keeps your wine upright, but then when you're ready to go home/trying to ward off pesky flies you just unscrew the bottom and it pops right on the top as a lid.

Another sturdy, anti-spill wine glass is this sippy picnic wine glass from Not on the High Street* for £9.50. I like the fact that the extra layer on insulation keeps the wine cool as well!

And the pretty little water/cordial bottle is only £6, but it makes carting cold drinks around so much easier (and, frankly, more stylish...)

Tool Up

We've told you about the amazing 10-in-1 cocktail tool before, but it would be amazing for some impromptu cocktail mixing outdoors, and I also love this super-tiny but easy to use mini corkscrew for a ridiculous £3.95 from Wine Gift Centre, and the bike mini bottle opener keyring from Tesco (so you'll never miss an al fresco beer opportunity.) for a mere £1.99!

Then there's reusable ice cubes, which are surprisingly good and stop your drinks from going all watery. Whisky stones are at the top of my wish list, and stay so cool they can even be kept in the fridge. They're £13.99 from Drink Stuff.

If you like your ice cubes with a dose of cute, I can't recommend these penguin drink coolers enough! Look, penguins are swimming in your gin! Best. Day. Ever. They're £6.99 for 18 at Drink Stuff.


Umbrella lolly moulds. Oh yes. They're £4.00 from Amazon. And guitar ice cube trays to make very rock n' roll stirrers are £10 from Not on the High Street*!

To keep the outdoor festivities going well into the night (which seem to be as hot as regular English summer days at the moment) you definitely need to invest in some outdoor lighting. It doesn't have to be pricy, though: Ikea do the pretty solar powered LED lighting chain pendants for £4 for 12 (you'll need the lighting chain too for £8), and the amazing solar-powered ground stick (for the same price, but you get 5 lights rather than 12) are tranquil globes that seem to float in the dark! It'll look like the Ood!

Get your straw-fix with these very retro stripy paper straws (they're £3.50 for 25 from NOTHS*) and colour-changing straws (eee! Especially amazing at night with the floating globes) are £2.99 for 25 on Amazon*.

And the retro cocktail stick holders (£11) are perfect to hold these pretty butterfly cocktail sticks from Lakeland (£3.49):

Epic Barbecue Gadgets and Finishing Touches

Lastly, for pure fun, the Chill Factor Squeeze Cup Slushy Maker is a bit on the epic side. It's £23.77, but without any ice or fuss you can make a slushy from your favourite juice/cocktail in about 30 seconds. Waaaaant.

And if you have a little extra budget, the Snowcone/Slushie maker is like being a kid all over again, although this time you'll obviously use it to make lots and lots of nice, icy booze. It's £49.95. Worth it.

A BBQ branding iron. I really can't decide if this is the best or worst thing I've found on my barbecue accessories search. It's £14.99 from Firebox.

Your very own bacon curing and smoking kit (£49, NOTHS)!! I have no words. No words except 'get in my face bacon' and 'I hope this summer lasts forever.'

Happy BBQing! Get those picnic baskets at the ready...

*Shops marked with an asterisk support affiliate links - but don't worry, they don't bite! It just means if you like the look of something and click through to buy it, we might get a few pence or so commission as a thank you. But we NEVER recommend anything we don't truly love and buy/want ourselves. You can find out more about affiliate links here.

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