Six Essential Wine Cocktails
- It's the hottest day of the year, here in deepest Surrey, as I write this and in the hope that you weren't too outraged by my chilled red wine email of a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd go a step further and talk about wine cocktails this week.
The brilliant idea of mixing wine with other ingredients and creating a cocktail has probably been around as long as wine itself. The truth is, though, that ordering a wine cocktail at the bar used to be something that was ridiculed. Wine cocktails unfortunately maintained a ridiculous reputation for years. Most people didn’t associate mixed wine drinks with class, style and sophistication.
The good news is that the wine climate of today is much different. In a landscape that is constantly seeking new ways to serve different types of food and beverages, the classic mixed wine cocktail is making a comeback. For wine enthusiasts, mixing wine with other ingredients gives everyone a new way to experience the flavour and aroma of his or her favourite wine. Lets take a look at a few classics.
More potent than it appears, sangria is a classic drink best enjoyed while relaxing with friends or family on a hot summer day. For best results, use a a dry Spanish red wine like Grenache or Tempranillo. Depending on what fruit is in season or what fruit you have on hand, you can modify the flavours to fit your meal or setting.
- 2 bottles of chilled red wine
- 200ml of brandy
- 75g of sugar
- 2 oranges cut into slices
- 3 lemons cut into slices
- 3 limes cut into slices
- 2 peaches cut into slices
- 400g of strawberries cut into slices
- 200ml of soda water or lemonade
Mix wine, brandy, sugar and fruit together in a large jug. Pour into glasses over ice and top with soda water or lemonade.
When pairing food with your sangria, you’ll want to continue the Spanish theme and serve with tapas like albondigas, Spanish meatballs, or empanadillas, Spanish meat turnovers.
The mimosa is a staple cocktail found in restaurants all over the world during brunchtime.
The best type of wine to use for a mimosa is a dry, sparkling white Spanish Cava. Quick and easy to prepare, mimosas make a breakfast party even more elegant and enjoyable.
- 75ml of chilled sparkling white wine
- 75ml of pulp free orange juice
- Orange slice for garnish
Fill a Champagne glass with wine and top with orange juice. Garnish with orange slice.
Pair these tasty orange treats with you breakfast favourites, such as fluffy omelettes or rich, buttery slices of French toast.
Mulled wine is best enjoyed in the colder weather months or during autumn or winter holiday celebrations. Warm up by the fireplace with this hearty drink and enjoy the spicy, rich taste. The perfect type of wine for this recipe is going to be a rich red like Merlot or Californian Zinfandel.
- 2 bottles of red wine
- 100ml of brandy
- 100ml of orange juice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 nutmegs split into pieces
- 12 cloves
- 75g of sugar
- Orange zest peel
Use a cheesecloth to combine the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into a pouch. Pour the wine, brandy, orange juice and sugar into a saucepan and heat until warm. Add the cheesecloth spices and continue to warm slowly, but do not let the wine boil. When ready to serve, garnish with orange zest peels.
The spicy, cinnamon flavour of mulled wine pairs best with hearty cheeses and breads or mince pies.
Similar in makeup to the mimosa, a Kir Royale is a French cocktail made popular by Felix Kir, a French priest who was part of the resistance during World War II. Some variations use Chambord instead of crème de cassis, giving it an even brighter berry flavour. A dry sparkling wine like Champagne or Prosecco is best.
- 150ml of Champagne
- 30ml of crème de cassis
- Raspberries for garnish
Pour the crème de cassis in a Champagne glass and top with Champagne.
A food pairing suggestion would be to serve your favourite strawberry dessert, such as a mousse or shortcake, with this sweet drink.
Simple and classic, the wine spritzer is a refreshing, bubbly drink that can be enjoyed in a variety of settings. Perfect for outdoor summer barbecues.
With a spritzer, you can customize the flavours you want by selecting a specific type of wine. For a sweeter drink, choose a fruity rosé wine. Then, garnish with sweet fruits like strawberries or orange slices. If you’re craving something a little dryer, consider a white wine like Sauvignon Blanc. Choose a tangy garnish, such as a lemon slice, to top it off.
- 120ml of chilled white or rosé wine
- 60ml of soda water
- Chilled glass filled with ice
- Fruit for garnish
Pour wine and soda water over ice, garnish with fruit and serve immediately.
Wine spritzers are best paired with light foods, such salads. If you’re going with a sweeter, fruitier wine base, a great starter dish could be crisp melon wrapped with tangy Italian prosciutto. For a spritzer made with a dryer, more citrus tasting wine like Sauvignon Blanc, try serving a salad filled with fresh chilled vegetables like asparagus and herbs like dill or coriander.
You may have never even thought to mix wine with cola, but the Kalimotxo creates a unique flavor that brings life to your taste buds. Also known as a Rioja Libre or a Jote, these wine cocktails come from the Basque Country in northern Spain. Legend says that a group of Spanish teenagers wanted to make their dismal, cheap red wine taste better, so they decided to add their cola.
The best type of wine to use is an inexpensive red like Rioja, Cabernet or Pinot Noir.
- 120ml of red wine
- 120ml of cola
- Lemon slice for garnish
Fill a tall, chilled tumbler glass with ice and pour in the wine and cola and gently mix. Garnish with a lemon slice.
Because of the zingy energy that the cola gives to the Kalimotxo, you want to choose bold food pairings. A spicy curry will bring out the tannins of the red wine in the cocktail.
So, what are you waiting for? Ignore the wine snob in you (or in your life), easy to make and tasty to drink, wine cocktails are here to stay and are elevating traditional wines for drinkers all over the world.