While we might typically associate red wine with autumn or winter evenings by the fire, this sweet, rich drink doesn’t have to be reserved for cooler weather. In fact, red wine can be a lot more versatile than you may think, and it might just be the refreshing summer tipple you’ve been looking for.
Here to serve up a shot of inspiration for the warmer months, bespoke gift hamper company Bottled & Boxed have shared some of their favourite ways to enjoy red wine. From innovative ingredients to a twist on a classic, here are three recipes you won’t want to miss out on this summer.
If you’re a fan of Sangria, the classic red wine concoction from Spain, then you’ll know just how perfect this fruit-infused cocktail is for sunny summer afternoons. However, if you want to add a twist to this iconic recipe and make it even more refreshing, why not turn it into your very own elevated snow cone? Granita (or shaved ice) is a semi-frozen Italian dessert originating from Sicily, meaning this recipe combines the best that the sun-kissed Mediterranean has to offer, all based around your favourite full-bodied red wine.
Ingredients (serves 6)
· 120ml of freshly squeezed orange juice
· 120ml of cup pomegranate juice
· 180ml of water
· 220g of sugar
· 10 fresh blackberries
· 2 cinnamon sticks, more for garnishing
· 480ml of full-bodied red wine, like a rioja, shiraz, malbec, or cabernet sauvignon
To make your sangria mix, combine the sugar and water in a large pot and heat on low. Once the sugar is all dissolved, add in the pomegranate juice, orange juice, blackberries, and cinnamon sticks. Bring this to a slight boil, then simmer it on low heat so that the ingredients infuse together (around 15 minutes, or until the blackberries lose their colour).
Then, remove the blackberries, pour in the wine, and simmer for another five minutes. Remember to remove the cinnamon sticks before pouring this mixture into a deep container, such as a metal loaf pan, and freeze overnight. The next day, use a fork to shave the frozen sangria and serve your boozy refreshments in a paper snow cone, garnishing with a cinnamon stick and a few fresh blackberries.
Margaritas are synonymous with warm summer days spent celebrating with friends, and while variations on this recipe are constantly being devised by adventurous bartenders, you may not know that red wine can make a gorgeous addition to this summertime classic. Known as a Devil’s Margarita, this unexpected combination blends wine and spirit tastefully and creates a gorgeous, vibrant colour contrast. ¡Salud!
Ingredients (makes one Devil’s Margarita)
· 40ml of blanco tequila
· 30ml of freshly squeezed lime juice
· 20ml of simple syrup (1 part water to 1 part sugar)
· 15ml of fruity, medium-bodied red wine such as a merlot, cabernet franc, or tempranillo
Pour the tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice and shake until the container is frosty to the touch. Strain this margarita mixture into a cocktail glass, and then float the red wine on top by slowly pouring it over the back of a bar spoon, so it pools on the surface. This should leave you with a distinctive red layer on top of your light, freshly shaken margarita.
Serve in a margarita glass and garnish with a fresh lime wheel. Remember to skip the salted rim and save this for your regular margarita, as this won’t pair well with the acidity of the wine.
This recipe makes the most of a less popular yet equally delicious Italian red, Lambrusco, which is a lighter, sparkling variety that’s perfect for warm summer days. Often described as somewhere between a French 75 and a mimosa, the Figurati is the ideal tipple if you’re planning to host a boozy brunch, and the recipe is delightfully simple.
Cappelletti is an Italian wine-based liqueur that has a distinctive, bright red colour and bitter flavour, which livens up the sweet Lambrusco. Similarly, the dash of Peychaud’s bitters offers this cocktail notes of aniseed and mint for something refreshingly botanical.
Ingredients (makes one Figurati)
· 120ml of chilled Lambrusco
· 30ml of Cappelletti Aperitivo
· 2 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
To create the Figurati, simply combine the ingredients above in a tall glass flute and serve with a lemon twist on the rim. Give this a gentle mix to combine the ingredients but be careful not to stir too excessively, as this can dull the Lambrusco’s fizz. You might also rub the piece of lemon rind across the rim of the flute before garnishing to give your drink an extra citrusy aroma.
Quote from Bottled & Boxed
“We might associate summer with enjoying lighter spirits, white wine, or sparkling tipples like Champagne or prosecco, but don’t discount that bottle of full-bodied red sitting on your shelf when the weather gets warmer. Red wine can be surprisingly versatile when paired with the right ingredients, so give these recipes a try next time you fancy something sweet and delectable on a sunny afternoon.
“Sangria is a classic red wine cocktail widely enjoyed on holidays abroad, so why not experiment with the array of sangria recipes out there and find one with a fun twist? Don’t be afraid of mixing red wine with other spirits or liqueurs, either: once you’ve found some complementary flavours, get creative and see how you can transform a bottle of red into something refreshing, light, and memorable.”
– Steve King, Managing Director of Bottled & Boxed