The idea of wine and whiskey is likely to inspire very different reactions depending on just how much you do or don’t know about the processes that whisky is made with (Outside of the US at least!).
For the uninitiated, this is a flavor combination that’s likely to inspire more than a few raised eyebrows, but one look at the most popular scotch whiskeys will demonstrate that wine and sherry flavors are everywhere!
Using sherry, and sometimes wine, casks is a very common process used to impart flavors of dried fruits, cask spice, and brown sugar sweetness amongst others.
It’s this flavor profile, the combination of cask and distillate, that we can use as a basis for an array of wine and whiskey cocktails, ranging from hallowed classics like the New York sour to a more experimental combination with sea buckthorn.
A Comeback Classic: The New York Sour
The sour is one of the most popular cocktails, and one of the most popular vehicles for whiskey, with many revered variations.
One such is the New York Sour, a cocktail whose origins can be traced back to the 1880s, where it was first pioneered under the name of the Continental Sour and has seen a renaissance in popularity in recent years.
The cocktail itself is a simple float, with the unusual twist of adding red wine for the float element, providing a striking flavor combination and a visually impressive statement.
For the ingredients, we prefer a rye whiskey, as the spicy-sweet notes combine with the fruity flavors of the red wine to create something delicious. Go with whichever Rye is your stock option, and choose a wine with a strong fruity profile and minimal oak influence or tannins.
2 ounces high-quality Rye Whiskey
1-ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup (1 part sugar, 1 part water)
1½ ounces dry red wine
Into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add all of the ingredients aside from the red wine, and shake vigorously
Strain into a glass over ice
Float the red wine by pouring it into the glass slowly over the back of a spoon
One For The Colder Days: Cranberry And Wine Based
This is a cocktail that would be perfect for any winter occasion, but we think it would be sure to go down a storm at a Thanksgiving or Christmas giving, especially with those classic flavors of cranberry and red wine, two things we all can associate with the holidays!
This combination is all about fruit and spice, which is why we’ve opted for rye whiskey and a red wine that offers those classic sweeter stone fruit flavors, to complement the cranberry.
Speaking of the cranberry, this is a special occasion cocktail at its finest, which means no cranberry juice here, instead, you’ll be making a reduction syrup combining the wine and cranberry, and don’t worry, we’ll tell you exactly how in the tips below!
1 1/2 oz rye whiskey
3/4 oz brandy
1/3 oz cranberry red wine reduction syrup
1 dash of your favorite spiced or aromatic bitters
1 dash orange bitters
Make your cranberry reduction and set aside
Add all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously
Pour over a glass with a single large ice cube inside
To make the syrup, combine equal parts cranberry sauce and turbinado sugar with double that amount of red wine, and bring to a boil before simmering for 10 minutes, Once the liquid has reduced, strain into a container to remove any larger pieces of cranberry, and store until ready to use in your cocktails!
Fit For A King: A Whiskey Kir Royale
The kir royale is the epitome of luxury when it comes to cocktails, with a silky combination of creme de cassis and champagne, and we’ve opted to double down on that with the smooth and mellow notes of Tennesse Whiskey, with its famous filtration process.
If there’s nothing else to hand, we see no problem with the classic Jack Daniels, but befitting the luxury, our choice is the more refined and renowned George Dickel or the award-winning Uncle Nearest.
1/2 ounce créme de cassis
1 Tennessee whiskey such as George Dickel or Uncle Nearest
champagne to top
blackberries to garnish
Pour both the whiskey and creme de cassis into the bottom of a fluted champagne glass
Pour a slight layer of champagne on top
Garnish with fresh blackberries
A Tart Sensation: Buckthorn & Bourbon
As much as everyone loves a good classic cocktail, a major part of the joy of cocktails is experimentation and discovery. And often that means bringing in some more niche ingredients to delicious effect, and that’s exactly what we do here with the use of Sea Buckthorn.
Popular amongst the trendiest sections of the culinary world, particularly in sorbets and ice creams, sea buckthorn brings a wonderful sweet and slightly tart flavor, somewhere between mango and stone fruits, that we double down on with the apricot jam, and then really make pop with the chardonnay!
1 tbsp Apricot Jam
1 ½ oz bourbon
¾ oz chardonnay
½ oz Sea Buckthorn Liquer
A dash of Peynaud’s bitters
Mint, to garnish
Dissolve the apricot jam in the chardonnay in a separate glass
Pour into a cocktail shakers with the other ingredients and shake vigorously
Strain into a coupe glass
Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint on the side of the glass