WIYG? Twitterspeak for “what’s in your glass?” Summer is upon us and it’s time for lighter, more refreshing thirst-quenchers. So WIYG? I have already posted some background and great recipes for Sangria, and another post on summer white wine suggestions that diverge from the reliable standbys. Now let’s explore the idea of cocktails made with wine. I am already seeing them become a trend with mixologists. These wine concoctions will go great with food, friends, and festivities of all kinds. For those who like to get an early start there is the traditional brunch cocktail the Mimosa, made with champagne (or any sparkling wine you choose) and orange juice, or the Bellini, made with Prosecco and peach nectar. Try variations on these with any fruit juice or nectar you like.
This past spring, on a leisurely drive home from a weekend in Newport (collecting sea glass at Fort Adams Park and visiting mansions that keep up with the Crawleys of Downton Abbey) we decided to stop in Plymouth until the traffic died down. We didn’t go to see the rock (that’s rather disappointing actually). We were looking for some good chowder (and OMG we’d found some of the best we’d ever tasted at Cabby Shack – highly recommend). It was near five on a Sunday and strolling around by the waterfront we saw that the Plymouth Bay Winery was still open. You didn’t think I would just walk past an open winery that crossed my path did you? There was a woman at the tasting bar. We saw that there were two kinds of tastings, one complementary and one that included a souvenir glass. Of course we were going to choose the one with the glass. The man pouring for the woman was Michael Carr, the new owner. We looked around and waited while he finished up with the woman who was there to plan her bachelorette party at the winery. When she left and we sat down Michael gave us his full attention. We were going to be the last tasting of the day. We could have gotten the rush treatment. I’m sure he wanted to close up and get home to his wife Pam, whom he later referred to as the “Doctor” (along with some Austin Powers pinky action at the corner of his mouth) but he absolutely took his time with us and we enjoyed every minute.
For my wine geek friends, connoisseurs of the vinifera grapes that make what are known as fine wines you may not have taken this place too seriously but Michael really provides a great tasting room experience, showcasing his many fruit wines. He has a nice thing going on the waterfront of a small town with a bonafide landmark tourist attraction. We started tasting and talking and Michael told us a little background. I told him I was a wine blogger. He told us about his Playbook crafted with the “Doctor” (remember the Austin Powers pinky action) and then began giving us some flavor combinations to work with. He had made pineapple and limeade ice cubes to go with some of the wines which included Cranberry Bay, made with locally sourced cranberries, and the blush version that was a bit more tart. There was Raspberry Bay which he recommended drizzling over chocolate ice cream or cheesecake. For a cocktail he suggested trying with vodka and pineapple juice which he calls his sexy PBW martini. With the Blueberry Bay he offered us some pineapple ice cubes and it made a great match.
Our favorite was the Blackberry Bay wine. Michael’s suggestion for this was to marinate peaches in the wine to serve as a dessert. For a cocktail he floats the wine on top of a gin and tonic (works just as well with vodka) and calls it a “Billionaire” We have made this drink several times since that visit. Very refreshing.
We were in the winery long after closing talking and tasting. PBW also sells a number of wine infused jams and jellies. We particularly liked the Raspberry Spice jelly which got quite a kick from habanero peppers. Click here for more information on the Plymouth Bay Winery. His wines are offered for sale on the website, but even if you aren’t able to buy PBW’s wines you can usually find a selection of fruit wines in most wine shops. Be creative and make your own flavor combinations.
A classic wine cocktail:
1 oz Campari® bitters
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 twist lemon peel
1 twist orange peel
Pour over ice into a collins glass. Garnish with lemon and orange twists and add club soda.
1 oz Chambord® raspberry liqueur
2 oz dry white wine
1 tbsp frozen strawberries
3 tbsp crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Pour into a champagne coupe, and serve.
Some of their cocktail suggestions:
• Lively Up
Pink Pinot Grigio + Raspberry Liqueur + Sour Mix
• Cherry Cobbler
Pink Moscato + Black Cherry Vodka + Sour Mix
Pink Moscato + Spiced Rum + Cranberry Juice
• Pot of Gold
Pinot Grigio + Orange Liqueur + Lemon Juice
• Love Potion Sangria
Pinot Grigio + Gin + White Grape Juice
• Hemingway’s Hangtime
White Wine + White Rum + Grapefruit Juice
• The Winemaker’s Squeeze
Red Wine + Orange Liqueur + Blood orange soda
Pinot Grigio + Ginger Ale
• Tropical Escape
Chardonnay + Pineapple Juice
• The Valley Breeze
Pink Pinot Grigio + Cranberry Juice
• Mint on Top
White wine + Ginger beer + Lime Juice
• Sauvignon Tsunami
Sauvignon Blanc + Coconut Water
White Wine + Orange Liqueur
• Wine Tai
Red Wine + Zacapa Rum + Orange Liqueur
You get the picture. By the way, for wine cocktails, similar to Sangria, my suggestion is that you do not need to use the good stuff – you know, that special juice you’re saving, aging, or cellaring. These drinks are perfect for those inexpensive, easy drinking, uncomplicated wines that can be found almost anywhere. When the weather turns cold again I’ll post some great cocktails made with red wines, brandies, and bourbon. They’ll warm you from the inside out. So for now go get your summer on and express it your way. Remember to give it a good name while you’re at it.