7 classic and new age wine cocktails you need to try

World Best Bar

May 07, 2020

7 classic and new age wine cocktails you need to try
For centuries, wine has not only been a solid bar menu staple, but a delicious addition to many cocktail recipes, like Spanish Sangria, or the breakfast favourite, Mimosa. 

Wine is a particularly great ingredient for bartenders, offering flavours that other spirits might not have, with a bouquet of botanicals and complex flavours, not to mention the dry, bitter quality you get from the tannins. With so many rich properties, wine cocktails remain as popular as ever, with mass mainstream appeal thanks to a mega comeback from the 1950s Italian favourite, the Aperol Spritz.

Here, we take a look at our favourite wine cocktails from way back in the past to the present and future.


1. Aperol Spritz
Aperol – soda water – prosecco

Yep, Aperol Spritz may be on trend right now, but it isn’t a new thing. Around since the 1950s in Italy, it was inspired by the Venetian mix of white wine and soda, but with a base of Aperol, a low-alcohol bitter orange liqueur. But it didn’t become the big name it is today until Gruppo Campari bought the Aperol brand in 2003 and launched a huge advertising campaign to bring the drink back to life. And that’s why, wooed by the brand’s clever marketing, we’ve all been going crazy for this refreshing orange spritz.

2. Champagne Cocktail
Sparkling wine – Angostura bitters – sugar cube

One of the oldest cocktails, this drink has been around since the 1860s, yet today it remains just as popular. The first known reference to it comes from Robert Tomes who wrote an ode to the cocktail in his 1885 book on the Panama railroads, “I profess the belief that drinking Champagne cocktails before breakfast, and smoking forty cigarettes daily, to be an immoderate enjoyment of the good things of this world”. However, old accounts of the cocktail like this omit the brandy, which is commonly used in today’s rather boozy version.

3. French 75
Champagne – gin – lemon juice – sugar

The ingredients are said to have such a powerful kick, that it “feels like you’re being blasted by a French 75 mm field gun”. A description that harks back to the drink’s inception during World War I, when it was created in a Parisian cocktail haunt called Harry’s New York Bar.

4. Sherry Flip
Sherry – sugar – raw egg

This boozy sherry cocktail is a less controversial substitute for Christmas eggnog – a rich, frothy drink of fortified wine, sugar and egg, shaken with ice and garnished with a festive grating of nutmeg. The term ‘flip’ has been used since the 1600s to describe a mix of rum, sugar and beer, all cooked at a high heat. But by the 19th century, rum had been replaced with wine. Although various types can be used, the version using dry, walnutty oloroso sherry gets approval in Jerry Thomas’ renowned 1887 mixology book How To Mix Drinks, where he describes it as a “very delicious drink” that “gives strength to delicate people”.


5. Frosé
Rose – strawberries – sugar – lemon juice

This 21st-century tipple has been doing the rounds on Instagram and many a sun-soaked rooftop bar. Rosé wine blends perfectly with the strawberries (the tannins give it a subtly refreshing, dry edge). It might not make the cut in a serious mixology bar, but it sure does hit the spot on a scorching summer’s day.

6. (The new age) French 75
Dry moscato – lemon juice – gin – Minus 8 Verjus – orange flower water – water

London bar Three Sheets does a thoroughly modern take on the classic French 75. The original ingredients – lemon juice, gin, and bubbles – are all still there, but they’ve swapped the Champagne, for dry moscato, and added in sugar syrup, Minus 8 Verjus and orange flower water. The mix is carbonated in-house, then poured back into a specially labelled wine bottle. The drink is characteristic of bar owners Max and Noel Venning’s pre-batched and bottled cocktails, which is currently a huge trend in the cocktail scene. By prepping their French 75 in advance, it’s ready to serve instantly on request.

7. Sherry Ginger Spritz
Sherry – ginger tonic – orange bitters

Tipped to be the next big booze trend, sherry is hot on the heels of gin, which had a huge resurgence a few years back. Bartenders are already using new-age brands like XECO in their cocktails, especially now people’s tastes are shifting more towards drier, bitter drinks. Of course, there are still popular classics like the Bamboo on menus, but we’re seeing some interesting new serves crop up, like the Ginger Spritz at NeverLand bar in London, playing on the crisp, dry notes of the sherry to make a refreshing summer tipple. Expect to see more sherry cocktails like this appearing on menus over the next year or so.

So, due to wine’s wide range of flavours – from light bubbly prosecco to dry and smoky sherry – wine cocktails are hugely diverse. Whether you like it super light, sweet and refreshing or really intense and rich, now that you’ve read our guide, you should know what wine cocktail to order on your next trip to the bar!

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