For the summer months many of us really want our drinks to be icy cold and revitalising with a touch of sweetness, but without being sickly sweet. Wine can be the base for a variety of interesting and refreshing cocktails.
There are many creative ways to diversify your wine drinking experience, rather than just pouring it straight from the bottle to the glass. Yes – it is OK. You can play around with, and even have fun with, wine – there are no rules!
Most of us have enjoyed a glass of Sangria at a Spanish restaurant or at a party where the red wine has been flavoured with fresh fruit and juice, a little brandy, a cinnamon stick, lemonade/soda water or ginger ale – served in a lovely big jug – it looks like a party in a jug and tastes delicious! Sangria is a wonderful party drink, but just be careful, as unsuspecting non-drinkers might not be aware that something that tastes so delicious is actually alcoholic.
Champagne cocktails come in all sorts of flavours, so just go with whatever flavours you like. For me, a dash of pomegranate syrup and a sprinkling of fresh pomegranate seeds adds a lovely twist to the pre-dinner glass of bubbles. Lychee syrup is another favourite for Champagne cocktails; it is such a clean, light, fresh flavour … yum! I think any fruit syrup or fresh fruit can make an instant champagne cocktail.
I’m looking forward to many wine cocktails experimenting with a bottle Davidson Plum Royale Aperitif I have been given by my friends at “Rainforest Heart”. Davidson Plum is a wonderful native bush food that can be used in a variety of ways. Just a dash of the Davidson Plum Royale Aperitif to a glass of Sparkling Lily adds a subtle fruity, earthy spice character with a touch of refreshing sweetness … Definitely a drink for further experimenting!
For something a little spicier, muddle a tablespoon of chopped ginger with a teaspoon of sugar syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add some mint, crushed ice and a fruity white wine such as Verdelho, and give it a good shake. The ginger highlights the fruity wine, while adding a little bit of heat – how refreshing is that!
I’m very much into chilling red wine at the moment. I have never really subscribed to the chilling of reds, but have recently discovered many medium bodied reds really deliver the goods when they are chilled on a summery day. I have always enjoyed a chilled Beaujolais or Pinot Noir, but never applied the chill to other reds until recently, and now I am a convert. For a red wine cocktail, add a little lemon-lime mineral water, garnish with a slice of lime, pour over ice, and you have yourself a luscious, citrus, spritzy, cool, red wine cocktail.
Mint is a magic ingredient with all cocktails. Muddle a little apple juice and a few mint leaves in the bottom of a glass, top with Rose and add a little ice – another cool, refreshing combination.
Don’t limit yourself to just pouring wine straight from the bottle – have some fun with it!