“Personally, I don’t care whether or not there’s a comeback involved. I’m always game to try mixing with wine, as long as these two prerequisites are met first: 1) I have the right kind of wine on-hand, and 2) the cocktail is equally or more delicious than just enjoying a glass of the wine, by itself.”
1. The right wine is key.
You probably don’t want to pull that anniversary bottle of white Burgundy out of the cellar and try and make a cocktail out of it. It will be gross. And a waste of perfectly delicious wine.
Since most wine cocktails obscure the natural flavor of the wine somewhat to entirely, I recommend starting with a nice, fresh wine that didn’t cost you an arm and a leg. We use our Foursight Sauvignon Blanc most frequently – it’s bright, fresh, and mixes well with others.
Also good for wine cocktails:
- Domestic sparkling wine
- Unoaked Chardonnay
- Even rosé
- For red wines, something with less tannin and oak, like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais
I tend to buy dryer versions of all of these wines as I may be adding ingredients that have sugar themselves.
The cocktail is equally or more delicious than just having a glass of wine.
If this rule doesn’t hold true, just drink the wine and don’t fuss with the cocktail! Unless, of course, it’s brunch. Regular rules don’t apply at brunch.
Also, a wine cocktail can make a questionable wine taste WAY better, which is one of my favorite reasons for making one. Being in the business, I tend to stockpile lots of wine. And I don’t always drink the wine before its best, freshest point. Sure, aged Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon is underrated and can be fabulous, but at some point a vintage will be past its prime, and then a wine cocktail is the perfect use for a bottle you may not drink otherwise!
So, without further ado, here are a few of my favorite wine cocktails.
The White Wine Cobbler
This involves some simple sugar and lots of citrus – perfect for a simple white wine or a white wine past its prime (or even part of a bottle you just didn’t finish last night, or last week). Because there is sugar and acid involved, the wine can be in just about any condition.
3 orange slices
½ ounce simple syrup
5 ounces white wine
Two handfuls of ice
Equipment: a muddler, and cocktail shaker.
Muddle the oranges and simple syrup in a shaker, add a few handfuls of ice and the white wine and shake. Strain into glasses with ice (shaved ice is nice, but any will do).
Sauvignon Blanc Mimosa
This is the easiest wine cocktail ever: one part Sauvignon Blanc, one part orange juice.
DO NOT use New Zealand Sauvi – the green, grassy flavors will not play nice. Use something domestic, French or Italian. Something fruit-forward and easy: Pinot Grigio or Gewurztraminer can be great in this as well.
If the wine is relatively dry, you can actually put it in your water carbonator (Soda Stream, etc.) and give it some spritz before you mix. Then add the orange juice first, then the spritzy wine.
Interested in a Red Wine Cocktail?
Red wine cocktails can be delicious: think Sangria on a hot day. But most recipes involve adding multiple other alcohols, plus juices, bitters or fruit, etc., etc. I have a small child and a business and I am NOT investing that much time in a cocktail. … Unless it’s brunch, of course.
Cue one of my recent discoveries: a relatively simple red wine cocktail I would recommend using Pinot Noir or gamay (Beaujolais) to make: The Paysan. You probably have most of these ingredients at home. Those you don’t you can find just about anywhere.
Admittedly, it’s sweet, so I tweaked the recipe a bit with less Chamboard and the addition of lemon juice. It feels slightly tropical, is completely delicious, and would be fantastic with one of those massive, bespoke charcuterie boards – salty goodies to balance the sweet.
All you need (for a pitcher of cocktails):
16 ounces Pinot Noir
8 ounces cranberry juice
4 ounces orange juice
1 ounce Chambord (you can double this if you like the sweet, fruity raspberry flavor)
1 ounce lemon juice
3 ounces chilled sprite
Thinly sliced lemon zest (optional)
Thinly sliced lime zest (optional)
Thinly sliced orange zest (optional)
Add all the juices together in a pitcher and stir. Fill two white wine glasses with ice, then pour the juices over the top of the ice. Add a dash of sprite to the top of each glass, plus any zests if you want to be fancy, then sip away!
If you need some recipes to pair with these cocktails, check out our Foursight Pairings Page!
Phone: (707) 895-WINE