Pinot Grigio Cocktails

Citizens of the Cocktail Nation, let’s not forget about using white wine when crafting those intriguing drinks.

Citizens of the Cocktail Nation, let’s not forget about using white wine when crafting those intriguing drinks.

Back in the bad old days, using wine in a cocktail was considered un-cool. Super sweet spritzers were what your Grandma liked to drink while watching “The Price Is Right”. Yet, the artisan mixology revolution that’s been washing over our great nation has meant a renaissance for classy wine cocktails.

Winetails can be playful twists on classic drinks like the martini. Just serve Pinot Grigio in a chilled martini glass and garnish with a toothpick skewered full of frozen white grapes. Ecco Domani’s Master Mixologist Alex Ott calls that an Ecco-Tini.

One of the hottest trends in the top cocktail bars across the country is punch. Festive punch preparations are a prime platform for easy-drinking whites, especially during the summer months when mixing up a big batch of Sangria Blanco is the perfect excuse for a party.

The original recipe has roots in Spain, but Sangria of all shades has been embraced around the globe. Part of its universal appeal is that the recipe can be so fluid, leaving open the opportunity to showcase the season’s freshest fruits. Ripe peaches up the juicy factor in the heat of summer while winter citrus cuts through the darkest winter gloom.

Bartender Jamie Boudreau, who shakes it up at one of the country’s hottest cocktail lounges, Canon, offers this recipe for Sangria blanc success: Fill a pitcher with a bottle of white wine, 2 ounces of gin, rum, vodka or Pisco and 4 ounces of clear liqueur such as a St. German or a pear liqueur. Add a couple of slices of lemon and lime and several pieces of seasonal fruit like raspberries or blackberries. Let it sit for a couple of hours before serving over ice in wine goblets.

Another beloved classic, the mimosa, can also be fun to re-imagine. Instead of the tried-and-true sparkling wine and OJ, why not explore other juice and white wine combos? The refreshing tropical fruit flavors of DaVinci Pinot Grigio really blossom when adding a splash of guava nectar and floating a little club soda on top. Garnish with a small piece of watermelon and you’ve got a drink worthy of taking to the beach or the backyard barbecue.

The key when experimenting with your own creations is to take a lesson from the pros. Veteran mixologists always taste their drinks before serving, just to make sure it’s balanced. That’s the beauty of starting with a base like Pinot Grigio. It’s already well-balanced, combining lively fruity flavors with the kind of crisp acidity that comes from grapes grown in Northern Italy.