For good reasons, red wine gets a lot of love. Grape lovers know it’s loaded with antioxidants and resveratrols, anti-aging and super-health compounds which mean that glass of red you enjoy with dinner is actually good for you. As tasty and refined as it is, though, a plain glass of red wine can seem like an incongruous drink of choice for the summer, when tastes tend towards cooler, more refreshing drinks. Here are three cocktails that will take your wintry, warming reds into killer summer refreshments.
Sangria – Sangria is endlessly customizable, delicious, and, best of all, hard to mix badly. The base is simple to make, and you can build on it with any fruit you’d like to add. Start with oranges and lemons at the very least, but consider adding berries, apples, kiwi, grapefruit, and more – it’s hard to go wrong.
1 Bottle of red wine
1 Lemon cut into wedges
1 Orange cut into wedges
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Shot brandy (optional)
2 Cups ginger ale or club soda
Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the lemon and orange into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add sugar and brandy, if using. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale or club soda just before serving.
Kalimotxo – Another specialty from the Iberian peninsula, this Spanish/Basque drink is embarrassingly easy to make and even easier to drink on a hot summer day. The wine plays down the cloying sugar and brings out the spice of the cola. It’s also great way to enjoy a bottle of wine that’s been open for a few days or an inexpensive bottle that you might not want to drink alone. So, yes, this now means that bringing a 6-pack of Coke and a bottle of Two Buck Chuck to a summer picnic just became classy.
Lemon wedge, optional for garnish
Fill a highball glass halfway to two-thirds full with red wine. Top with coke. If using, squeeze lemon and drop in.
Dolce Domani - This sweet, fresh twist on Merlot is a good way to enjoy a wine cocktail without straying too far from the more standard glass of wine.
2½ teaspoons sugar
3 ounces Merlot
Lime twist to garnish
Muddle lime and sugar. Add wine. Pour with ice into a shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into a lowball glass and garnish with a lime twist.
And until Friday, you can enter to win an entire case of Rioja wine, all the better to practice your “winetail”-making this summer. (And you just might have some left over for next fall!)