It’s hard keeping up with all the new trends popping up around the country. There are fashion trends, technology trends, investment trends…wait…do you hear that whimpering noise? Oh, that’s your wallet crying. It’s definitely fun being on top of all these new fads, but economically, being in the know can give your bank account quite the blow. Fortunately, when it comes to wine, there is a trend you can adopt that will boost you to the top of the mod crowd without all those fancy new finds or stock brokers. Here is the comeback cocktail giving wine a new name and fresh individuality, from the chicest wine bar to your very own cellar.
Ever since punches, sours, and sugared waters have existed, so did the legendary cocktail. The greatest surge in its popularity, however, came during a dark, dark time in American history: Prohibition. Back in the days of exorbitantly overpriced, practically poisonous liquor, it was quite the mode (and possibly the lifesaver) to water down black market whiskey and gin. These days, there is any number of drinks for each type of liquor. So, where does wine fit into the cocktail story? You may have heard of wine coolers and spritzers, which are tall, cool drinks typically made with white wine and something fizzy. The onomatopoetic word “spritz” is actually German, meaning “spray” or “sprinkle,” making the spritzer a perfect example of American integration: it’s a culture mixer. Make it your own by adding your favorite “spritz,” with sparkling chasers like club soda, tonic water, and even sweet sodas. If you’re craving a sweeter cocktail, consider fusing an off-dry (a.k.a. sweet) Moscato or White Zinfandel with carbonated water and a dash of fruit juice. The wine spritzer is a really unique way to make a drink your own: since there are so many different types of wines and mixers, you could very well invent your own cocktail. Now I don’t normally share my recipe, but I set out to change people’s lives with this blog, and – brace yourselves, winos – your night could get a lot more exciting. Here is my recipe for the Chicago Gold Coast famous (at least in my circle of friends) “Ring-a-ding-ding”:
3 crushed raspberries
3 oz Vouvray wine
A splash (1 oz maximum) of Orangina
Shake the wine, Perrier, and Orangina and pour over crushed raspberries and ice in a white wine glass. Serve before sunset with Frank Sinatra playing. Follow with “first buzz” stories.
If you’re a red wine lover, the spritzer can be adapted à la Hungarian-style fröccs, which is typically a dry, red wine served with sparkling water. Give it a modern twist with crushed blackberries and currants, and maybe a touch of grenadine (or, if you’re really adventurous, try a splash of Campari).
The spritzer is a little-known secret that’s just dying to burst into the wine scene. Aside from a small mention in Meet the Fockers and 30 Rock, there is a lot of potential to be discovered mixing and matching wine and your favorite ingredients. But don’t be surprised if the spritzer revolution comes back with a vengeance soon. In southern France, they’re already serving sparkling, watered-down wine from the tap (the wine alternative to beer), and it’s starting to snowball. Remember, most trends are only cool as long as only a few people know about them. This is your sparkling opportunity to be at the head of this wine trend before it fizzles out.