By Bob Lipinski

When it’s hot outside I’m looking for a beverage that’s light, refreshing, chillable, perhaps somewhat acidic to cleanse my palate, but most of all… it contains alcohol.

I enjoy wine and during hot weather I have found ways to convert that glass of wine into a “wine cooler.” Here are some of my summer coolers.

A spritzer (popular in the 1970s) is a tall drink made with a base of wine (white, red or rosé) and filled with a carbonated mixer (seltzer, tonic water, ginger ale) and sometimes garnished with lemon, lime, orange, a sprig of mint, or even a cherry. Spritzers are served on ice.

One of my favorite wine coolers is a kir. It’s an apéritif drink made with crème de cassis (black currant liqueur) and dry white wine, named after the late mayor of the city of Dijon, France, Canon Félix Kir (1876-1968). Kir was the favorite drink of the mayor from the 1940s until his death in 1968. Originally, Kir was made by mixing Aligoté, a highly acidic white wine from Burgundy with a tablespoon of crème de cassis, served chilled. Nowadays, just about any white wine is used as Aligoté is difficult to find.

To make a kir, pour 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of crème de cassis (black currant liqueuer) into 5 to 6 ounces of a dry white wine, add ice and stir.

There are many variations of this drink: Kir Royale (cassis and champagne), Kir Cardinal (cassis and Beaujolais), Kir Communist (cassis and red wine), and Kir Imperial (raspberry liqueur instead of cassis and champagne).

Kir Royale

An all-time favorite that is making a big comeback is sangría, originally from Spain. Now you can buy pre-made versions or make your own, which is more fun and allows for your creativity.

Sangría is a refreshing apéritif made from a mixture of wine (red, white, or rosé), slices of citrus fruits (lemon, lime, and orange), sugar, and sometimes soda water. To make Sangría, take a bottle of a dry red, white, or rosé wine. Add one lemon, lime, orange, and apple (cored) cut into quarters, then squeezed. To this add 1/4 cup superfine sugar. Mix all ingredients (including the quartered fruit) and refrigerate for several hours. Add ice before serving and top with a Maraschino cherry.

One of favorite ways to keep ice cubes from diluting the wine is to freeze left-over wine (red or white) in ice-cube trays, then seal in plastic bags so you will always have a few cubes on hand for wine coolers. (You can even mix colors.)

Bob Lipinski, the author of 10 books on alcoholic beverages and food, conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.BobLipinski.com OR Bob@BobLipinski.com

 

 

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