America is a wine-consuming nation. We drink more wine by volume than any other country. Statistics prove that Americans now get this whole wine culture thing.
Most of us know our merlots from our chardonnays, feel relatively comfortable ordering from a wine list and make selections with ease from our favorite wine shops.
We also know not to pour our wine over ice or order wine and coke. At least we held these truths to be self evident until the appearance of the mixologist on the bar scene.
Sometimes the words “mixologist” and “bartender” are used synonymously. However, it is generally accepted that a bartender tends bar — pulling drafts of beer and mixing traditional drinks. A mixologist, on the other hand, is more creative, inventing drinks like apple pie and strawberry shortcake martinis.
Mixologists have also been known to revamp old classic recipes by adding nontraditional ingredients. They would likely never be caught putting something as mundane as a olive in one of their martinis.
Mixologists are now turning their attention to wine cocktails. Aided especially by the popularity of ubiquitous sweet moscato wines, they are using unusual ingredients to concoct an array of wine-laced drinks.
As summer evenings turn warmer, try shaking up one of the following concoctions to cool down:
Note: Sutterhome, Barefoot and Ecco Domani wines can be found in most grocery outlets but when making these cocktails, if the varietal is correct almost any brand will do.
This easy-to-make, sangria-esque drink originated in the Basque region where the borders of Spain and France meet in the western Pyrenees. Don’t say yuck before trying this. Directions: Mix equal parts cola and cheap red wine. Mix in a pitcher or glass, pour over ice and garnish with a slice of lime or lemon.
You’re a Peach
From Sutter Home Winery, this recipe calls for Sutter Home Moscato, but any moscato will do. Directions: Place a scoop of peach sorbet in a martini glass. Add 3 slices of canned peaches (I used three slices of fresh Chilton County peaches.) Slowly pour 5 ounces of moscato over sorbet. Serve immediately as a dessert, but if serving as a cocktail, allow peach sorbet to slightly melt before adding moscato to make a slushy cocktail.
Also from Sutter Home. Directions: Place a scoop of lemon sorbet into a glass tumbler. Slowly pour 5 ounces of sparkling moscato over sorbet. Garnish with a sprig of mint. This is reminiscent of the lime sherbet and ginger ale punch once the staple of southern wedding libations long before we became a wine-consuming culture.
Dolce (dole-chay) is Italian for sweet. This recipe from Ecco Domani is from its Winetail drink collection. Directions: Muddle/mash 1⁄2 lime with 2 1⁄2 teaspoons of sugar. Add 3 ounces of merlot and shake all ingredients vigorously in a cocktail shaker. Pour over ice and garnish with a wedge of lime.
Barefoot Walk on the Beach
From Barefoot Wines. Directions: Combine 1⁄2 ounce of peach schnapps, 1 ounce pineapple juice and 1 ounce cranberry juice in a tall glass. Top with 3 ounces of Barefoot Bubbly Red Moscato. Add ice. Garnish with peach slices and pineapple chunks.
From Charonge Wine, producer of California white wine with natural orange flavor, available at Tyson Fine Wines and Things in Golden Springs for $9.75. Directions: For this classic drink combine 1 1⁄2 ounces of Charonge, 2 ounces of pear nectar, 1 1⁄2 ounces vodka, a sprig of fresh rosemary and shake with ice in a martini shaker. Serve in a martini glass with a sprig of rosemary.Email Pat Kettles at firstname.lastname@example.org