Wine Cocktails

Spirits aren’t the only key to crafting a great cocktail.


Wine-based cocktails manage to be both on-trend and classic. But most importantly, they taste delicious—and are popping up on summer drink menus around the country.

For General Manager Justin Thompson and Bar Manager Aric Sandoval of Ondo’s Spanish Tapas Bar (ondostapas. com) in Denver’s Cherry Creek, sangria is absolutely classic and an important part of Spain’s allure. “I learned the basis of our recipes during a long-ago stay in Seville,” says Thompson. Sandoval thinks that Ondo’s special sangrias are popular because they’re cold and refreshing. “They’re also not overly sweet, which can be a problem in the absence of fresh ingredients.”

Sean Kenyon of The Squeaky Bean ( in Denver’s upscale Highlands neighborhood prefers to work his magic with invigorating Prosecco. The Squeaky Spritz combines Lunetta Prosecco, Aperol and Rocky Mountain sparkling water and is garnished
with a Castelveltrano olive. “It’s a huge hit,” says Kenyon, characterizing it as “slightly sweet with a lightly bitter finish.” The Bean also makes a Sherry Cobbler from Tio Pepe Fino and Osborne Pedro Ximénez Sherry. It comes with seasonal berries and a muddled orange slice and is served over shaved ice.

Speaking of fizz, Jeff Segal, owner of Heart Wine Bar ( in San Francisco, says his favorite wine cocktail is The Butcher of Cadiz, a sorcerer’s brew of Sherry, brut Cava and orange bitters. “It’s impeccably balanced by the nuttiness, textural richness and ‘rancio’ qualities of Oloroso,” he says. “It’s important to use a high-quality, dry Sherry such as Sangre y Trabajadero,” advises Segal, which works well with “the bracing acidity and minerality of Cava, and the fruity snap of orange bitters.”

Want to taste some of these delicious concoctions? Try these easy recipes for your next summer soiree:

Iberian Sunset
Courtesy of OAK at Fourteenth

1½ Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon
½ Tawny Port
½ ounces Amer Picon
½ ounces Grand Marnier
2 dashes of Peychaud's bitters
Orange peel for garnish

Place all ingredients into a mixing glass, add ice and stir for about 30 seconds. Strain into chilled Old-Fashioned glass (or rocks glass) with one globe of ice and garnish with an orange peel.

Red Sangria
Courtesy of Ondo’s Spanish Tapas Bar

34 ounces Spanish red wine
1½ ounces Spanish brandy
1½ ounces Spanish orange brandy
1½ ounces gin
1½ ounces rum
½ ounces triple sec
2 ounces simple syrup
Soda water to taste
Fresh fruit, such as orange wedges, apples and cherries

Combine all ingredients into a pitcher and pour into tall glasses with plenty of ice. Top off with soda water and fresh fruit. Serves 4-6.

White Sangria
Courtesy of Ondo’s Spanish Tapas Bar

34 ounces Spanish white wine
1½ ounces Spanish brandy
1½ ounces Spanish Orange Brandy
1½ ounces rum
1½ ounces peach schnapps
½ ounces triple sec
2 ounces simple syrup 
Cinnamon sticks
Brut Cava to taste
Fresh fruit, such as orange wedges, apples and cherries

Combine all ingredients except the Cava into a pitcher and pour into tall glasses with plenty of ice.  Top off with Brut Cava and fresh fruit. Serves 4-6.

The Squeaky Spritz
Courtesy of The Squeaky Bean

4 ounces Lunetta Prosecco
2 ounces Aperol
1 ounce sparkling water
Castelvetrano olive

Combine Prosecco and Aperol in a wine glass. Add ice, top with sparkling water and garnish with a castelvetrano olive.

The Butcher of Cadiz
Courtesy of Heart 

2 ounces Gutierrez Colosia “Sangre y Trabajadero” Oloroso Sherry
German Gilabert Brut Cav, to taste
2 drops of Regan's Orange Bitters No. 6

Pour Sherry into a Mason jar, add Cava to taste and float bitters on top.

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Reader Comments:
May 24, 2011 10:21 pm
 Posted by

Wine is tricky to understand if your a newbie. But reading up on it's history and flavour will help you feel more comfortable when discussing wines. Then the world open up to wine cocktails.I also highly recommend tasting different kinds and seeing what you like and don't like. Note what's different between two bottles and remember your opinions are valid. All those books written on wine are just opinions. I admit trained opinions, but nonetheless, they are opinions. is a complete FREE online guide to becoming a fantastic bartender. But it also dedicates an entire section of wine. wines history, tastes, terms, and even a step by step of how to host a wine tasting in your home.

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