(photo credit: MCT)
Once cocktails were traditional, standard, and the recipes usually came
out of an old book kept under the bar, with stiff pages from having so
many drinks spilt on them over the years.
Today the old-fashioned barman has developed into another animal altogether.
a good one and you have met what is now known as a “mixologist.” These
newwave barmen are like spontaneous chefs. If you arrive at the bar and
say what you are looking for, they will mix you a cocktail fulfilling
your wishes and probably using fresh ingredients available at that
particular moment. To watch the new-style bartender in action is to
enjoy a performance. It makes sitting at the bar totally worthwhile.
As a result of their inventiveness, cocktails are now coming back in.
The key to a successful cocktail is quite simply contrast. The great chef Raymond Blanc writes in his book A Taste of My Life
“If you were to taste the greatest dishes of the world, you would
identify a pattern: the majority of them are based on contrasts.”
This is the key to making cocktails. Blanc goes on to explain that the
best balanced cocktail has three ingredients, which he refers to as the
three S’s. The first S is for strength. This comes from the alcohol or
spirit. The second S is for sour, which comes from a fruit or fruit
juice. The third S refers to sweetness, and this is usually from a
liqueur. These three S’s provide the balance to make a refreshing or
flavorful cocktail, with the desired contrasts to make them interesting.
Wine cocktails come to mind because a refreshing summer wine cocktail
sounds enticing. Many people will frown at the idea of wine cocktails,
as there are enough wines of differing sweetness, flavors and styles to
satisfy most people. However, if you are an amateur mixologist, wine may
be successfully used for the “strength” part of the cocktail.
For those with a prudish attitude to making wine cocktails, remember
wine has been mixed with fruits, spices or honey since the earliest days
of wine drinking in 6000 BCE. They were mixed to add flavor to a drink
that may not have been that tasty without the additions and to act as a
It is certainly sensible to use inexpensive wines, and not the finest
wine you have been keeping for a special occasion! A.J. Rathbun, author
of Wine Cocktails
(The Harvard Common Press), describes a
good summer wine cocktail as one “that cools you down, has a
school’s-out sort of vibe, is light on its feet and less alcoholic than
cocktails enjoyed during the colder winter months.” Exactly! Here are
some cocktail ideas to experiment with involving red, rosé, white and
sparkling wines. If you prefer exact measurements, there are numerous
sources and variations. Just select the recipe that suits you.SANGRIA
This refreshing and delicious fruit-based wine punch has its
roots in Spain. Make a basic syrup using a mixture of water and sugar.
Bring it to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes and cool. Pour a
750-ml. bottle of inexpensive wine like Domaine or Vino Red into a large
punch bowl. If you want a sweeter or lower-alcohol version, use the
Young Selected Carignano as the base wine. Add a glass of brandy. Extra
Fine is ideal. Cut up an orange, lemon and lime and add orange juice and
lime juice. Add ice. Stir well and ladle it into tall glasses.ISRAEL CUP
This is from a 150-year-old recipe called the Bordeaux Cup or
Claret Cup, drunk by the British, which I have renamed. Pour a bottle
of Israeli red wine like Segal, Vino Red or Domaine and some syrup
(prepared as above) into a large pitcher. Add grated lemon rind from and
some cloves, cinnamon and allspice. Stir and dilute to taste with ice
and water. This is best served in wine glasses.ROSE SQUIRT
Fill highball glasses half full with ice cubes. Then pour in
a rosé wine to just over half full. Use Barkan Classic Shiraz Rosé or
Selected Zinfandel Rosé, depending on whether you want the wine to be
dry or semi-dry. Add a small amount of maraschino cherry liqueur and top
up with soda water. Add cherries for garnish.MUSKRAT
Add mint leaves to pineapple juice. Use a mixing glass or a cocktail shaker to “muddle” the mint and juice
or stir well with a wooden spoon. Fill the cocktail shaker half full
with ice and add apricot liqueur. Strain the liquid into white wine
glasses and top up with ice cold Young Selected Moscato or Binyamina
Combine slices of green apple, segments of orange and slices
of kiwi fruit in a mixing glass. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Add ice
cubes, an Emerald Riesling wine (Selected or Barkan Classic), a splash
of Hpnotiq liqueur and orange juice. Stir well and top up with ginger
ale. Use frozen individual grapes as a garnish. Serve in a cocktail
Pour ice-cold, freshly squeezed orange juice through a strainer.
Add to a sparkling wine like Private Collection Brut or Tabor 652. Serve
in champagne flute glasses.Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery.
He regularly writes about wine in international and Israeli