Sangria aside, wine cocktails are a critically endangered species. Although there is no one recipe for Sangria, and bartenders love riffing on the classic wine punch, its freshness and sweetness make it an uber popular option, especially in high summer. But there is life beyond Sangria, and not just for red wine, but also for white and rosé.
White or rosé wine-based refreshing cocktails, besotting cocktails with cava or champagne, daring cocktails with fortified wines such as sherry, and the odd cocktail with chocolate and Port wine, for those with a sweet tooth.
Below is a list of our favourite recipes. Go highbrow or lowbrow—there is no accounting for taste, so we will not judge either way.
Red Wine Cocktails
Perhaps you have heard that old adage, “Grape or grain, but never the twain“? It implies that the mix of wine and grain-based spirits is sure to induce a hangover, but it is a cutesy-rhymey sentiment that is slightly out-dated. Combining wine and spirits in cocktail form is actually a fantastic idea and can be a great way to use up a stray bit of liquor, or a bottle of wine that is not particularly a stunner on its own.
Catch some of our favourites below, then head to your bar cart and start mixing.
San Francisco Sangaree. A staunch competitor of the acclaimed Sangria, this version is signed by H. Joseph Ehrmann, owner of the San Francisco-based Elixir Whiskey Bar. Fruity red wine, bourbon (or whiskey), simple syrup, cherries, lemon slice and ice… and shake and strain into a glass.
Queen Charlotte. This is another red wine-based option, which is usually served in a Martini glass and includes ingredients such as grenadine, lemon-lime soda and ice. Simple but does the job nicely.
Blackberry Cola. Red wine, half a measure of dry sherry wine, half a measure of sweet sherry wine, a dash of brandy and some coke, and success is sure.
Bishop Cocktail aka. Obispo. Essentially a play on mulled wine, this cocktail results from mixing rum, half a glass of red wine, lemon juice, orange juice and sugar.
Boston Bamboo. This cocktail is only suitable for sherry wine lovers. The Bamboo—named that way because of its colour similar to bamboo wood—has fine sherry wine as its main ingredient. The bitter twist provided by angostura and orange juice gives it a distinct flavour, which is perfect to whet the appetite for the meal to come.
White Wine Cocktails
Sherry Mary. An Andalusian must for Bloody Mary lovers. Take some Fino, Oloroso or Amontillado—your choice—a pinch of salt and pepper, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco to taste and, of course, tomato juice (natural tomato juice is preferable).
Just Keep Swimming. This cocktail originated in Miami and features Verdejo white wine, vodka, watermelon, syrup, lemon juice, half a slice of lemon, sparkling water and ice. An acidic and explosive mix with a lingering aftertaste that will have you longing for seconds.
Crimean. Perfect as an aperitif, it includes white wine, Cointreau, soda and ice. Add a cherry, fresh mint leaves or lemon peel to round it off.
Rosé Wine Cocktails
Margarita Rosé. Margarita lovers will surely be seduced by this wine version. Use rosé wine, Tequila, Triple Sec and a dash of lemon juice. Margarita Rosé may be an improved version of one of the most international cocktails in the world…
Mojito Rosé. Here is an oldie with a twist. Sparkling rosé wine and aged rum (or white rum), simple syrup, a little bit of mint, some lime, classic tonic (or pink tonic) and ice.
Although the following cocktails do not include wine, it is impossible not to mention some cava or champagne-based options such as the Bellini or the Kir Royal.
Bellini. A classy cocktail served in an elegant flute, the secret behind its success is to use natural fruit. A simple combination of one part peach purée and two parts cava, champagne or Prosecco makes a great start to any celebration. And while it is light on the booze, it goes down very easily, so watch how many times your champagne flute gets a top-off.
Kir Royal. Typical of the French Côte d’Azur, this palatable and sophisticated cocktail results from mixing sparkling wine and crème de cassis or blackcurrant cassis syrup. Serve in a chilled glass, add a teaspoon of crème de cassis, fill to the top with the wine and add a couple of raspberries or blackberries to top it off. A good choice for a welcome drink, aperos, or nice get-together in the evening.