By Bob Lipinski
When it’s hot outside I’m looking for a beverage that’s light, refreshing, chillable, perhaps somewhat acidic to cleanse my palate, but most of all … it contains alcohol.
I enjoy wine and during hot weather I have found ways to convert that glass of wine into a “wine cooler.” Here are some of my summer coolers:
A spritzer (popular in the 1970s) is a tall drink made with a base of wine (white, red or rosé) and filled with a carbonated mixer (seltzer, tonic water, ginger ale) and sometimes garnished with lemon, lime, orange, a sprig of mint, or even a cherry. Spritzers are served on ice.
One of my favorite wine coolers is a kir. It’s an apéritif drink made with crème de cassis (black currant liqueur) and dry white wine, named after the late mayor of the city of Dijon, France, Canon Félix Kir (1876-1968). Kir was the favorite drink of the mayor from the 1940s until his death in 1968.
Originally, kir was made by mixing Aligoté, a highly acidic white wine from Burgundy with a tablespoon of crème de cassis, served chilled. Nowadays, just about any white wine used as Aligoté is difficult to find.
To make a kir, pour 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of crème de cassis (black currant liqueur) into 5 to 6 ounces of a dry white wine, add ice and stir.
There are many variations of this drink: Kir Royale, along with Cardinal (cassis and Beaujolais), Kir Communist (cassis and red wine), and Kir Imperial (raspberry liqueur instead of cassis and champagne).
An all-time favorite that is making a big comeback is Sangría, originally from Spain. Now you can buy premade versions or make your own, which is more fun and allows for your creativity.
Sangria is a refreshing apéritif made from a mixture of wine (red, white, or rosé), slices of citrus fruits (lemon, lime, and orange), sugar, and sometimes soda water. To make Sangria, take a bottle of a dry red, white, or rosé wine. Add one lemon, lime, orange, and apple (cored) cut into quarters, then squeezed. To this add 1/4 cup superfine sugar. Mix all ingredients (including the quartered fruit) and refrigerate for several hours. Add ice before serving and top with a Maraschino cherry.
One of my favorite ways to keep ice cubes from diluting the wine is to freeze left-over wine (red or white) in ice cube trays, then seal in plastic bags so you will always have a few cubes on hand for wine coolers. (You can even mix colors.)
Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected].