Can wine cocktails help to drink less? - I Blame The Wine
wine cocktails - mulled wine, champagne cocktails

Can wine cocktails help to drink less?

Could wine cocktails be an answer how to drink well but less?

As wine enthusiasts we are usually only concerned with the quality of the product that we are pouring from each bottle that we purchase or taste. Would you want to mix your favourite vino with anything? It can sound like a crime against humanity, right?
Well there are few ways to mix wines with other ingredients; some more successful than others and some bordering on the bizarre.
We take Jamie Oliver’s mulled wine recipe for a spin and also explore if drinking wine cocktails enable us to have our favourite drink in a healthier manner and could we benefit from diluting the main ingredient to make the alcohol contents weaker?

Healthier wine drinks

We have compiled a few simple ways how to make wine drinking a bit healthier by the means of decreasing alcohol intake and potentially the amount of calories while enjoying the delights of your favourite beverage.

White and Red wine spritzers

white and red wine spritzersThere are many great things about a simple white wine spritzer, as well as being a light and refreshing drink, the fact that soda and ice is used to enhance the pleasure of the wine, these mixers have no flavour so the full flavour of the wine can still be enjoyed in its natural form.
The dilution of the drink will bring a refreshing, sparkling fizz to the experience. Also you can have more drinks while consuming less alcohol and they will keep you hydrated. For white wine, a slice of lemon can be added, for red wine spritzer, a slice of orange.
For drinking at home, why not get a wine measure so you can regulate how much wine is going into your spritzer. You can make your spritzer with any ratio you like. 1 part wine to 1 part soda, 1 part wine to 2parts soda and so on.
The sparkling nature of this drink suits so well to the festivities, be it Christmas or a party, yet you are not adding any sugars to it and that how they are different from Champagne and other sparkling wines that are not Brut Nature.

Jamie Oliver’s mulled wine recipe

With the spirit of Christmas being shortly upon us, we thought we should have a little pre run of our Christmas bar preparations. We have taken Jamie Oliver’s mulled wine recipe for a test run and discover whether it is indeed a treat it can be.
Mulled wine will always give an instant warm comforting feeling reminiscent of past cozy winters enjoying the fun of Christmas with family and friends, and this recipe is no exception, its like Christmas in a glass says Jamie.
There are many ways to make mulled wine but occasionally you come across a recipe that immediately brings the rich sense of winter and the festive season, this is one of them. With this combination of ingredients and infusion you will have a brew that would even have Scrooge asking for more.
Jamie’s recipe recommends Chianti for the recipe a great choice as it is light and balances well with the spices. We have used Fontodi Chianti Classico 2012 which was reviewed last October. It is a very good wine, so if you want to make a test with the mulled wine recipe, halve the amount and should the mulled wine fail your palate, just have the rest with your Sunday roast or something nice. This mulled wine recipe is easy and simple to follow and takes no time at all before you are feeling the warmth of Christmas cheer.
When it comes to the alcohol content, mulling wine will take away some of the alcohol when heated, especially if taken to boiling point. With this recipe Jamie suggests making a syrup with a portion of the wine by boiling it with the sugar, it needs to be boiled to get hot enough to melt the sugar properly.
The takes a lot of the alcohol out of the wine but in this case it is only a small portion of the wine, when the rest of the wine is added the heat is turned down and the slow, mulling , infusion starts to take place, this method ensures that we will still get some alcohol locked in.
An option, if you wanted to decrease the alcohol content, would be to boil all or a larger portion of the wine with the sugar therefore taking away more of the alcohol.
We made the recipe as it is written, only halving the quantities and it was delicious, the blend of flavours was rich and warming with a totally unique fruity spicy flavour.

What about red wine and coke?

What? I hear you cry, is that a typo?
Well, according to Google it is indeed a very popular search term, so we need to cover this topic as well. It is a very strange idea and even stranger is that people across the world are currently indulging on this, what could be considered a very bizarre concoction.
In fact this drink has been around for a while. With it’s origins said to be in Spain, kalimotxo as it is known has taken hold in the Basque, Eastern European countries, Germany, Africa and many other Hispanic countries as quite the norm.
There are many variations of the cocktail but the basic recipe would be equal parts of red wine and cola poured over ice. The addition of fruit or even spirits such as Ouzo are known to be used to enhance the flavour.
Like many mixtures that turn into everyday drinks the invention of this one was originally to improve the drinking experience of cheap or bitter wine, also to sweeten or dilute.
It goes against our beliefs of drinking well (better wines) but less, so we will not recommend it – it will only add some extra sugar intake together with consuming wine that has no exciting flavours or has been artificially sweetened (and it still did not work well!)

Do have your own favourite wine cocktail? Is it champagne based?

Party time with Champagne cocktails

With parties and celebrations in mind there is nothing better than sparkling wine to put you in the mood. There are many great sparkling wines available today. Champagne has always had its place bringing cheer to any soiree, along with Cava and Prosecco which has become more popular in recent years.
Great quality can be found in all of these styles of fizz, but the addition of a variety of ingredients can bring a whole new dimension to your drink and your party plans. Also the benefits of making your purchase go further and lowering the potency is good for the pocket and for your health.
One of the best things about sparkling wine cocktails is that you don’t have to buy a bottle from the upper end of their price range to create something delicious.
The popularity of sparkling wines has been around since its invention in the 17th century, then the more elaborate, interesting and stylish mixes being made popular in and around the 1920s.
A great party idea to get you guests mingling and chatting would be to make a champagne punch and serve it in a nice large glass bowl with a ladle so people can help themselves.
Delicious additions to this as well as the sparkling wine can be, cranberry juice, lemonade and soda as well as fruits and spices.

Sparkling wine cocktails recipes

There are a variety of names, ideas and recipes to look out for, we have listed a few classic ones here.
Champagne cocktail: add a few drops of bitters to a sugar lump at the bottom of a champagne flute before pouring the sparkling wine in.
For Bellini make it with the addition of peach puree.
For Kir Royal: make it with a small amount of crème de cassis poured slowly down through the middle of the Champagne so it sits neatly in the bottom of the flute. As a non alcoholic alternative you could use blackcurrant cordial.
For the sister of the Kir Royal is the Kir, make it with white wine instead of sparkling wine or Champagne. The name comes from the priest Canon Felix Kir from Burgundy, France who was a hero in the resistance during the second world war. He invented the drink my mixing two of his favourite local ingredients, the Algiot grape wine and the blackcurrant crème de cassis.

New Exciting Wine Mixology

There are many classic and traditional wine cocktail recipes enjoyed by everyone but there seems to be a new breed of experts in the bar industry who are really mixing it up.
As generations go by more and more people are looking for something new, healthy and often lower in alcohol and the mixologists are looking for a fresh new take on ideas that they know already work.
Classic drinks are being modernised with ingredients like pomegranate juice, ginger syrup and peach iced tea. The wines that are being promoted with these drinks are also some of the latest low alcohol wines being produced today. The bitter sweet qualities of Chardonnay, Riesling and Prosecco are all being expertly blended and finely balanced with the addition of fruit, syrups, herbs, spices and the odd dash of liqueurs and spirits[1].

Wine Cocktails: the verdict

wine cocktails - mulled wine, champagne cocktailsRegardless how do you like your wine it is true that there are many variations of what to mix with it. Different occasions can bring ideas about different taste combinations and styles to enhance the pleasure and give you a multitude of options. These options can bring healthier ways to enjoy wine (be it sparkling wine like Cava, Prosecco or Champagne; or in a form of a spritzer) for a healthy and happy wine lifestyle.
You may also want to have a look at buying some cocktail bar mixing equipment, there are so many ways of getting it done – i.e. shaken and stirred.
Once you have discovered the basic or classic ways of mixing with wine you could start to experiment for yourself, everyone has different tastes but if you take your experimenting step by step you may well become a confident mixologist of the fruits of the vine.

For more ideas how to drink well but less please see our recent article.

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