Make Me a Wine Cocktail

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Adding anything to wine is one of those things that doesn’t seem quite right. Europeans, however, have been doing this for centuries (and we all know that Europeans always have the best ideas).

I once spent some time in Paris during a hot summer where I found locals drinking chilled Beaujolais* with a little sparkling water. And in Madrid I’ve found that Tinto de Veranos (see below) are the fizzy summer wine refreshment of choice.

It makes sense. They are light and refreshing and they keep the alcohol in check for an afternoon’s leisurely sipping.

A few of my favorite traditional wine cocktail recipes are listed below – perfect for seeing out the final days of summer.

* A red wine from Burgundy made from the gamay grape


Tinto de Verano – meaning “summer red wine”, this is Spain’s much simpler version of Sangria. You don’t even need to cut fruit.

1 part light red wine (gamay is a good choice)

1 part lemon-lime soda

garnish with lemon

Kalimotxo – an icon of Basque culture in northern Spain. Yep, soda and wine is a legit thing in Spain. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

1 part red wine (really any type will do)

1 part coke


Rebujito – alright, we’re not leaving Spain just yet. This is southern Spain’s slightly more sophistocated cousin of kalimotxo.

1 parts fino or manzanilla sherry (a dry clear sherry, not the sweet stuff your great aunt used to drink)

2 parts lemon-lime soda

garnish with a sprig of mint


Communard – from the Burgundy region of France, this is one of Kir Royale’s step-sisters. It is traditionally made with Beaujolais (any gamay or light red will do).

4 parts Beaujolais

1 part Crème de Cassis

garnish with blackberries

Chill the wine and cassis pre-cocktail so you can serve it chilled, sans ice.


Sbagliato – meaning “mistake” in Italian, this is a variation on the Negroni, made with Italian bubbly wine instead of gin. It was apparently created by mistake. Might not be true but it’s darn good anyway.

4 parts sparkling wine (Prosecco, if you want to go classic)

1 part sweet vermouth

1 part Campari