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Why mixing with friends is the cheap way to drink

    I’m partial to the occasional glass of kir, the French aperitif of wine flavoured with creme de cassis. And to kir royale, in which the wine is fizzy. But I am much keener on serving it, especially when there are a lot of people around. When you have creme de cassis in the house, you don’t need to spend so much money on wine.
    Sounds cynical? No, it’s just plain good sense. David Beckham doesn’t need to worry about how much he spends on wine for his guests. I do. It’s that simple. If the occasion suits, there is no shame in buying something cheaper than you would ordinarily and flattering its contours with cassis. (Which can also, by the way, be creme de mur or framboise.)
    The important words are “if the occasion suits”, and this is pertinent now because summer really does seem to be here. Kir + al fresco drinking = bliss.
    So, what’s it to be with your creme de quelque chose? Nothing too expensive, agreed. But it must be something you can bring yourself to drink in case there is some left over, even if you are more accustomed to Puligny-Montrachet.
    First, I propose Sainsbury’s Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne NV (£4.49), a favourite supermarket cheapy — Fresh and floral with a touch of sweetness. Number two is Asda Marsanne 2011 (£4.47). Bone-dry and fleshy stone-fruit flavours. Thirdly, I rarely take to cheap fizz, but one that has always astonished with its high quality at low cost is Philippe Michel Crémant de Jura (£6.99, Aldi). This is 100 per cent chardonnay, and people tasting it blind never guess it could be so inexpensive.
    For the country’s widest selection of cremes de everything, visit www.thedrinkshop.com

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