- First, not all summertime wine cocktails have to be spritzers. Sure, a little fizz is fun, but sometimes you might be in the mood for something a little more mellow.
- Second, the best cocktails for day drinking are low-ABV.
Why? You’ve got the whole night ahead of you. What’s the rush? When it comes to enjoying an afternoon cocktail, we like to follow the example of the Italians and the Spanish, and slow things down with a low-alcohol aperitivo. If you’re looking to skip the hard stuff, check out these low-ABV cocktails for your next picnic or day at the beach. We’ve got you covered whether you like red, white, rosé, or sparkling wine.
Top Wine Cocktails For Summer
Strawberry Watermelon Frosé
Why limit yourself to rosé when you can have frosé – a frozen rosé slushie? We especially love this recipe for Watermelon Frosé. Simply pour a bottle of rosé into a container and freeze it for at least six hours. Blend the frozen rosé with watermelon juice, agave nectar, lime juice, blood orange liqueur (optional), and a handful of fresh or frozen strawberries. Mix and enjoy. Garnish: Fresh strawberries and watermelon slices.
White Wine Mojito
Love mojitos? The White Wine Mojito is the perfect way to get that fresh muddled mint without the rum. First, grab a light-bodied white wine like Sauvignon Blanc. Muddle fresh mint leaves with a couple of lime wedges. Add the wine, club soda, and ice, and stir. Garish: Fresh slices of lime.
Does a Bear…?
Red wine lovers need to try this zippy experimental cocktail, called Does a Bear…? You’ll need a shaker full of ice, honey liqueur, vinegar, lemon juice, and simple syrup. After you shake those up, strain the shaker contents into a glass. Then fill it up with some club soda and Zinfandel. Garnish: A slice of lemon.
Moscato Ginger Iced Tea
If you’re a fan of sweet tea, here’s a grown-up version of your favorite summertime drink. Moscato Ginger Iced Tea calls for homemade ginger syrup, fresh brewed iced tea, and, of course, Moscato. To make the syrup, bring equal parts sugar and water to a boil on the stove. When the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat, and add fresh ginger. When the syrup cools down, strain it and add it to a pitcher with the iced tea. Allow the sweet tea to chill in the fridge, then add the Moscato. Garnish: Candied ginger.
Do you ever skip dessert so you can enjoy dessert-in-a-glass? If your answer is “hard yes,” check out the Sherry Cobbler. Muddle some oranges together with ½ oz simple syrup. Then add sherry and ice, and shake. Garnish: Fresh mint and a lemon wheel.
If you’ve been to Spain, or if you’re from the south, you might already be familiar with this red wine cocktail. The Kalimotxo (pronounced cali-MO-cho) originated in Basque country, and features a dry red wine like Tempranillo and Coca Cola. We like to add some fresh fruit to the recipe. Blend some pitted cherries with red wine, then strain the mixture into a glass. Add a couple ounces of fresh lemon juice, coke, and ice. Garnish: Fresh cherries.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention sangria. Don’t worry. We didn’t forget about it. We simply couldn’t choose one single type of sangria, so we’re giving you our top three.
Strawberry Orange Basil Sangria
Nothing says summer like fresh produce you can grow in your garden, and this make-ahead sangria features both fresh fruit and fresh herbs. First combine the aromatics – strawberries, orange slices, lime slices, and basil – in a pitcher. Then add a bottle of Chardonnay or your favorite white wine. Allow the pitcher to chill in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to serve, add a little sparkling water or soda to the pitcher and stir.
Stone Fruit Sangria
Stone Fruit Sangria features a blend of summer stone fruit – aka peaches, plums, and nectarines. First, blend an apricot, a nectarine, a peach, and some fresh-squeezed lemon juice into a puree. Then add a bottle of rosé, elderflower liqueur, vanilla bean seeds, and chopped fruit. Serve with a splash of sparkling water.
Red Wine Sangria
Traditional no-frills Red Wine Sangria goes down perfectly with tapas or on its own. Start with orange juice, sugar, and brandy (optional), and add in some fresh slices of orange, lemon, lime, and apple. Mash the fruit gently with a spoon, then add a dry fruity red wine like Tempranillo.
Here are our top picks for fizzy wine cocktails.
This fruity cocktail features homemade simple syrup, fresh strawberries, and a sparkling wine like Prosecco. First make the simple syrup by boiling equal parts sugar and water. While it’s cooling, muddle strawberries and lemon slices in the bottom of the glass. Add the simple syrup, sparkling wine, and ice. Garnish: A lemon slice.
Cucumber, Lime, & Mint
No drink will keep you cool as a cucumber quite like the Cucumber, Lime, & Mint! It is made with your choice of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. To make this refreshing, not-too-sweet cocktail, muddle together the mint and lime flavors. Next add in the cucumber seltzer water and your choice of wine. Simple and easy! Garnish: Cucumber slices and mint.
Red Wine Spritzer
Simple and bright, a Red Wine Spritzer – made with fresh berries, club soda, and a chillable light-bodied red wine – is a wonderful aperitif to enjoy in the late afternoon. Garnish: Blackberries and raspberries.