Snobbery and wine go together like love and marriage. I remember visiting the States a few years ago and getting very snooty about people putting ice cubes in their wine… even red wine!
But let’s stop and think a minute. Sometimes, when the weather is pushing up the mercury, it is advisable to add a few ice cubes just to keep the wine at room temperature. Granted, don’t use your best vino for this.
In my last post, I talked about the kind of wine you drink with a barbecue. In general, the wines tend to be less expensive, lighter, gluggable bottles – something that quenches your thirst without making you too drunk. You want volume rather than intensity.
A wine cocktail is a great way of using up the ends of bottles; a slightly oxygenated wine, opened 2 or 3 days beforehand, is cunningly disguised with a soft drink. Other ways of using up leftover wine can be found here.
One custom I used to look down upon was the Spanish habit of mixing red wine and Coca Cola. Ay caramba! But wine coolers do have a role in summer. This blog post makes some suggestions of refreshing summer cocktails using wine.
The simplest and most classic wine cooler is the Spritzer: white wine or rosé with sparkling water. People think they are making the wine more diluted but mixing with carbonated water supposedly gets you drunk quicker.
How to make it: half a glass of wine topped up with cold sparkling water or club soda. I reckon the already bargainous (£6.25!) Verdejo, El Tesoro will go even further with a large dash of sparkling water.
I’m finally getting into ‘kalimotxo’ from Spain – yes, that horrendous but surprisingly tasty and sangria-like red wine and Coke combo really isn’t too bad.
How to make it: half cheap red wine and half coke. If you want to reduce sugar, use diet coke. Plenty of ice and a slice of lemon. Don’t use an expensive wine, or only do so when it’s gone a little stale. This Spanish Borsao, Garnacha Tinto is the cheapest red on the winetrust100 site.
3. Tinto de Verano
Tinto de Verano: another Spanish fizzy drink plus wine mash-up, this time with lemonade. Actually pretty good.
How to make it: Equal parts red wine and lemonade or lemon/lime soda. Slice of lemon. If you have some of this Borsao Seleccion Tinto left over the next day, that would do nicely.
4. Mis Mas
Mis Mas from Slovenia/Croatia: red wine with Fanta or orange juice. This sounds vile, but isn’t too bad.
How to make it: first pour in the OJ/Fanta, then carefully and slowly top with red wine, forming a Tequila Sunrise-style cocktail in reverse. 2 parts orange to 1 part wine. I don’t know what to recommend with this concoction because frankly every wine on the Winetrust site is too good for this.
The French do wine mixing with style of course, with this Dijonnais cocktail. Kir, white burgundy wine (traditionally ‘aligoté’) mixed with creme de cassis, is an alcoholic liqueur made from blackcurrants. Advice: go steady on the crème de cassis. You don’t want it too sweet, that leads to a terrible hangover.
How to make it: pour 10ml of kir (1/3oz) into a glass and top with white burgundy such as Chablis Domain Collet.
6. Kir Royal
There are variations upon the kir theme. Kir Royal is the same recipe as above but with Champagne rather than white wine. Try a Kir Petillant with Prosecco Spumante Extra Dry Vallate.
7. Kir Imperial
You can also try crème de mûres (blackberry), crème de myrtilles (bilberries), or a Kir Imperial with crème de framboise (raspberries). Same recipe, all equally delicious. There is a British crème de cassis, by the way, which is less sweet.
8. Bucks Fizz
Champagne is often perked up with a mixer, particularly at breakfast. The most well known is a Bucks Fizz or Mimosa.
How to make it: a Bucks Fizz is 1 part orange juice to 2 parts Champagne. A Mimosa is half orange juice to half champagne or sparkling white wine. For this, I suggest Gremillet, which is sufficiently ‘Brut’ (i.e. dry) and grown in a satellite area to Champagne.
Other sparkling wine cocktails include the Bellini, Champagne and peach juice; the Puccini, manadarin juice and Prosecco; the Rossini, strawberry purée and Prosecco; and the luscious-sounding Tintoretto, Prosecco with pomegranate juice. You could also try Californian sparkling wine Taltarni Taché.
10. Port and Tonic
Don’t forget the fortified wines. Often they are too sweet or too heavy for summer drinking, but become pleasantly thirst-quenching and ambrosial when mixed. I was recently in Porto where the stylish Portuguese sit outside cafés, watching the world go by, while sipping Port and tonic water as an aperitif. This Fonseca LBV Unfiltered Port works well with a good quality tonic water such as Fever Tree.
How to make it: 50ml of Port with 100ml of tonic water, plus a wedge of lemon.
When it’s really hot and clammy, I love that Spanish favourite, a ‘Rebujito’ cocktail, fino or dry sherry and lemonade, so popular during the ‘feria’ season in Seville.
How to make it: use 50ml (2 oz) fino sherry such as Fino ‘Inocente’ Valdespino, Jerez and top it up with lemonade (100ml/4 oz) and a sprig of mint.
The daddy of all summer wine drinks is Sangria. (Notice how so many of these drinks are Spanish? No doubt due to the extreme heat and perhaps a less pretentious attitude towards wine.) Jugs of Sangria used to be distributed at bull fights. One of my earliest holiday memories is my seven-year-old brother getting drunk on free sangria and throwing up everywhere into the bull fighting arena. How to make it: Think summer mulled wine. Without the mulling and the spices. 1 bottle of red wine (for instance this Monastrell, Molino Loco)
150ml of brandy
500ml of fresh orange juice
2 oranges cut into slices
2 apples cut into chunks
Put into a large jug and leave in fridge overnight. Add lots of ice cubes before serving.
13. White/Rosé Sangria
You can also make variations on the above Sangria recipe using white or rosé wine and changing the fruit and or fruit juice. Have a go at mixing white wine with peaches or rosé and strawberries. Try Winetrust’s Zinfandel with peach juice and nectarine chunks.
14. Aperol Spritz
Italians, obsessed with their digestion, love their bitters as part of a well designed meal. A sparkling wine or a pink sparkling wine with a red bitter such as Aperol is refreshing and not too high in alcohol, meaning you can drink plenty without getting drunk. It is the perfect aperitivo before dinner. Aperol is less bitter and alcoholic than Campari which is why it is so popular in summer. If you prefer something only slighter bitter, try this recipe with the prize winning Moscato d’Asti, a sweeter sparkling wine.
How to make it:
75ml sparkling wine
a dash of soda
A slice of lemon or orange
Plenty of ice cubes
15. Cocktail bitters
Other bitters such as Angostura, original or orange, are better used as a dash in cocktails. They possess a similar delightful bitterness to that of tonic. This sweet Pink Moscato, by Innocent is another option for the wine, especially if you don’t like too much bitterness.
How to make it:
a dash of bitters
a dash of soda
a slice of lemon, orange, or a cocktail cherry
Plenty of ice
16. Wine Slushie
Another trend that I’ve seen touted on the internet of late is the wine slushie or ‘frosé’. Basically a slushie for adults. This is a recipe that I must try. It requires freezing a bottle of rosé.
How to make it:
A bottle of rosé, poured into a metal container such as a baking dish and frozen
200g strawberries, hulled
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 tbsps of sugar
Blend the frozen wine with the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar.
Drink with a straw or eat with a spoon.
So really this is a manifesto to make summer drinking more fun. Wine snobs, throw off your chains! Summer is here!