Holiday Wine Cocktails
Holidays are a time for celebrations and entertaining. Entertaining is always so much easier when you can prep in advance and stay out of the kitchen. Having cocktails prepped limits your need to bartender. Here are two cocktail recipes you can make prior to your guests’ arrival. The best thing about these recipes is that wine has been substituted for spirits. Using wine instead of spirits lowers your entertainment cost. Wine cocktails recipes are easy, and inexpensive. Sip, enjoy and repeat. Happy Holidays!
Serves 10- 12 people
2 cups Fresh Cranberries
1 cup Orange Juice
1/3 cup Sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
4 cups Pinot Grigio
¼ cup Grand Marinier©
Orange Slices and fresh Cranberries for garnish
Note: Please do not buy an expense Pinot Grigio. If you want to substitute the Pinot, use a white wine with a medium – high acidity level. Avoid oaky Chardonnary
Serves 10 – 12 people
1 cup Pomegranate seeds
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
1 bottle Sparkling Wine
Rosemary sprigs for garnish
Note: Please do not buy an expense sparkling wine.
Cheers! Toast to the holidays. Enjoy your friends and family.
Red Wine Hot Chocolate
Snow days are fun to try Pinterest recipes you always wanted to try, but never do. Yesterday’s snow day was no exception. There is a red wine hot chocolate recipe that looks so good. You add red wine to creamy hot chocolate. Ummm, chocolate and wine!!! This recipe is my cooking bucket list. A snow day was the perfect day to make a decadent, warm beverage.
The original recipe calls for dark chocolate chunks, red wine and milk. Good right!?! Reading the recipe I anticipated there may be problems. Dark chocolate is a heart healthy candy. This is the chocolate doctors recommend you have daily. It has potent antioxidants similar to red wine. Dark chocolate is bitter and the lest sweet chocolate. This is why it pairs well with red wine, likes with likes. Red wine’s high tannin level puts it on the high end of the bitter scale. The combination is normally a perfect pairing, but not for hot chocolate. Hot chocolate is sweet. The recipe needed sugar. It is too savory. The recipe needs a “Fashion Emergency” makeover. I answered the call of duty.
Here is the recipe makeover:
Snow Day Delight: Red Wine Hot Chocolate
12 oz Milk
6 Tablespoons Hot Chocolate Mix. Use a mix that requires milk.
4 oz Cabernet Sauvignon (to taste)
Whip Cream (Optional)
Chocolate Shavings (Optional)
Hints: This is not a dieter recipe. Recommend using 2% or whole milk.
The Best Glass to Sip Sparkling Wine
Sipping Champagne evokes thoughts of luxury, style and elegance. It is the beverage exclusively served to kings and queens at a moment in history. It is the Maserati of the wine world. Champagne or sparkling wine has always been in a class by itself. It is elite and legendary. Even its glassware has a fabled history. The vintage coupe glass, first Champagne glassware, was rumored to be inspired by French queen Marie Antoinette. The first modern glassware was actually designed in England in the 16th century according to Wikipedia and later made popular by the French in the 1700s. Sparkling wine glassware was to modeled to display its delicate bubbles. As sparkling wine has evolved, so has how people enjoyed sparkling wine. The vessel which sparkling wine is poured into has changed over time. When sipping sparkling wine does the style of glass matter? What is the best glass to sip sparkling wine?
The allure of sparkling wine is the carbonated bubbles. The second fermentation process creates carbonation delight. When sparkling wine is well chilled the carbon dioxide is slowly released creating a symphony of tiny bubbles. You want the perfect glassware to prolong the gentle stream of bubbles. Glass Matters!!! Let us examine the popular glassware.
Coupe is also known as the vintage Champagne glass. It is a saucer design wine glass with a wide bowl and shallow shape. It was popular in the early 20th century. During that time a sweet syrup was added to Champagne making a dessert delight. As Champagne drinkers’ palate moved towards a drier style wine, Champagne dessert lost its fizz. So, did the Coupe. Bubbles quickly disappear in the Coupe glass. The shallow bowl design permits aromas and bubbles to escape quickly due to the large surface area. In English, this means your sparkling wine will go flat very fast. Do not throw away your Coupe glasses if you are nostalgic. You can use these glasses for desserts or cocktails.
Bubbles, bubbles and more bubbles. If bubbles are important to you, you will love the Flute style. The Flute slender bowl design is made to capture the carbonation at the bottom of the glass and the bubbles rapidly rise to the rim of the glass. Fizz, fizz and fizz again. The Flute gets an A++ for fizz, but a C- for capturing flavors and aromas. Its small rim circumference restricts smells to collect and develop. Flavors and aromas are lost as a result. According to wine experts, this is problematic when tasting older wines or complex wines. Older wines need more air space to develop and its flavors to appear in the wine tasting experiences. Isn’t this true for all of us maturing. We need a little more space and time to express ourselves.
The Flute traditional has a long stem for drinkers to hold the glass. Modern or trendy Flutes are stemless. Stay traditional. Sparkling wine is best when it is served well chilled. Chilled sparkling wines are between 41 – 46 degrees Fahrenheit (6 to 7 degrees Celsius). You want to avoid holding the glass by the bowl. Your hand will warm the wine when you hold the glass at the bowl affecting the temperature.
If you are clutching onto your Flutes, refusing to get rid of them and ready to boycott Vino 301’s blog, wait! Here is a compromise. Try a Tulip glass. Tulip glasses are similar to flutes but permits more air space. Tulip glasses have a similar slender base but the bowl gradually increases in width giving it a wider rim. You are able to maintain the wine fizz, while capturing aromas. This style is preferred by more professional wine tasters.
White Wine Glass
There is a movement in the wine world to use classic white wine glasses for sparkling wine tasting. Yes, you heard me correctly, white wine glasses. But what about the sophistication, the elegance, the exclusivity? Sparkling wine is not your everyday Moscato, you say. We hear you. The argument is sparkling wine is more diverse, more complex than it has ever been. It should be treated more like “real” wine. Sparkling wines are extremely complex and need a larger bowl for its aromas to present themselves. The flavors will be accentuated and can breathe in a larger glass like white wine glass. Using a white wine glass will not diminish Champagne’s mystic or character.
Glass matters based on your needs. Select the wine glass for what best suits your desires. Personally, the Tulip glass is my favorite. Do what works for you. Cheers to you!