Outdoor sipping season is finally upon us, whether you’re lounging on a blanket on the front lawn, sitting on a stoop, opening a beach chair in the driveway, or transforming a tiny patch of patio into the place to be. To celebrate, we’re sharing some of our favorite wine cocktails. While wine NEEDS no embellishment, there’s no harm in mixing it up every once in a while. Literally.
White Wine Spritzer
This is a country club classic for a reason — perfect for a post-exercise refresher on the veranda. (Go ahead and call your square of shady brick a “veranda.” Who’s stopping you?) Combine two parts wine with one part club soda and pour over ice. This is no time for subtlety. You’ll need to choose an assertive, aromatic white with a bit of sweetness to prevent the flavors from becoming too washed out. Try Riesling, Gewurztraminer, or Sauvignon Blanc. In addition, these grapes all boast high acidity, which will brighten things up.
The thing that makes sangria so fun is the customizability. Toss your favorite chopped fruit into a pitcher with a bold, tannic red wine — Lemberger and Cabernet Franc are good options — a splash of orange juice, and a glug of brandy. Some recipes include simple syrup or other sweeteners, but that’s up to personal taste. Serve over a huge cup of ice and be sure to scoop out plenty of wine-soaked fruit.
This is the drink that launched 1 million Instagram flexes, and there’s a reason for that. Boasting a thrilling bright orange hue, an Aperol spritz gets its magic from the interplay of bitterness, sweetness, and effervescence — aka Aperol (an Italian aperitif made with bitter oranges and botanicals), sparkling wine, and club soda. Once you know that formula, feel free to mix up your ingredients, using your favorite PA bubbly, a different exciting liqueur (up the bitterness by using an amaro instead), and even a splash of fresh-squeezed juice or a handful of mint or basil.
Ice Wine & Campari
Here’s another cocktail that is all about balance, but with the dials turned way up. Pour a glass of your favorite late-harvest or ice wine into a glass with a shot of super-bitter Campari. Add ice and stir well. While an Aperol Spritz is a great way to start your evening, this sweet and punchy stunner is delightful when sipped slowly in the fading post-dinner light. If you enjoy this concoction, try a vodka-and-ice-wine cocktail next.
This classic cocktail is a perfect mid-day treat. Top a glass of your favorite cold, dry, white wine with a healthy splash of Chambord or Crème de Cassis, sweet liqueurs made from raspberries and blackcurrants respectively. If you’re looking to make your outdoor brunch feel extra fancy, switch out your white for sparkling and the drink becomes a Kir Royale.