What Are Wine Cocktails Called?

Aug 18, 2023by Madi Lowry

Wine-Based Cocktails: A Journey Through History and Flavors

san diego wine cocktail

Dive into the world of wine-based cocktails with us! From the classic Mimosa to the trendy Negroni Sbagliato, we're exploring the origins and recipes of some of the most beloved wine cocktails. Perfect for your next brunch or evening soirée, these drinks offer a delightful twist on your favorite wines.

Mimosa: The Brunch Classic

The Mimosa, a beloved brunch staple, has a history as rich as its flavor. Created in 1925 by Frank Meier at the Ritz Carlton in Paris, it's a descendant of the Buck's Fizz, which originated in London. The debate over whether the British or French can claim true ownership of this cocktail continues to this day.

To craft the perfect Mimosa:

  • Use equal parts Champagne and orange juice
  • For a budget-friendly option, swap Champagne for Cava

Aperol Spritz: The Italian Summer Refresher

The Aperol Spritz, invented in 1919, was designed to combat the sweltering Italian summer heat. Its name derives from "aperitif," a pre-meal drink meant to stimulate the appetite. The modern Spritz evolved from the 1800s practice of foreign soldiers diluting strong Italian wines with water.

The classic Aperol Spritz recipe calls for:

  • Prosecco
  • Aperol
  • Sparkling water or club soda

Sangria: A 2000-Year-Old Tradition

Sangria's roots stretch back over two millennia to Spain, where it was initially used to purify water and mask the taste of poor-quality wine. Today, it's a beloved party punch with endless variations.

Key to crafting the perfect Sangria:

  • Use red wine as your base
  • Add citrus fruits and sparkling water or soda
  • Consider including citrus liqueur, brandy, or vermouth for extra depth
  • Let the mixture sit to allow the flavors to meld

French 75: The Cocktail with a Kick

French 75 Wine Cocktail

Born in the trenches of World War I, the French 75 was created at the New York Bar in Paris. It earned its name from the powerful French 75mm field gun, thanks to its potent kick.

The French 75 can be made with either gin or cognac:

  • Gin version: Lighter and floral, perfect for warm weather
  • Cognac version: Heavier, ideal for cooler months

Both versions include fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and Champagne.

Bellini: The Italian Mimosa

The Bellini, invented by Giuseppe Cipriani at the iconic Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy, is often considered the Italian cousin of the Mimosa. This simple yet elegant cocktail was a favorite among celebrities like Humphrey Bogart and Ernest Hemingway.

To make a classic Bellini:

  • Combine peach puree with Prosecco
  • Expect a sweeter profile than a Mimosa due to the peach and Prosecco combination

Wine Spritzer: The Customizable Classic

The wine spritzer is the perfect canvas for creativity. Simply add ice and sparkling water to your favorite wine, and voila! For the best results, opt for light-bodied, fruit-forward wines.

Recommended wines for spritzers:

  • White wines: Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Albariño, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Red wines: Pinot Noir, Grenache, Nebbiolo, Lambrusco

Vermouth Cocktails: Fortified Wine Creations

Vermouth, a key ingredient in many classic cocktails, is a fortified wine with added distilled spirits (usually brandy). This process increases its alcohol content and adds complexity to its flavor profile.

Manhattan: The New York Classic

The Manhattan, originating in NYC in 1880, was once hailed as the world's most popular cocktail. Its timeless recipe calls for:

  • 2 parts whiskey
  • 1 part sweet vermouth
  • A dash of bitters

This sophisticated cocktail is best enjoyed when the weather turns cooler.

Negroni: The Italian Gentleman's Drink

Created in 1919 by Count Camillo Negroni in Florence, Italy, the Negroni is a variation of the Milano-Torino cocktail. The classic recipe calls for equal parts gin, Campari, and vermouth.

For a trendy twist, try the Negroni Sbagliato:

  • Swap the gin for Prosecco
  • Keep the Campari and vermouth ratios the same

Wine-based cocktails offer a delightful way to explore the world of wine beyond the glass. From brunch favorites to evening sophisticates, there's a wine cocktail for every occasion and palate.

Ready to embark on your wine cocktail adventure? Visit Harvest Wine Shop in San Diego! We offer an extensive selection of wines perfect for crafting these delicious cocktails. Can't make it to the shop? No problem! We offer convenient shipping throughout San Diego.

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