It’s picnic season! Well, traditionally March brings the best weather for outside lingering, but who knows? La Niña is supposedly giving way for little bro El Niño to do his thing, but we already know that in 2022 anything could happen.

Let’s assume the duck weather we’ve been drowning in all summer is on its way out, fingers crossed, touch wood, etc. Let’s imagine that it’s going to be a proper March with soft blue skies and golden light and zero – I repeat zero – humidity.

Let’s meet up one bright afternoon when the sun is beaming her rays across the treetops, giving everything that sweet autumnal glow that makes life feel good. The trees are whispering sweet nothings to each other, the grass is soft and the breeze delightful.

We’ll lean back, utter a deep sigh and crack open a softie or two – yep, we’re both admirably sticking with our ‘sober-ish’ resolution. Turns out it’s quite easy to say no to alcohol when there are so many refreshing craft soft drinks around.

So, here’s what I’m packing in the picnic esky. All Australian craft sodas, all small batch, all real-food, all real good. See you shortly!

Somersault Raspberry and Vanilla – $35.50 for 12
Fresh organic fruit juice crushed with less sugar but no artificial sweeteners. You’ll wonder how they’ve made such a sweet sip without either, but somehow they’ve managed it. The boys from Somersault say it’s all in their slow brewing technique and careful flavour combos. Whatever they’re doing, it’s working a treat.

PS Soda Blackstrap Ginger – $45 for 18
Whiz over to PS Soda to snag a carton of their ginger wonder. It’s the gingeriest ginger beer that ever gingered. Then they add a dash of citrus and plenty of spice and blackstrap molasses.

My other favourite from PS Soda is their lemon myrtle, but you honestly couldn’t go wrong with any of their flavours. It’s no surprise that all flavours are frequently sold out, but you can sign up for their newsletter to be first in to learn when they’re back in stock.

StrangeLove Fancy Lemonade – $60 for 24
This bubbly bev is packed with Mildura-grown lemons and plenty of them. The ‘fancy’ part of the mix is the added Clementine oil, which cuts back the tartness of the lemons just enough. If you especially love the flavour, try StrangeLove’s Very Mandarin lo-cal soda for an extra hit of citrus.

Karma Drinks Gingerella – $45 for 15
Okay, so two things: yes, Karma Drinks is actually from New Zealand, but we all know that’s practically Australia (all the Kiwis agree), so Gingerella has made the list. Second, I’ve already covered a ginger beverage here, but what can I say, I’m a redhead and the Gingerella bottle is basically life.

Also get stuck into their Karma Cola and Razza Raspberry Lemonade if you can. Both almost as tasty as the Gingerella (but nowhere near as good looking).

Famous Soda Co Passionfruit – $44.99 for 12
‘Sugar free’ can so often be disappointingly metallic-tasting, but not this one. It’s got that zingy Passiona flavour without the saccharine hangover. Just quietly, it also makes a ripper mixer for vodka, not that we’re drinking, of course.

Kombu Watermelon, Strawberry and Rose – $48 for 12
Small confession: I actually stole a can of this drink from my friend’s fridge last weekend, just so I could tell you all how refreshing and delicious it is. I didn’t mean to, but it was right there and I was on my way out and I couldn’t find my mate to ask permission, so… yeah. Thieved it. Sorry Pete, but it really was refreshing and delicious.

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