Seasonally flavorful cocktails
A glass of white or red wine on an autumn night is a welcome refreshment, whether paired with a meal or as a relaxing solo sip. But wine as the base of a cocktail? That’s a surprisingly delightful combination for afternoons, meals, and friendly get-togethers. Try these five distinctive recipes to start.
Adding a fruity, full-bodied red wine to a margarita transforms a classic summer beverage into a spicier cocktail that's perfect for fall nights on the patio. Get the recipe.
Wine Recommendation: Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
Notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves deepen the cocktail-friendly cherry and blackberry flavors of Josh Cellars’ cabernet. The warming combination complements tequila’s slow burn.
Why use a cocktail shaker?
Shaking a citrusy cocktail such as a margarita helps blend the lime juice with the other ingredients, creating an integrated and harmonious taste. Stir your cocktail when you want the taste of the spirit to shine through, as in a Manhattan.
Refreshingly crisp, like a cool autumn breeze, and delicately sweet, like a bite of an apple, this cocktail gets a subtle kick from fresh slices of ginger and mint leaves. Get the recipe.
Wine Recommendation: Clos du Bois Chardonnay
This medium-bodied chardonnay bursts with ripe apple and pear aromas. With a touch of bright lemon rind flavor notes in each sip, its silky backbone won't overpower the drink.
How to muddle ingredients
Muddling helps blend the flavor of delicate herbs and fruit into the drink. Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker or pint glass and, with a muddler, gently press and twist to release the aromas. Don’t crush the ingredients to a pulp—a few twists are enough.
A wined-up take on the Old Fashioned, this sweetly seasonal cocktail is anything but old-school. Zingy cherries and lemon pair with oaky bourbon and velvety pinot noir for a drink that eases you into the evening. Get the recipe.
Wine Recommendation: Mark West Pinot Noir
With a balanced palate of strawberry, black cherry, and earthy but lush tannins, this oak-aged pinot noir brings out the cocktail’s fruitiness and the bourbon spice.
Go for the garnish
While it’s a classic to perch a lemon slice on the side of the glass and use a cinnamon stick as a stirrer, you also can make a lemon rind twist to float atop the drink. Or grate fresh cinnamon over each glass with a fine-toothed grater.
There's a sangria for all seasons, and this beautifully crimson apple and berry version comes together quickly for fall sipping. Get the recipe.
Wine Recommendation: Bogle Merlot
Bursting with red fruits and finishing with lingering baking spice and mocha flavor notes, merlot’s classic palate perfectly complements and warms up the drink’s fresh blackberries and cranberries.
Why use superfine sugar?
Because it’s much more finely textured than granulated sugar (hence the name), superfine sugar dissolves in cold liquids more quickly than standard sugar. Note that it is not the same as powdered sugar, which contains cornstarch.
Wine hot chocolate isn’t just a grown-up way to drink your dessert. It's an unexpectedly indulgent combination that brings bitter, sweet, and creamy together in one cozy package. Get the recipe.
Wine Recommendation: 14 Hands Cabernet
Classically full-bodied, with jammy currant and cherry flavor notes and a subtle hint of coffee and spice, cabernet sauvignon provides the perfect foil for the slightly tannic notes in cocoa powder and dark chocolate.
Keep It Warm!
If you're not serving your Chocolate-Covered Cabernet immediately, use a small (1 1/2- to 2-quart) slow cooker on the warm setting to keep the drink toasty.
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