Why drink a glass of wine plain when you can muddle it into fresh cocktails?

Sipping on wine is a leisurely activity that can be done throughout of the year. Now that it`s time for the winter season to change, rum and brandy will likely be put aside, leaving room to experiment with other tipples. The very versatile wine can be used to spruce up a range of interesting cocktails. 

City-based expert Sameer Uttamsingh explains, “People mostly take to red wine during the cooler months, white wine and sparkling in the summer.” A simple  glass of wine is divine but using wine to make cocktails is an adventure for those who are ambitious. Now, purists may scoff at the idea of a wine cocktail but the Spanish drink sangria or a classic Aperol Spritz and others easily prove otherwise. 

Mid-day Online asked city mixologists to share  delicious cocktail recipes featuring wine. They came up with twists to classics and brand new concoctions, which promise to be a heady addition to your next party or laidback evening indoors. 

Futuristic Colada at Saltt, Karjat
Giving a twist to the classic Pina Colada, Saltt in Karjat innovates by adding a sparkling wine to the cocktail. Chaitanya Manwatkar, VP – Operations, says adding sparkling wine in a shot glass elevates the traditional tropical drink. “The ice shot glass chills the drink and sparkling wine with passion fruit seeds gives that tangy fizzy characteristic to the drink,” adds Manwatkar. 

Bacardi Rum – 45 ml, coconut and vanilla syrup – 22.5 ml, fresh lime – 15 ml, passion fruit puree – 15 ml, strawberry (frozen), sparkling wine in a shot glass. 

1. Mix the rum, coconut and vanilla syrup, fresh lime, passionfruit puree and strawberries. 
2. Muddle them together, shake and double strain in a glass. 
3. In a shot glass, add ice and pour sparkling wine on top. 
4. Place the shot glass in the cocktail glass and enjoy. 

Balsa Belle at Balsa, Lower Parel
The newly-opened Balsa concocts their very own recipe with a mix of blackberry syrup, gin and champagne (sparkling wine) for diners. Sameer Uttamsingh, city-based brand consultant and creative head for the restaurant, says the sparkling wine makes the cocktail light and refreshing. “The classic combination of blackberries and rosemary makes for the most refreshing sparkling wine cocktail. The twist of gin gives this cocktail the depth of flavour one is looking for.”

Blackberry syrup – 30 ml, gin – 15 ml, Chandon champagne – 120 ml. 

Blackberry syrup
Blackberries – 65 gms, water: 250 ml, sugar – 125 ml.

Blackberries – 2 nos, sprig of rosemary. 

For blackberry syrup:
1. In a small saucepan, bring blackberries, water, rosemary and sugar to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the syrup has turned to a bright pink/reddish colour.
3. Remove from heat, drain the berries and allow to cool.
(This can be done well in advance as it stays refrigerated for at least a week) 

1. Prepare the champagne glass by adding gin and blackberry syrup.
2. Fill the rest of the glass with champagne and top it up with two blackberries.
3. Garnish with a sprig of thyme. 

The Balsa Belle at Balsa and It’s too late to go oo-long at Silly experiment with sparkling wine to make their own boozy concoctions. Photo Courtesy: Balsa/Silly

New York Sour at Mansionz by Living Liquidz, Lower Parel
An innovative twist to a classic Whiskey Sour, the New York Sour from Mansionz by Living Liquidz uses not only whiskey but also red wine. The cocktail makes use of both the alcohols along with lime juice and syrup, which Craig Wedge, head of operations, says keep every mouthful interesting. “Since the red wine has a lighter density, it floats on top and adds a layer to the drink,” he adds.

Rye whiskey or bourbon – 60 ml, freshly squeezed lemon juice – 30 ml, any syrup to taste – 15 ml, dry fruity red wine like Shiraz – 30 ml. 

1. Pour all the ingredients into a glass. 
2. Shake over ice strain in old-fashioned glass. 
3. Float red wine and serve. 

It’s too late to go oo-long at Silly, Khar (West) 
The Khar-based restaurant Silly uses wine to make a potent cocktail, which their mixologist Latesh Kotian has christened ‘It’s too late to go oo-long`. It uses a three-ingredient formula – Earl Grey and Oolong tea-infused liqueur along with an elderflower syrup and sparkling wine. He explains, “With this cocktail, I tried my hands at creating a cocktail to get all three different liquor profiles using a tea infusion, flowery notes using elderflower syrup and crispness from the sparkling wine.” 

Vodka – 20 ml, Earl-grey and chamomile tea infused orange liqueur – 20 ml, Mancino vermouth – 20 ml, Elderflower syrup -5 ml, freshly squeezed lime juice -5 ml, sparkling wine – 120 ml, orchid flower for garnish. 

1. Mix the vodka, tea infused in orange liqueur, vermouth, elderflower syrup, lime and sparkling wine. 
2. Shake it all together and topup the glass. 
3. Serve it in a golden rim flute glass.

At Tresind, Sherine John makes use of red wine with vodka and mixed fruits to make an Albanian-inspired cocktail called Hardi. Photo: Tresind

Hardi by Trèsind Mumbai, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (East) 
Taking inspiration from Albania, Sherine John, corporate beverage manager at Tresind says the restaurant creates a wine cocktail called ‘Hardi’. The drink finds its roots in the Albanian word for wine called ‘hardhi’. The restaurant uses red wine made from Merlot and Sangiovese, which is shaken with vodka and mixed fruits along with other ingredients to produce a chilled cocktail.  
Red wine – 90 ml, Campari – 10 ml, peach schnapps – 10 ml, vodka – 20 ml, lime juice – 15 ml, basil – 2-3 leaves, chunks of fruits (caramelised chunks of pears, apples, plums and watermelon).   

1. Start by caramelising all fruits with castor sugar and vodka.  
2. In shaker, add all fruits and muddle it, tap basil and add it with lime juice.  
3. Then add spirits as mentioned above, shake and double strain it  
4. Serve in red wine glass. 

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