As the weather gets warmer, we move away from rich and creamy drinks and embrace the fruity, the light and the refreshing. Spritzers of all colours (but let’s be honest, often Aperol-red) grace outdoors tables all over town and lower alcohol serves invite us to linger longer in sunnier evenings.
Wine cocktails are ideal for this time of the year. Often incredibly easy to make and perfect for batch mixing, these are almost begging for a party to start. Besides white or red, you can experiment with different types of vermouth, Sherry and other fortified wines as well as fruits, herbs and bitters.
One important note about using wine for cocktails: while this is not the time to pour your cellar’s highlights, you don’t want to use a wine you wouldn’t drink on its own. Go for a flavourful wine of good quality and good value, and take tannins and acidity in mind when making your choice.
This is a summer must. Spain’s most famous wine cocktail is a classic for a reason: fruity, fresh and so easy to make. It is also great for parties as it’s almost always made in batch.
– 1 bottle of red wine (Tempranillo tends to work very well)
– 3 oranges
– 1 tin of peach halves
– 1 green apple
– 1 Cinnamon stick
1. Juice two of the oranges and slice the third.
2. Chop the peach halves and the apple in dice-size cubes.
3. Mix the wine and the orange juice.
4. Add the slices of orange, the peach and apple cubes and mix.
5. If you wish to sweeten it, add some of the syrup from the peaches to taste.
6. Leave the cinnamon stick in the jar so it gives the sangria a spicy note.
7. Serve with ice.
A refreshing, crisp twist on a classic, this white wine version of the popular sangria is ideal to sip under the sun. You can change the pineapple for peaches for a more mellow flavours, but if you like citrusy and sharper flavours then pineapples are your friends.
– 1 bottle of white wine (a new world Chardonnay will enhance the pineapple flavours)
– 1 lemon
– 1 tin of pineapple slices
– Sparkling water or soda (to top the glasses)
1. Cut the lemon in thin slices.
2. Chop the pineapple slices in small pieces.
3. Add the lemon slices and pineapple pieces to the wine.
4. Serve with ice and top with sparkling water or soda.
Add a touch of retro vibes with a twist. This thirst quencher is pitcher-perfect and a delicious variation of the iconic Pimm’s Cup.
– 1 1/2 cup of Prosecco
– 1 cup of Madeira (or other sweet fortified wine such as Rutherglen Muscat or Vin Santo)
– 1 cup of lemonade (you can swap for ginger ale for a richer flavour)
– 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
– 1 orange
– 1/2 punnet of strawberries
– 1 green apple
1. Cut the orange and the apple in thin slices.
2. Chop the strawberries slices in halves.
3. Add the madeira and lemonade to the Prosecco.
4. To serve it, pour the liquid into a glass full of ice and fill until about two thirds. Add a few mint leaves on top and push them down with the fruits. Finish with soda.
The name’s a portmanteau of “frozen” and “Riesling” and it’s ideal if you love summery drinks but don’t fancy a fruit salad in the bottom of your glass. Instead, this treat highlights floral flavours.
– 1 bottle of dry Riesling wine
– 1/2 cup of eldelflower cordial
– 1 lemon
– 1/2 cup clear apple juice
– Ice (shortcut)
1. With a knife or citrus peeler, reserve a few twists of lemon peel and Juice the lemon.
2. Combine the Riesling, eldelflower cordial, apple juice and lemon juice.
3. You can leave it freezing overnight in a double zyploc bag (because it has alcohol, it won’t fully freeze, but it will become slushy-like. If it freezes too much, just move it to the fridge for a while.
Shortcut. If you don’t mind some dilution, you can blend the liquid with ice (in a strong blender) and serve immediately.
4. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.
If sangría is the most famous, tinto de verano is the easiest Spanish wine drink. Its name simply means “summer’s red wine” and it’s a no-hassle, zero-mess mixed drink that you can make in one minute and drink on a hot day.
– 1 bottle of red wine
– 1 pint of 7 Up (or a similar lemon flavoured fizzy drink)
– 1 lemon (optional)
1. Fill half a glass with ice cubes.
2. If you are using a lemon, slice it.
3. Mix the wine and the 7 Up in a pitcher.
4. Pour the mixed drink over the ice and garnish with a slice of lemon.
If you enjoy spritzers and are eager to try something with loads of flavour and low in alcohol, this one it the drink to mix. It’s on the herbacious side, so it’s a lovely, lighter alternative to frutier and sweeter cocktails that still tastes quite summery.
– 1/2 glass of dry white vermouth
– 2 dashes of orange bitters
– 1 twist of lemon peel
– Tonic water (enough to top)
1. Fill half a red wine glass with ice cubes and pour the vermouth.
2. Add the orange bitters.
3. Top up with tonic water.
4. Garnish with a slice of lemon.
The word “sbagliato” is Italian for “mistaken” and it suits the story behind this drink, created when a bartender in Milan added Prosecco intead of gin to a Negroni cocktail. The result was a bittersweet, fizzy and lighter tipple, ideal for those with a soft spot for Campari.
– 1 part Campari
– 1 part Red vermouth
– 1 part Prosecco
– Slice of orange
1. Full a whiskey tumbler with ice cubes (or add one large ice cube).
2. Pour the vermouth, followed by the Campari and then top with the Prosecco.
3. Stir gently to combine (but not too much so you don’t kill the bubbles).
4. Garnish with a slice of orange.
Fancy something stronger? This classic cocktail offers an intense explosion of flavours. On the fruity side, cherry, on the bitter end, vermouth.
– 25ml red vermouth
– 25ml whiskey
– 25ml cherry liqueur
– 25ml blood orange juice
1. Shake all ingredients with ice.
2. Strain into a chilled coupe.
3. Garnish with an orange zest twist.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.