Wine cocktails are all the rage in Europe! From Portugal’s Porto Tonico to Spain’s Tiojito, there’s something for everyone. And sure, while summer is an awesome time to explore these fresh and fizzy wine-based cocktails, there are no rules anymore, right? So let’s take a look at some of the best as we slide into the fall sipping season. You don’t even have to drop big bucks on a plane ticket!
The Tiojito, with Tio Pepe Fino Sherry ($19.99) This Spanish spritz has a great story behind it. During the Feria de Jerez in May (the Festival of Jerez), Andalucians celebrate with flamenco daning, horse parades, local cuisine and of course, Sherry. Jerez is in the thick of the famous “Sherry Triangle, connecting Jerez with Sanlucar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa Maria. I received a sample of Tio Pepe Fino Sherry and a recipe for the famous Tiojito. It is light and refreshing and low alcohol, so you can sip on it all day! Pro tip: I’ve come to love this dry Sherry with food. It is extremely dry, but it’s great with salty, savory foods like ham, cheeses and nuts.
The Tiojito This recipe is easily batched for a crowd, or you can make individual drinks. Combine 1/3 Tio Pepe Sherry with 2/3 Sprite or Seven-Up over ice, and garnish with lemon and lime wheels and a sprig of fresh mint. If you prefer a drier (less sweet style) add 1/2 ounce of fresh lemon juice and 1/2 ounce of fresh lime juice to your drink. You also can skip the lemon-lime soda and use sparkling water for a bone-dry spritzer.
And see that cool white ceramic pitcher? It’s hand-made in Spain, and reminiscent of the white towns of Spain. Plus, the design of the spout keeps the ice inside the pitcher as you pour. Cool!
Porto Tonico with Cockburn’s White Heights White Port ($18.99) I got to visit Cockburn’s while visiting Portugal in May and got a sneak peek at this new Port. They just launched the Tails of the Unexpected line of ports to appeal to a new generation of Port drinkers, and sure enough, when I was at Birch Road Cellar (a BYO social club I belong to), mixing up a few Port cocktails, Holly C. said, “I think of Port as something you sip in the winter by the fire , but it’s fun to spritz it up! Totally works for warmer weather!”
Then I found out the entire range launched this summer in the U.S.!
The Porto Tonico is ubiquitous all over Portugal (I had one a day… at least!) and here’s all you do: fill a stemmed balloon glass, large snifter or tumbler, with ice combine 1/3 Cockburn’s White Heights with 2/3 tonic water. Stir, and garnish with a slice of lemon, lime, sprig of mint and sigh with pleasure.
The Port & Lemon with Cockburn’s Ruby Soho Port ($20) This is a great year-round cocktail – and just look at that rich color! It’s comforting and bright and refreshing all at the same time. And so easy. Fill a large Collins glass (a little taller glass than a high ball glass), with ice and mix 2/5s Cockburn’s Ruby Soho Port and 3/5 soda water. Add a dash of fresh lemon juice and sugar syrup to taste and stir. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a cocktail cherry.
It’s a simple cocktail, but unlike anything else. You’ve got the depth of the ruby port, with blackberries and toffee and a little hint of peppery spice. So good with the soda water and a hit of sweet/sour (sugar syrup, lemon juice).
The Tawny & Ginger with Cockburn’s Tawny Eyes Port ($20) This is a real crowd-pleaser as evidenced by the number of requests I was getting of “Another one of those, please!” (I mean, who doesn’t love ginger beer, right?) Fill a rocks glass with ice and mix 1/3 Cockburn’s Tawny Eyes Port with 2/3 ginger beer. Add a few drops of Angostura Bitters and stir. Garnish with raspberries, blueberries and a sprig of fresh mint. With the honeyed red fruits and hint of vanilla in this port, it is perfection with the spicy ginger beer.
Each bottle has the recipe on the back label, which is a bonus. Why not pour up some Port cocktails this fall? It’s a whole new way to enjoy Port!