Classic Wine Cocktails for Summer

Classic wine cocktails for summer parties


I’m not really sure if wine cocktails are true cocktails, but these recipes are still ideal for summer fun and entertaining. The Bellini is probably the most famous wine cocktail, though sangria may fight for that honor. Either one can be delightful, and while they may define wine cocktails for many people, there really is a world of recipes to choose from. I tend to prefer my wine straight up, but have been known to make a wicked sangria. One thing I learned long ago after extensive testing (seriously) is that some of the simpler jug wines out there are perfect for making a pitcher of it.  You can catch my recommendations in the recipe, and rest assured that I don’t believe jug wine is always the appropriate choice.

In a Bellini, for example, the quality of the ingredients counts; there are only two, after all, and as they have nothing to conceal their flavors, scrimping here leads to less-than-lustrous results. In many ways making a Bellini is like making a pizza: It’s easy to make, but the results can only be as good as the ingredients.

Want more wine for summer?

Don't miss our features on Strange and Wonderful White Wines, Chardonnays for Every Palate, or Easy-drinking Reds (for a Cheap Drunk). While you're there, stop into the Snooth forums and connect with fellow wine lovers!
A lighter red with bright acid and soft tannins is perfect for Sangria. Rioja has been a go-to wine but you might want to look for something even fruitier, like an inexpensive Grenache. I like to keep my sangria very simple with no brandy or added sugar. Simply pile in the fruit and let it steep overnight to allow the flavors to blend

For each bottle of wine you'll need:

2 medium oranges, washed, halved and thinly sliced
1 large peach or even better 2 nectarines , washed, pitted and diced
1 cup of strawberries, sliced
1 lime washed, halved and thinly sliced

Choose a white wine that is dry and fresh with good acidity, such as a Chenin Blanc, to build your drink mix. Because the wine already has some tropical fruit flavors, work with them and use fruits that will complement its taste.

For each bottle of wine, you’ll need:

1 medium orange, washed, halved and thinly sliced
1 large peach or even better 2 nectarines , washed, pitted and diced
1 mango, peeled, seeded and diced
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced

Combine the wine and fruit in a non-reactive container (glass or plastic -– no metal) and blend well. Put the sangria in the fridge and let it sit overnight.

Taste the sangria just before serving and add sugar if you want more sweetness. I find that the fruits release enough sugar for me, so I like to keep it just the way it is!

If you want to experiment with wine cocktails, Prosecco is a great place to start. The bubbly white wine is the base for some classic like the famous Bellini, a mix of peach nectar and Prosecco, the Poinsettia, where it’s blended with Cointreau and cranberry juice, and my favorite, the Sparkling Americano! Make your own with these recipes.

A Classic Bellini

Place 1 ounce of peach nectar (or fresh peach puree) in the bottom of a chilled Champagne flute. Top with 4 ounces of Prosecco. If you wish, add a drop of raspberry syrup; the classic Bellini included one to give the drink a pink hue. Enjoy — it’s that simple and delicious!

A Poinsettia for All Seasons

In a chilled Champagne flute combine:
1/2 ounce Cointreau (any orange liqueur, such as Triple Sec, will do)
3 ounces Cranberry juice
Fill the glass with Prosecco and garnish with orange zest.

A New Twist on an Old Classic: Sparkling Americano

Fill half a cocktail shaker with crushed ice, then add:
1 ounce of Campari
1 ounce of sweet (red) Vermouth
Shake until chilled and strain into a chilled Champagne flute. Fill the glass with Prosecco and garnish with an orange slice.

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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: LangeTwins
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    117559 24

    Not a cocktail, but we make granitas with our Viognier in the summer - they're killer!

    -Joe Lange

    May 13, 2010 at 4:36 PM

  • Snooth User: Redgrapes
    371228 9

    These recipes sound great! Is it possible to have PDF versions of these cocktail treats?

    May 13, 2010 at 4:51 PM

  • Snooth User: Oriol
    478435 1

    What about the classic "next morning eye opener"? One part freshly squeezed orange juice three parts ice cold Brute Nature Cava from El Panedes.
    Or the old one two tea spoons creme de cassis and fill flute with god Brute nature Cava.
    And the "poorman white"? Half very dry acid white and half "gaseosa"?.


    May 13, 2010 at 5:16 PM

  • Snooth User: zinfandel1
    Hand of Snooth
    154660 1,084

    Any suggestions for wine or wine cocktails for my 4th of July cookout?The food usually consists of hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, chicken breasts in panko bread crumbs, chilli and Kalua baked beans and Italian potato salad.
    It is generally hot and humid on that day and would like something cool and refreshing.

    May 13, 2010 at 5:58 PM

  • Snooth User: gcarl
    95337 3

    For a really popular sangria, try the following:
    for every Liter of white wine (jug chablis is fine), add:
    6-10oz of triple sec (Hiram Walker makes 30 and 60 proof versions, I buy the 60)
    6-10 oz of brandy

    In the refrigerator I usually keep a jar of cut up fresh pineapple which I have covered with 1/2 triple sec & 1/2 brandy. It lasts for many months and is a potent quick garnish addition. Sometimes I add some sliced oranges a day or so before making the sangria.

    I use the same proportions for red sangria, but usually add simple syrup/sugar and cinnamon to taste. If you leave some fruit marinating as described above, a few cinnamon sticks/Liter of wine will add that flavor, but it takes a week or more to really extract the cinnamon flavor.

    I could not count the people who have requested this recipe, which I got years ago from someone else. In the summer, liquor stores around our town periodically run out of Hiram Walker 60 proof triple sec, so I know lots of people are making it.

    It IS POTENT, so smallish (6-8oz max) are in order. I put a warning sign on the 5 gal Igloo cooler from which I serve large groups.

    May 13, 2010 at 7:47 PM

  • Snooth User: chelonya
    392642 1

    A variation to the "white sangria" is the classic "clerico". Instead of chenin blanc a nice and chilled sauvignon blanc can be used. Ad one table spoon of sugar and two table spoons of rhum to sliced oranges (2), peaches (2), white grapes, strawberries (1/4 cup), banana (1), pineapple (1/4 cup) and one apple and let marinate for half an hour in the refrigerator. Ad one bottle of sauvignon blanc, ice cubes, stir well. Triple sec can replace the rhum, and, naturally, the amount of sugar and rhum/triple sec is up to your taste.

    May 14, 2010 at 12:10 PM

  • Snooth User: Rossired
    451720 10

    After living in France I became infatuated with "Orangina"!!! A twist on the Mimosa...we love to have a nice white wine with Orangina. SauvBlanc seems best but I'm curious if Viognier would be a good fit also. YUM.

    May 14, 2010 at 2:22 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 5,302

    Try a white 'sangria' of a more simple nature and you'll be surprised:

    --three or four bottles of Greco di Tufo, Falanghina or other refreshingly dry, acidic white; some effervescence in the wine is not a bad thing, but still is also just fine
    --a dozen or more peaches (white preferable but any will do; as Greg mentioned above nectarines can also be used, but the fruit taste will be stronger) peeled and halved

    Place the peach halves in a pitcher, pour the wine over, keep chilled and let steep for a half a day or more.

    A great summer afternoon or early evening refresher, and after a day or so steeping the peaches can be part of an excellent dessert, fruit salad or even eaten just by themselves, too...

    May 21, 2010 at 7:03 AM

  • Snooth User: semoraes1
    460585 4

    I love the endless possibilities with sangria! To red sangria, I also add sparkling water sometimes. I like perrier best because the carbonation isn't overpowering like some others can be. Very refreshing!

    Jun 09, 2010 at 3:27 PM

  • If in Virginia try Chrysalis' Sarah Patio Red, a white wine masquarating like a red wine. It is 100% Norton with delicious flavors of tart cherry, rasberry and wild strawberries.
    1. Half a bottle of SPR into a pitcher, add equal amount of Orangina soda, slices of tangerines or fruit to your likings. Add cointreu or Meyers Rum to taste (know your guests) and add small ice cubes shortly before serving.

    In Vino Sanitas....or Cheers

    Jun 14, 2010 at 7:37 PM

  • Super easy: Argentinian frizzante wines "New Age" . One is rose, one is white. Pour over ice, squeeze a lime, or an orange, or a splash of cranberry or pomegranate juice, or just plain over ice. Delicious, easy, average wine alcohol content. Very unique and refreshing.

    Jun 01, 2011 at 11:56 PM

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