You may have always appreciated a soothing glass of red wine or refreshing white, but how about adding a little adventure to your usual routine with a wine cocktail? Did you know that wine cocktails have actually been around for centuries? Fact. Civilisations have been “jazzing” up wine since the days of the Roman Empire.
Legend has it someone wise decided that a bad wine is just a great cocktail waiting to happen, put their bartender skills to the test, and the rest is history.
While wine cocktails may not have been as trendy as other artisanal cocktails, like the martini or margarita, they have a much richer history. And nowadays, with wine-based cocktails, wine lovers can find new ways to experience their favourite drink.
Here’s everything you need to know about wine cocktails. It’s time to find out how to make wine a delicious ingredient in many a cocktail.
You may think wine coolers were just a fad of the 80s, but you would be wrong. It is true that wine coolers of that decade were not overly sophisticated. They were simply made of fruit juice, a soft drink and wine and considered girly. And today, these types of wine coolers can still be found, even though they are not so popular anymore.
Today’s wine cooler movement is on the rise with a more modern look to the packaging and the ingredients. There has been a surge in the market for low-alcohol drinks with great taste, and wine coolers fit that bill. Better quality ingredients and intriguing flavours have breathed new life into the wine cooler.
In fact, there is a whole movement called “Session Cocktails”, which is about drinking low-proof drinks – think all-day drinking without suffering from intoxication and hangovers. Behold the wine cooler! When you need a flavourful and refreshingly light beverage, especially on a warm summer day, wine mixed with ice, juice and soda might be the perfect thing.
A simple and refreshing way to enjoy a wine cocktail is to make a wine spritzer. Grab some white or rosé wine, add some soda water, ice, and fruit slices like oranges or strawberries. You can make a great spritzer from dry wines like Sauvignon Blanc or an oaky Chardonnay by adjusting the balance with a little sweetener.
White or rosé wine spritzer cocktails are one of the best ways to perk up your spring or summer day. But what about autumn and winter time?
A red wine spritzer gives you a warm feeling while still being delightfully refreshing. The best red wine spritzers use aromatised and fortified wines like sweet vermouth, and adding bitters gives it that warmth. Just add soda for carbonation and you have the perfect balance of sweet, bitter and bubbles.
With spritzers the options are endless. It’s easy to customise your spritzer and find a recipe you’d love to share with friends and family.
Famous wine cocktails to try this summer or even winter
Wine makes the perfect base for a refreshing cocktail, whether it’s champagne, red, white or rose. And although these wine-based cocktails may be more popular during summer, it won’t hurt to experiment and try a few this winter.
Perfectly synonymous with summer, this refreshing drink is everything you need to keep cool on a hot, sunny day.
Sangria originated in 18th-century Spain and Portugal, and its recipe requires either red or white wine, other spirits such as brandy, sugar, fruit juice or soda water, and a combination of chopped fruits, the most popular being peaches, apples, oranges and pears. Sangria is typically served cooled or chilled like a punch, and it’s perfect for parties and celebrations.
New York Sour
If you want to add a new depth of flavour to your Whiskey Sour, the New York Sour does it best. Dating back to the 19th century, the New York Sour combines Bourbon, red wine (preferably dry and fruity), egg white, lemon juice, and sugar. It’s famous for its pretty, red wine float and best served in a rocks glass.
French 75 is a Champagne-based cocktails whose claim to fame was the appearance in the classic movie Casablanca in 1942, a few John Wayne movies, and the Mr Selfridge series. The sophisticated drink requires champagne, gin, sugar, and lemon juice. It’s best served straight up, chilled, without ice, and there are numerous recipes to try.
If you like rosè wine, this is the best way to enhance its flavours and sip on it whenever you need to refresh. Frozen Rosè, aka “Frose”, is simply a frozen rosè wine blended with a variety of frozen fruits, sugar, and other spirits, such as vodka. Ideal for warmer months, the slushy drink is affordable, super easy to make adn a hit at pool parties.
By adding Prosecco instead of gin, Negroni lovers can put their own spin on the traditional cocktail and turn it into a Sbagliato, meaning “broken Negroni”.
Like the classic Negroni, the Negroni Sbagliato is best served on the rocks in a stem glass or a Champagne flute. The bitterness from the Campari and the sweetness from the sweet vermouth make this punchy cocktail the perfect aperitif, or before-dinner drink.
One of the most popular wine-based cocktails, the Mimosa combines orange juice and sparkling wine in a delicious and refreshing drink that can be enjoyed any time of the day and any season. With such a simple recipe, the Mimosa is the perfect cocktail for when you need to cater to a party of people and you’re running low on time.
Mulled wine: Winter essential
If you want to get into the winter spirit, nothing does it better than a cup of warm and spicy mulled wine. Typically made from red wine and spices (cinnamon, vanilla bean, cloves), the traditional European drink is easy to make at home, and it’ll fill your home with the traditional scents of winter.
For the tastiest mulled wine, you should use fruity, dry and full-bodied red wines like a Chilean Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah or Grenache. Though not as common as red mulled wine, white wine is delicious when combined with citrus, cinnamon, ginger, honey or sugar and can be enjoyed any season.
There’s nothing like a delicious and refreshing wine cocktail on a hot summer day, or a warm and spicy mulled wine to warm you up this winter.
Wine cocktails are often underrated, but they make excellent party drinks as they can be made in batches, and you don’t even have to use an expensive wine to make it taste good.
So if you think wine cocktails are a girly drink, just remember even the Vikings enjoyed a glass or two… alright, maybe three.