Summer is the best season to enjoy cool and refreshing drinks, but this does not necessarily mean giving up on wine, be it white or red! Read below to find a few suggestions of wine-based cocktails worth trying this summer!
1. Spritz Veneziano
This refreshing mix of sparkling wine served with ice, bitter and some soda water is with no doubt one of the most popular pre-dinner drinks in northern Italy. Its popularity increased so much over the past decade that “Spritz Veneziano” is now featured in the IBA official cocktail list: the original recipe calls for Prosecco as this was (and still is) a typical drink from the province of Venice, but there are so many interpretations of this drink that you should not hesitate to come up with your own.
You may choose a different bitter (Aperol, Campari, Cynar or Select – the latter being an old-style, authentically Venetian bitter), experiment with various kinds of wine such as Champagne, or… you might try our signature cocktail for summer, “Montemaggio Spritz”, in which our Chianti Classico (3 oz) is combined with 2 ounces of sweet & sour, half ounce of hibiscus syrup and half ounce of fresh lemon, ginger ale, lime, orange and 4 cloves.
For those who instead appreciate sweet and herbal flavors there is something worth checking out in the mountain areas of northern Italy, called Hugo. This original combination of prosecco with lemon balm or elderberry syrup is often served with a bit of fresh mint or a slice of lime for a boost of extra freshness.
2. Bellini & CO
At first sight, the recipe of Bellini is incredibly simple: 2/3 of white sparkling wine and 1/3 of white peach nectar served in a chilled glass. Invented by Cipriani in 1948 and served for the first time at Harry’s Bar in Venice where it won the appraisal of Hemingway himself, thanks to its simplicity and elegance. To recreate a similar experience for yourself and your friends try obtaining some fresh nectar from seasonal white peaches and mix it with a premier quality sparkling white wine such as Prosecco Millesimato: the result is guaranteed.
Women have learned to appreciate several variants of this drink, such as Rossini (the name of a famous Italian composer) where wine is mixed with fresh strawberry juice. If you can lay your hands on a good French sparkling wine, we suggest you go for the Mimosa, which is a famous French cocktail made of ½ champagne and ½ orange juice.
When summer comes red wine lovers can find respite in Sangria! The traditional recipe for this popular drink calls for a young, fruity and preferably tannin-rich red wine to be mixed together with freshly cut seasonal fruits, lemon or orange peels, white sugar and some spices such as cinnamon. Sangria will be at its best if you can guarantee a minimum of two hours between preparation and consumption. During this short timeframe, the fruit pieces will macerate into the wine and the spices will release their flavors in the liquid, granting to your Sangria a uniquely aromatic and fruity taste. This drink is very popular in Spain, Portugal and several Latin American countries, hence the existence of several variants of the traditional recipe. If you ever have the chance try the one called sangria blanca where white wine is substituted for red wine.
4. Red Wine Caipirhinha
If you like red wine but you don’t have seasonal fruit readily available or you cannot afford to wait for two hours to prepare a traditional Sangria at home, here is another viable alternative: red wine caipirinha! If you are looking for a light drink then set for a mix of dry red wine, sugar, lime and ice, with the option of adding some muddled blackberries for the additional flavor. If you are ready for something that packs a punch then you may try adding a touch of cachaça.
5. White Wine Mojito
Recreating world-famous drinks by substituting wine for other spirits like Rhum or Cachaca is a good strategy to discover new and exciting combinations to add a fresh touch to your summer. Let us contribute with a light version of the mojito obtained by mixing together sparkling water and white wine (try a sauvignon or a chardonnay). Add some lime, mint and if you really feel like it, a touch of sugar… don’t forget the ice!
Did you know that there is a champagne-based drink owing its popularity to the famous HBO series Sex and the City? We are talking about none other than the Flirtini, which is described in one episode of the tv series as a cocktail made with 2/5 champagne, 2/5 vodka and 1/5 pineapple juice. You can choose to substitute champagne with a regular sparkling white wine or even try adding Cointreau instead of vodka. Enjoy chilled.
For anyone with access to a freezer and a good blender, these are the most viable alternative to survive the hottest days of summer. The rules are extremely simple: choose some season fruit, wash it, cut it in small chunks and deep-freeze it. When it’s ready, put it in the blender… with a wine of your choice. Pour it in a chilled glass and astonish your friends with your own signature slush.
And what is your favourite wine-based cocktail? Please let us know by leaving a comment in the comments’ box below.