Wine cocktails

Gone are the days where hard liquor is the go-to spirit for making delicious cocktails. As it turns out, you can grab a bottle of your favourite wine and enjoy yourself a delectable, lower alcohol alternative to a spirit-forward cocktail. It doesn’t matter if it is red wine, white wine or even rose. There are tasty ways to mix up each varietal into a flavourful and refreshing drink. Ready to start mixing? Follow these simple tips.

 

Pick Your Wine Profile

Wines are a versatile cocktail ingredient because it has a dynamic spectrum of flavour profile, from dry and fruity to bright and savoury. Next, we will delve into the individual flavour profiles of red, white and rose wine. 

 

Dry Red Wine

Red wines are known to have higher tannins - A group of bitter and astringent compounds that are found abundantly in plants and grape skins. They are bitter in flavour and leave a drying sensation on the tongue. Since grape skins are left on during the winemaking process of red wine, reds usually generally have higher tannins than white wine or rose. 

When it comes to tannins, chances are you either like it or you never want to taste it again. But the beauty of mixing a wine-based cocktail is that with proper pairing of ingredients, you get to enjoy the flavours of red wine without or with less of the overbearing tannins. 

 

Crisp White Wine

White wines, especially sweet whites, are more acidic than reds. High acidity in white wines makes them a unique substitute for certain citrus flavours. The Chardonnay is known to exude flavours of green apple, citrus, pineapple and the Pinot Gris/Grigio offers flavours of citrus and fresh pear.

 

Fruity Rose

Rose or pink wine is created through grape skin contact or staining. Skins from black grapes are remained in the juice for a short period, typically two to twenty hours. 

The flavours of a rose vary depending on the type of grapes used. ​​A darker coloured Italian Aglianico Rose will offer up cherry and orange zest. And a pale-coloured Grenache rose such as the Chateau Cavalier Rose from France will provide the taste of sweet strawberries and red fruits.

Flavour variety aside, when it comes to mixing with rose, the complexity and varying taste notes of it, makes rose an ever-interesting ingredient to experiment with.

 

Find Your Balance

Whether it is the crisp and sweet taste from white you prefer or the bitter tannins from reds that you are after, the key to mixing any good cocktail is balance. And that includes knowing how much booze to use. 

There are many ways to achieve balance. Maggie Dale, a Veteran NYC bartender, goes with the mantra of “less is more”. She says that when mixing cocktail ingredients, you can always add more but you can’t remove it. So always start with a little bit of everything and add more as you go. 

But balance could also be about ingredient pairings. The goal is to have the flavours of wine come through without it being overpowered by the spirit.

 

Red Wine with Dark Liquor

The red wine with dark liquor combo is for those who love the flavour of red and its tannic notes. Tannins in red wine add structure and texture to a cocktail, especially when making a sour. When paired with dark liquor such as bourbon, brandy or whisky, you get a fun and textural drink such as the infamous Sangria or the New York Sour. Below is an easy New York Sour recipe for you to try!

The New York Sour 

What you need
Steps

Add Bourbon, lemon juice and syrup into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well, and strain into a glass over ice. Pour red wine over the back of the spoon to float and serve with a lemon twist.

 

White Wine/Rose with Light Spirits

The white/rose with light spirits combo is for those who love a crisp, light and fruity drink. White and rose when paired with lighter spirits such as vodka, rum or gin would make for a refreshing summertime cocktail. Below are two cocktail recipes to try your hands on.

Sauvignon Gin Cocktail

Steps

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a rock glass and garnish with mint leaves and a lemon twist.

Rosy Gimlet

What you need
Steps

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a glass over ice and garnish with a lime twist.

 

Expand Your Palette 

For most of us avid drinkers, we would be familiar with our wine taste profile. That said, picking a favourite bottle to get started on our wine cocktail rendition would be simple and easy. The challenge would be finding the right flavour pairings. You may try the simple recipes suggested above but we would prefer that you not limit yourself.

Trust your taste buds and listen to your curious heart because when it comes to wine based-cocktails, a flavour that you may not love in a wine can be used to offer depth and texture to a cocktail. For example, most wines carry tannins, minerals, salinity, oak etc and you may not be a fan of some of these flavours. But, if paired with the right ingredients you may get to enjoy a delicious and refreshing drink with a complex character.

Conversely, you may also choose a bottle of wine based on a specific flavour note that you would like to enjoy in a cocktail. The choices are endless but wonderful at the same time. 

If your curiosity is compelling you to try creating a cocktail with a bottle of wine that you're not crazy about or a wine varietal that you have not tried before, then don't dim that light of passion and start stocking up! Whether it is dry or sweet, red, white or rose varietals, Celebration offers a wide range of quality wines at affordable prices. To make your mixology journey more worthwhile, we are extending a free alcohol delivery to you as long as you cart out booze amounting to a total of $99 or more. Happy Mixing!