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eto's Guide to Cocktails

Monday marks International Cocktail Day and in recognition of this glorious occasion, we have put together some mouth-watering (and in some cases head banging) cocktail ideas. Wine isn’t instantly associated with cocktails, but familiar classics like Sangria, Mimosa and Spritzer remind us that there’s a long history of mixing wine to enhance or complement its flavour. 

We’ve arranged our favourite cocktails into three categories – beginners, immediate and advanced – so whether you’re a cocktail novice or a master mixologist, we’ve got you covered.

Beginners: The Spritzer 

A starter cocktail that requires little more than wine and sparkle. It’s the ideal get-the-job-done drink when you’re hosting a large event, or a brilliant thirst-quencher during the hot summer months – especially during the day – when you want something light and zesty with a lower alcohol content.

 

beginner's guide to wine cocktails

Tinto De Verano

A Spanish staple, Tinto De Verano (which translates as “summer wine”) is a straightforward mix of 1 part soda, and 1 part red wine (preferably Spanish and full-bodied). Garnish with a slice of lime for a splash of colour and citrus acidity. 

Süssgespritzer ("Sweet Splash")

There are many names and varieties of spritzer in the German-speaking parts of Europe but the Süssgespritzer (“sweet splash”) is a classic recipe for a delicious easy-to-make punch. Simply combine equal parts of dry white wine with lemonade over ice, and serve with a slice of lemon.

Macifröccs ("Bear Spritz")

The charmingly named Macifröccs is a Hungarian variation of the white wine spritzer which adds a small amount of raspberry syrup. Pour 2 tablespoons of raspberry syrup into a highball glass, followed by 100ml dry white wine and 200ml sparkling water.; If you want some herbal texture to offset the sweetness, garnish with a rosemary sprig or two.

Intermediate: Bar Cart Upgrades;

Wine and fruit are a natural pairing, and wine cocktails provide a great opportunity to use the liquors that are currently lurking at the back of your drinks’ cupboard. These cocktails bring a little more sophistication to your drink than a simple spritz, without requiring special equipment or extensive preparation.

 

intermediate guide to wine cocktails

Sangria

Sangria is an Iberian classic that you will find in both Spain and Portugal – and is essentially a more refined version of a Tinto De Verano. There are many recipes out there, but here’s our favourite. Pour an orange liqueur (e.g. Cointreau or triple sec) into a jug and muddle it with two whole oranges (sliced crosswise) using a wooden spoon. Pour in a bottle of a light, low tannic red wine, stir, and then chill in the fridge for 1 hour. But also remember that anything goes with Sangria, so you can add more fruit (apples and grapes are common), swap the liqueur for orange juice to pull back on the alcohol, or add bitters if you prefer a more herbaceous note.

Kir

Named after a former mayor of Dijon (Felix Kir), the most famous version of this cocktail is the Kir-Royale which swaps the white wine for Champagne. But the original Kir is a French café-classic aperitif that adds a small amount of fruit liqueur to a dry white wine. To make your own, use 9 parts wine to one part liqueur. While the traditional Kir uses crème de cassis – a blackcurrant liqueur native to Dijon – there are variations with raspberry, peach, and blackberry liqueurs as well.

Bicicletta

An Italian aperitif which shares similarities with the better known-Aperol spritz. The Bicicletta swaps the sparkling wine for a dry white (think pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc) and uses Campari instead of Aperol for a more bittersweet note. Perfect for those who like a bite to their cocktails. To make, add 3 parts white wine to 2 parts Campari, add ice and top up with sparkling water. Garnish with an orange slice.

Advanced: Custom Concoctions

This level is for serious cocktail aficionados, so if you love recreating your favourites from the Savoy or Harry’s bar, read on. These drinks do involve a little more work, but we promise the effort is worth it for the layered depth of flavour and sophistication. These include two bespoke cocktails created for eto by mixologist Kyra Elton (you can read an interview with her here) and a revived classic from 1934.

 

eto's advanced guide to wine cocktails

eto-flower Cooler 

Kyra’s take on the spritzer is an elegant update on the European classic with a fresh floral and distinctly British taste. To make, mix together 20ml of elderflower liqueur with 15ml of Manzanilla sherry, add to a wine glass with ice, top with 50ml of a dry white wine of your choice, and 75ml of soda. Serve garnished with a sprig of baby’s breath.

Claret Punch

Known as both Claret Cooler and Claret Lemonade, there are multiple recipes for this drink dating back to at least 1934 but with roots in the late 19th century. For an updated version, mix 30ml (1oz) of rum with 90ml of good quality dry red wine, the juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of simple syrup, and 2-3 dashes of aromatic bitters. Mix in a shaker with ice, and strain into an old-fashioned glass over fresh ice cubes. Garnish with a lemon round.

Vinogroni

A wine infused twist on the popular Italian classic. Inspired by a negroni, Kyra swaps the sweet vermouth for a dry red wine, which plays well with the bitterness of the Campari and the fruity herbal notes of gin. Imagine a Bicecletta with the training wheels removed, the vino-groni is perfect for those who want a sophisticated and not-too-sweet cocktail. To make your own add 20ml dry gin to 20ml Campari in a mixing glass with ice, stir until the outside of the glass feels cold, strain into a tumbler over ice cubes and top with red wine, mix well. Garnish with an orange peel