Wine is easy to enjoy on its own. Whether you’re into big and bold Bordeauxs or light and crisp Vinho Verdes, everyone has a wine style they enjoy.
That being said, wine can also play nice with other ingredients to make entirely new concoctions to sip and savor. Below are ten of our favorite mixed drinks that employ wine in one way or another. Each one of our wine cocktails is simple to make and delicious to drink. Enjoy!
Who doesn’t love a full glass of sangria on a hot summer day? Combining red wine, brandy, fruits and sometimes spices, the sangria is probably the most ubiquitous wine cocktail – and one of the easiest ways to entertain guests.
The best part of making the drink is that there’s no one correct way to put it together! That being said, here are some pointers on how we like to prepare a pitcher of sangria, using a 750ml bottle of wine as a benchmark:
- Source a fruity, light to moderate bodied red like a grenache or pinot noir. White wines are also employed, though the style will be crisper and lighter (look for a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc)
- ½ cup of brandy, or rum if that’s on your bar cart. This will fortify the drink, providing structure and character
- Fruit! Two each. Oranges, apples, and pears cut into 1” cubes (don’t even bother peeling the orange) will round out the fun and fruity flavor of the sangria.
For some extra help on how to make some kick-ass sangria check out Downshiftology on YouTube where Lisa shows you step by step.
Nothing screams brunch like a table full of mimosas in champagne flutes. Orange juice and sparkling wine have a magical harmony together, especially when served on a Sunday morning with eggs benedict or pancakes… or eggs and bacon… or… biscuits and gravy… well, before we make ourselves too hungry, here’s a quick and easy mimosa recipe. Happy brunching!
- 50% orange juice, freshly squeezed if possible
- 50% sparkling wine, prosecco working as an inexpensive and complimentary style
3. Vermouth Spritz
While vermouth alone may turn away some palates, a vermouth spritz is a surefire crowd pleaser. When diluted with seltzer, the aromas and complexities of the fortified wine are rendered more accessible, presenting a sophisticated and daring summer sipper.
- An easy recipe is 50/50 vermouth/seltzer, served in a rocks glass, with a citrus peel to garnish
- Any vermouth will work, though Spanish and Italian sweet vermouths tend to make some of the tastiest examples we’ve seen. We recommend Cocchi or Casa Mariol.
4. Wine Spritzer
Simple, unfussy, fun, refreshing: just a few words to describe a wine spritzer. Combining a crisp, unoaked white wine with club soda, garnished with a citrus wheel, maybe adding some berries to the bottom of the glass…you really can’t go wrong with a wine spritzer!
- ¾ white wine, unoaked and light. Pinot grigios, sauvignon blancs, and albarinos are fairly safe bets
- ¼ club soda, always added after the wine is in the glass
- Garnishes: as previously mentioned, a lemon or lime wheel on the side of the glass or some raspberries, strawberries and/or blueberries will add dimension and flair
5. Kir and Kir Royale
The kir originates in the French region of Burgundy, where often uncomplex wines made from the grape aligoté were bolstered with a favorite regional liqueur, crème de cassis. Any white wine can be used. The resulting drink is a fruity yet crisp wine cocktail. The kir royale follows the same formula for a kir but replaces a still white wine with champagne (or any other sparkling wine to suit your budget).
- Pour a reasonably sized glass of wine (4.5 oz – 5 oz if you want to get specific)
- Add the tiniest pour of crème de cassis and give the glass a swirl
- Keep in mind that the crème de cassis will throw its weight around here! Be sure to add in small amounts only!
6. French 75/95
This New Orleans based wine cocktail is interestingly named after a machine gun! It’s said that the bubbles of the wine hit like a WWI-era 75mm French field gun, thus the name. The French 95, which uses bourbon in place of gin, is presumably named after a larger caliber weapon. No matter the name, either of these drinks packs a lively punch and a dash of class for your next get together.
- Combine 1.5 oz gin, .50 oz each lemon, and .50 oz simple syrup in a shaker tin with ice and shake
- Strain into a champagne flute or high-sided glass and top with sparkling wine
- For a French 95, swap the gin for bourbon
Tired of mimosas at brunch? Of course you’re not, but why not try something new anyway? Presenting to you the bellini, a mid-century Italian cocktail employing peach puree and prosecco. Comparable to the mimosa in its fruity/bubbly/light character, the bellini is a great new brunch compliment for the uninitiated and a welcome reprieve for those in the know. Perfetto!
- 2 parts prosecco
- 1 part peach puree
- Combine in a champagne flute and enjoy!
Ain’t nothing wrong a good frosé, nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to hide. Frosés are delicious – and surprisingly easy to make! No heavy machinery required, just some patience and freezer space. The process involves freezing the rose (out of the bottle!) and blending it with a fruit concoction made while the wine chills. The alcohol will prevent the mix from freezing solid and facilitate the creation of that slushie texture we love so much. Try it out and be rewarded on that next hot summer day!
- Pour a bottle of rosé onto a baking dish and place in the freezer for about 6 hours
- Boil ½ cup of water and ½ cup of sugar to dissolve, then turn off the heat and add berries or fruits of your choosing to macerate (we like raspberries and strawberries for ours, about ½ pound total fruit)
- After the fruit sits for 30 or so minutes, strain the mixture and combine it with the juice of one lemon
- When the rosé is completely frozen, add all ingredients to a blender, blend and enjoy!
9. New York Sour
While wine is a lesser component of this drink, the New York Sour provides an interesting mixology concept and a fresh view on a cocktail classic. Floating a red wine: the process of gently pouring wine over the completed drink, creates a visually stunning glass while providing a sweet-flavored punch to the drink.
- Make a whiskey sour, combining 2 oz whiskey, 1 oz lemon, and ½ oz simple syrup in a shaker tin with ice, and shaking for 30 seconds before straining into a rocks glass
- Float a red wine by gently pouring the liquid down the back of a spoon and into the glass directly
- A bigger, bolder red wine will work best here, think Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon
This one sounds weird, but trust us. Somehow, it works. Allow us to perform a short dialog between an avid Kalimoxto drinker, and the un-initiated.
– “It’s a drink made from 50/50 red wine/cola.”
“Why would you do that?”
– “We don’t know, but trust us, it works.”
“Ok, so where was it made?”
– “The Basque region of Spain.”
“How do you even say it?”
“Are you pulling my leg?”
– “No, and it’s actually quite tasty.”
“I would never drink that, that sounds gross!”
“More for us then.”
We expect your wine rack will start doubling in size now that you have all of these extra options for wine cocktails. Any of these cocktails are guaranteed to transport you to sunny days by a beach, or around the table with your friends at your favorite brunch spot.
What did you guys think of our list? Did we miss any obvious ones? Have you been drinking Kalimoxtos your whole life without ever knowing it was called Kalomoxto? Let us know in the comments below. Cheers, and remember to get hammered.