A Wine Drinker’s Guide to Cocktails

Three different cocktails
Left, center: Photos by Tom Arena / Right: Photo by Aaron Graubart

If you’re a staunch wine drinker, you may not dabble into the world of cocktails too often. But for those looking to change up the routine with something completely different, there’s a mixed drink suited to any type of wine palate.

To make things a bit easier, we’ve put together a list of wines from a variety of flavor and aroma profiles, ranging from Assyrtiko to Cabernet Sauvignon, and matched them with cocktails that offer similar qualities. Find your new favorite below.



The Sazerac cocktail / Photo by Meg Baggott, styling by Dylan Garret
How to Make a Classic Sazerac

Like Cabernet Sauvignon, the Sazerac is a classic. The wine and cocktail are both deep with a complex array of flavors, including a fair amount of oak.

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West Side / Photo by Aaron Graubart
West Side Vodka Cocktail

Light, crisp and citrus-foward, the West Side cocktail, a blend of citrus vodka with freshly squeezed lemon, could appeal to Pinot Grigio drinkers.

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Photo by Tom Arena
Mezcal Margarita

Its smoky, salty and citrus-forward profile, gained in part from the volcanic ash soils of the Greek islands on which its grown, gives Assyrtiko something in common with a New World spirit: mezcal. Fans of this white grape who seek something bright with earthy depth, may enjoy a mezcal margarita.

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Photo by Meg Baggott, styling by Dylan Garret
The Jack Rose Cocktail, a True American Classic

Many Chenin Blanc acolytes gravitate to the grape for its notes of green apple and orchard fruit. If these aromas and flavors are in your wine wheelhouse, you may enjoy this cocktail that showcases applejack, an American apple brandy, as well as fresh lemon for balanced acidity.

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How to Make a Cosmo the Right Way

Don’t scoff. Juicy, light, refreshing and subtle, with bright red-berry notes that can benefit from a bit of chill before sipping? This is the perfect description for a cocktail that’s basically a vodka margarita with a splash of cranberry.

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Photo by Sara Littlejohn / Styling by Dylan Garret
How to Make a Boulevardier

Velvety and ripe, often with a touch of oak, is an apt description of both Merlot and the Boulevardier cocktail. The sweet vermouth can help to reflect some of Merlot’s more plum-forward flavor aspects, while rye whiskey shares the wine’s barrel-aged characteristics. Both also pair well with a range of foods, particularly heartier full-flavored dishes.

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Published on April 3, 2021