—Steve Michener, winemaker, Trio Vintners
Wine Cocktails: 50 Stylish Sippers That Show Off Your Reds, Whites, and Rosesby A.J. Rathbun
There is a long European tradition of classic drinks made with wine, and author A.J. Rathbun believes it’s high time to give the world of wine cocktails its due. With his signature wit and flair, he explores the delicious art of mixing wine cocktails and shows readers how easy it is to enjoy a favorite wine in a whole new way. In four recipe chapters that… See more details below
There is a long European tradition of classic drinks made with wine, and author A.J. Rathbun believes it’s high time to give the world of wine cocktails its due. With his signature wit and flair, he explores the delicious art of mixing wine cocktails and shows readers how easy it is to enjoy a favorite wine in a whole new way. In four recipe chapters that cover reds and rosés, white wines, sparkling wines, and after-dinner treats, Rathbun mixes things up with juice, herbs, liqueurs, spirits, and spices to create such cocktails as the Champagne Bowler, Venetian Spritz, Sake’d Saint, Valencia, and Queen Charlotte. Some recipes are clever twists on well-known cocktails—he adds flavors of vanilla and pear to make a new version of the mimosa, and mixes mint and lime to create a lighter, white-wine cousin of the mojito. Others are brand-new creations destined to become classics in their own right.
With a section on the basics of making wine cocktails, and gorgeous color photos throughout, Wine Cocktails is sure to broaden anyone’s thinking about wine and please even the most skeptical oenophile. These drink recipes offer an easy way to be festive while keeping things on the lighter side. Bottoms up!
Read an Excerpt
Wine Cocktails Basics
I invite you to take a magical journey with me, to a realm many have yet to experience, a wonderful realm occupied by the Frisco, the Sake’d Saint, the Kitty, the Refroidisseur, and many other fantastic imbibibles, a realm where the music is either jumping or slightly subdued (depending on your party mood), a realm where toasting is as common as fresh fruit juice, a realm where wine and liquor live together, a realm known as Wine Cocktails.
Wait, you say, hold on just a minute. Before we go on this "magical journey," I have a simple question: What are wine cocktails, anyway? Well, they are just what they sound like: Wine cocktails are any mixed drink that includes a type of wine as a major ingredient, whether it’s red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, a dessert wine, or one of wine’s more international cousins, such as sake. And, as the drinks are always mixed in some way, that means that there must be something in our wine cocktails besides wine. The list of ingredients accompanying wine is vast, including liquors such as gin and brandy, liqueurs from all over the earth, such as Aperol and Chambord, fresh juice, fresh fruit, herbs, and other traditional mixers like club soda.
Hold on one more sec, though, you say – I thought wine was something consumed on its own. Hasn’t there been a recent wine explosion because people are sipping more wine? Wine is a wide category, and one that is deliciously fun to delve into. I’m not suggesting you should give up enjoying wine by itself (that would be a sacrilege). For that matter, I wouldn’t turn down a nice glass if you offered it to me. And of course, one should always enjoy a higher-end vintage bottle on its own. But one of the lovely aspects of the wine cocktail is that it lets you use, and consume, wine in a wider range of situations, and lets you employ the flavors and notes of different types of wine in different drinks, blending them with other flavors. Of course, one of the other (and maybe more important) aspects of the wine cocktails in this book is that they taste so darn good—and wouldn’t you be sad if you missed out on this due to some allegiance to only consuming wine solo?
To be accurate, wine cocktails have actually been around quite a long time. Champagne and sparkling wines fit into the wine cocktails realm, and the classic Champagne cocktail, with its simply brilliant mix of sugar, Angostura bitters, and the bubbly, has been around at least since the mid 1800s (it’s in Jerry Thomas’s Bar-Tender’s Guide from 1862). While many find this pretty acceptable (due to Sunday-morning Mimosas and the like), many would also be surprised to find out that at the same time, and during the cocktail heyday during the latter part of the last century, there were also many other drinks being made with red and white wine mixed with liquors, liqueurs, and other ingredients, just like the beverages contained in this book.
The question is now for you: Why wouldn’t you slip in a nice wine cocktail at your next gala, backyard lawn-bowling tourney, or candlelit dinner for two? I strongly suggest it (and applaud it, if you invite me to said celebration). More and more people are drinking wine on an everyday basis, as well as learning a bit more about wine and having access to a greater variety of wine. At the same time, cocktail love and culture are back on the rise, and people are enjoying good cocktails and good spirits with their friends more than ever. It’s time to bring these two great trends together in one friendly, tasty place. The realm of wine cocktails is that place.
Meet the Author
A. J. Rathbun is a freelance food and entertaining writer and the author of Champagne Cocktails, Wine Cocktails, Dark Spirits, Luscious Liqueurs, Party Drinks!, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals Award-winning Good Spirits. Rathbun earned his MFA in creative writing from Western Michigan University, and has worked variously as a buyer for Amazon.com, an usher at the Art Institute of Chicago, a rock band roadie, an envelope stuffer, a marketing assistant, the director of the Poetry After Hours program at the Seattle Art Museum, an online editor, a waiter, and of course, a bartender. In addition to his cookbooks, Rathbun is the editor of In Their Cups and the author of Want, two poetry collections. Rathbun has been a guest, talking about drinks, food, entertaining, and kitchen products, on numerous radio shows, including Martha Stewart's Everyday Food satellite radio program and USA Radio, has done interviews with a variety of publications, including the Seattle Times, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Arizona Republic, and has contributed to the magazines Every Day with Rachael Ray and Wine Enthusiast, among others. He is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the Museum of the American Cocktail. He teaches cocktail classes at the cooking school Dish It Up, one of which was recently profiled in the magazine Traditional Homes. Rathbun lives in Seattle, Washington. To learn more about him and his books, and to read his blog, Spiked Punch, and check out a few of his drink-making videos, visit his website at www.ajrathbun.com.
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