I know this may sound crazy, but every so often you may want to mix up your wine routine. You can try some new varietals, which is always fun, or you can spice up the wines you have on your rack by making cocktails. We love wine cocktails because 1) they have wine in them, and 2) it’s easy to tailor any cocktail recipe to suit the wine you have on hand. Here are 5 of our favorites:
Sangria is a classic wine cocktail that is ridiculously easy to make and makes any party (or Tuesday night) more festive. Sangria is so easy to make that I made it once on a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon with leftover fruit and boxed wine. A form of sangria has been around since at least 200 B.C., when ancient Greeks, Romans, and Spaniards would mix sugar, spices, and fruit with wine. Different styles have been popular at various points over the centuries, but one thing has remained the same- it has always been okay to make it with whatever you have on hand.
The main ingredients for sangria are wine, sugar, and fruit. You can use either red or white wine, and any form of sugar you prefer. I personally enjoy simple syrup because it’s easy to mix into the liquid and it adds sweetness without imparting additional flavor. For the fruit, oranges, pineapple, apples, and peaches are classic, but you can add anything you have on hand. You can make this right before you drink it or ahead of time to let the flavors meld together.
A wine spritzer is even easier to make than sangria because it just has two core ingredients- wine and soda water. Like many cocktails, everyone thinks they invented the spritzer. Most likely it originated somewhere in Europe sometime in the 1800s, not too long after carbonated water was invented.
Most spritzers are made from white wine with a splash of club soda added for some fizz. You can also make them with red wine or rosé. To jazz up the spritzer a little, add fruit garnishes to match the flavor profile of the wine.
If you like fizzy drinks with a little extra booze, the French 75 is for you. Lore says this drink was created in France by British soldiers during World War I. To make a classic French 75, mix 2 parts gin with 1 part lemon juice and 1 part simple syrup. Pour it into a champagne glass and fill to the top with sparkling wine. Add a lemon peel to garnish, and voilà! you’ve got a French 75. If you want to serve these at a party, you can mix everything except the sparkling wine together and then just top off the glasses with bubbly as you pour the drinks.
When it’s hot outside, only a frosé will do. Since it’s a newer cocktail the history is a little easier to trace and credit goes to Bar Primi in New York for creating this grown up slushy in 2016. Like all cocktails, the drink has taken on a life of its own and everyone has their own spin on it. The original drink was made with rosé, vermouth, pureed strawberries, and a splash of water. You can mix the ingredients together in a big zipper bag and freeze for a few hours, or sub a couple ice cubes for the water and blend it up to drink right away.
I love that wine cocktails are so easy to make, forgiving, and they make wine even more enjoyable. They’re also a great way to get non-wine drinkers to try wine- and possibly even convert them! Do you have a favorite wine cocktail?