Five Refreshing Wine Cocktails

By: 
A.J. Rathbun
The Witch in White, Cactus Berry and Lord Charles, originally photographed for A.J. Rathbun's book on Wine Cocktails

Though there are still those divisive folks who only want to drink a cocktail or a glass of wine, more people are experimenting with wine in mixed drinks. This is a tastily awesome thing, because wine cocktails tend to be very refreshing numbers that are layered in flavoran ideal kind of combo for the end of July and August, especially as we're celebrating Washington Wine Month and Seattle magazine's 2012 Best Washington Wine Awards. Following are five wine cocktails to help you break the boundaries between the cocktail and wine side of the bar: the first two are ones to have at local bars and the last three are recipes to make at home (the full recipes are from Wine Cocktails: 50 Stylish Sippers That Show Off Your Reds, Whites, and Roses).

TO ORDER AT THE BAR

Spiced Wine Cocktail #2
Served up at Frank's Oyster House & Champagne Parlor, this cocktail mixes red wine, Cherry Heering brandy, Italian liqueur Tuaca, and Jamaican allspice dram into a flavorful and somewhat international mélange. While the name may be fairly nondescript, the drink itself is more than memorable.  (Ravenna, 2616 NE 55th; 206.525.0220; franksoysterhouse.com)

Art Rock Phase
Turn the inspiration up to eleven with this Knee High Stocking Company mixture. The mingling of vodka, lemon, orange, agave, and red wine provides plenty of fruity goodness with a kick and a burst of a more serious demeanor. It’s one to have while reminiscing about, but not dwelling on, the past. (Capitol Hill, 1356 E Olive Way; 206.979.7049; kneehighstocking.com)

TO MIX AT HOME

Cactus Berry
This cousin to the Margarita is best served on a sunny day accompanied by some tortilla chips and spicy salsa (and friends, of course). To make, fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add 1-1/2 ounces Merlot, 1-1/2 ounces white tequila, 3/4 ounce Cointreau, and 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lime slice.

Witch in White
Make sure your Pinot Grigio is chilled and get ready for dreams of summering in Italy when having this bewitching drink. To make add 1-1/2 ounces Strega and 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice to a white wine glass. Stir just a touch. Fill the glass almost to the rim with chilled Italian Pinot Grigio. Stir again briefly and garnish with a mint sprig.

Lord Charles
A classic for those hotter days when you’re feeling regal, but also a smidge sweaty. To make, fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add 2 ounces Malbec, 1 ounce simple syrup, 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1 ounce dry sherry. Shake well. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mix into the glass and then fill the glass with chilled club soda, almost to the rim. Twist a lemon twist over the glass and drop it in. Stir briefly with a scepter.

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