Trade Your Favorite Cocktail for a Glass of Wine

This is for you mixed drink lovers out there. We all have our go-to adult beverages, but sometimes it’s good to get a little push out of your comfort zone. We’re here to give you a nudge! Here’s a list of popular classic cocktails, that we used as a jumping-off point to help you explore some local wine varietals. Find your favorite and then take the leap to something new.

A dirty martini is the dream drink for those who like their beverages austere, with a backbone of subtle salinity (depending on how dirty you go). Enter Albariño, a wine grape native to Spain that is typically dry, stony, and bright, with a touch of bitterness and funk. Those notes are balanced by aromas of apricot and peach, and lively citrus flavors.

When you want something chilly, sweet, and fruity, a daiquiri is sure to hit the spot. But so is a glass of Catawba. Choose one in the Pink Catawba style to stay on theme, enjoying the bright berry notes and smooth finish.  To underline the freshness and fruitiness, serve it nice and cold.

The magic of the Manhattan comes via the marriage of intense flavors — spicy rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitter, well, bitters — into a harmonious whole. The same can be said for Petit Verdot, a red wine with a striking balance of earthiness and jammy fruit. When you add in the powerful herbaceous aromas of lavender, sage, and violet, you get even closer to the complexity of a Manhattan. And, of course, they both sport a hint of cherry, though one is literal and the other is simply a tasting note.

The botanical flavors of a good gin — always juniper, often citrus peel and other spices — are what really make this simple cocktail sing. The concoction is bracing and bright, perfect for a late summer evening. Those two adjectives could easily be applied to Grüner Veltliner, a dry, acidic white wine that wins fans with its notes of citrus, white pepper, and peach.

A Margarita is a winning collaboration between sugar and citrus. Many off-dry wines play the same game. If you often reach for a margarita during your happy hour hangs, try Cayuga instead. Wines made from his hybrid grape are refreshing and acidic, with notes of lemon and grapefruit.

Negronis, the Italian classic, are not for the faint of heart. The powerful hit of bitterness from Campari, a brightly colored apéritif, is mellowed by herbaceous gin and sweet vermouth — but only a bit. When it comes to Noiret, that powerhouse note is not bitterness but punchy black pepper. Here, the spiciness is mellowed by red fruit flavors and balanced tannins — but only a bit.

If you’re looking for some tropical verve to brighten up a dreary day, a piña colada certainly does the trick. It’s hard to resist the blend (literally) of pineapple, coconut, and rum. But did you know that you can also find those island fruit flavors in some white wines? Vignole is beloved for its aromas of pineapple, peach, and orange blossom. If you have a sweet tooth, you can look for a bottle made in an ice or dessert wine style, a classic option for this aromatic white.

Are you a beer drinker? Check out this story we did on subbing wine for your preferred brews.