Triple digits are no great pairing, but that’s no reason to shun wine on the Face of the Sun… aka most of California during this already long and sporadically blazing hot summer season.
Short of dropping ice cubes into your glass of Chardonnay - a practice sure to inspire horrified looks on the faces of your wine savvy friends - there are many ways to beat the heat and keep wine as part of your summer fun.
Remember when these drinks and their red wine cousin, the Wine Cooler, were all the rage back in the ‘80s? It started as a bar craze then suddenly beverage companies were selling them individually packaged in clear beer-shaped bottles. Many were infused with fun flavors like peach and other fruits.
They’ve since fallen out of favor, however, are perfect for the summer heat. Generally, lower in alcohol than light beer, they are an excellent alternative to sip on a hot day. It’s easy to enjoy your own take on this iconic drink and here’s how.
Decide whether you want sugar or not. That was a main difference in the original bar cocktails. The Spritzer was white wine with plain soda, and the Cooler was red wine with 7-Up. Feel free to mix it up and use plain soda with your red wine of choice or vice versa.
If you want to add fruit flavors, modern soda aisles have an abundance of infused soda waters, with and without sugar. While you can probably get away with using almost any flavor with a dry white wine, be more creative when using a fruity white wine or any red wine. Intense flavors in these wines can war with certain fruit flavors.
Adding a bit of fruit juice is also an excellent option from pomegranate to pear to cranberry and everything in between. Just have lots of ice because these beverages are best consumed on the rocks.
A safe bet is to be familiar with your wine of choice and pick soda and juice to enhance those flavors. For example, a hint of berries could make that Syrah pop. Using peach or pineapple infused soda with a tropical Viognier is a great summer cocktail for a Hawaiian theme meal.
Backyard summer party? Take it to the next level and add luscious fresh fruit in a wine punch of your own creation and carry those flavors to the grill. Fruits and veggies on skewers grilled to perfection are one of our modern foodie favorites and meld nicely with our favorite wine traditions.
Bowle, as it is called though out Germany, uses white wine. Beginning on May Day every year, German housewives use whatever fruit is in season, steeping overnight before the addition of an inexpensive sparkling wine the following day. The fruit is what really packs the alcoholic punch in this refreshing summer elixir.
And Sangria? It originally hails from medieval Spain and was introduced to Americans at the 1964 New York World’s Fair where it became an instant hit. Using red wine, this concoction also steeps fruit overnight and finishes with sparkling wine. Many add brandy to their sangria mix making this cocktail a bit lethal on a very hot day!
Party hosts love being the star at their gathering and there are often well honed, time-honored recipes for food and beverage trotted out at any successful party.
So in the words of beloved chef Emeril Lagasse: “Let’s kick this up a notch!” Craveyon wine subscription member Lou Long has a perfect recipe to thwart the summer heat that is both innovative and absolutely delicious.
Taking the best ideas from all the wine cocktail versions, he adds a unique twist that enhances flavor while providing a welcome substitute for a lot of added ice which tends to eventually water down a good wine punch.
Start out with a couple of bottles of Craveyon Black Muscat. Pour each bottle into three large red solo cups and freeze overnight.
Choose overripe summer fruits and steep overnight in your preference of either red or white wine. Lou specifically notes to use well-ripened fruit as he doesn’t add any additional sugar.
When ready to serve simply squeeze the solo cups to plop the frozen wine into your mixture. Pop the cork on an inexpensive bubbly, add to the mix and you are ready to go.
Basically, you are using equal parts of Craveyon Black Muscat, the red or white steeping wine that you use to infuse with the fruit and the sparkling wine. A word of advice: bananas aren’t the best choice!
Now that you have the quintessential summer cocktail, it’s time to plan your own Beat the Triple Digit Heat Summer Party. Turn on the misters, fire up the BBQ and send out invites. Choose a theme and invite guests to bring a creative dish to support your vision. It doesn’t have to be fancy and during the summer, the best parties include well-loved summer favorites with a new twist on potato, cucumber or macaroni salads and tasty dips, spreads and antipasto platters.
On the wine side, Craveyon CloudWines has you covered whether you want red, white or sparkling… and of course that luscious Black Muscat you need to make Lou’s delightful summer cocktail. Join one of the frequent events or come down to our offices on Del Rio in Temecula during normal weekday business hours.
What are you waiting for? Relief from our Face of the Sun heat is just the pop of the cork away.