Every decent party includes delicious cocktails. Whether they are sweet, fruity, sour, or bitter, they add a tasting experience beyond beer and wine. While wine is not a classical ingredient in cocktails, there are some red wine cocktails you definitely should try.

What Is a Cocktail?

A cocktail is a drink mixed from two or more ingredients. Usually, at least one of these ingredients is an alcoholic beverage, in most cases a distilled liquor such as rum, gin, vodka, or whiskey. Mixers include cola, lemonade, juices, soda water, energy drinks, and other non-alcoholic beverages. Many cocktails also contain fruits as ingredients or garnishments.

Cocktails with wine are rather rare. One reason for that is that wine is a complex beverage itself. Mixing it with other liquids doesn’t make it necessarily better. Especially old wines are, in many cases, too precious to dilute them.

Nevertheless, wine-based cocktails exist, and if properly prepared, they are delicious. Especially on hot summer days, they are fantastic alternatives to pure wine, as they typically are less bold and more refreshing. In this article, you will learn about some of the best red wine cocktails and how to make them.

How to Make a Great Red Wine Cocktail?

To make an excellent cocktail, you need the proper glasses and tools, and, of course, the right ingredients.

The Right Tools to Make Red Wine Cocktails

While you can prepare a few cocktails with just a glass and a spoon for stirring, many require more tools. These are the basics that every cocktail fan should own:

  • Shaker With a Lid: To properly mix ingredients, a shaker with a leak-proof lid is a must-have. Typically, it’s made from stainless steel.
  • Measuring Cups in Different Sizes: You must be able to measure servings as small as a quarter of a liquid ounce. Thus, measuring cups are essential to combine the ingredients correctly. A tablespoon is helpful, too.
  • Mesh Strainer: In some cases, it’s necessary to remove solid parts like ice from the drink after mixing and before serving it. A mesh strainer is the right tool for this purpose. Be aware that the strainer should match glasses with a wide bowl. So a big one is better than a small one, given the mesh is fine enough.
  • Knife and Cutting Board: As fruits are common ingredients (and decorations) for cocktails, you need the proper equipment for slicing or dicing them.

The Right Glasses for Serving Red Wine Cocktails

Besides the proper tools, you also need the right glasses when serving cocktails. While wine glasses are okay for some wine-based cocktails, you need different glasses for others. These are the most common cocktail vessels:

  • Rocks Glass: These stemless glasses have broad, round bases. They are very common for whiskey, vodka, but also water.
  • Long Drink Glass: The long drink glass is significantly taller but has a smaller base than the rocks glass.
  • Martini Glass: A Martini glass is a widely known cocktail glass. You probably have seen James Bond slurping a drink from it in one of the 007 movies. It has a long stem and a wide, cone-shaped bowl.
Rock Glass filled with a Yellow Cocktail

Rocks Glass

Long Drink Glass Filled with a Colorful Drink

Long Drinks Glass

Martini Glass filled with an Orange Cocktail

Martini Glass

  • Coupe Glass: The coupe glass also has a wide bowl. But in contrast to the Martini glass, it’s rounded, and its stem is shorter. Couple glasses are often used to serve Champagne, and some hosts even build pyramids from them.
  • Pitcher: In some cases, it doesn’t make sense to prepare just one serving of a cocktail. To serve a group of guests, a pitcher with a volume of about 1.5 to 2 liters is a better pick.

More Details on Wine Glasses: WINE GLASSES EXPLAINED – THE GLASSWARE GUIDE

The Right Ingredients for Red Wine Cocktails

Finally, you need the right ingredients to make a good cocktail. Follow these rules for the best results:

  • Decent wine is the base for a good cocktail. Don’t go for high-quality wines, though. They’re too precious to be mixed into cocktails, so better enjoy them purely.
  • The same is valid for spirits such as whiskey, rum, or vodka.
  • You can make some ingredients like simple syrup yourself. Usually, they offer a better, more natural flavor than industrial products.
  • Use fresh fruits and freshly squeezed juices whenever possible.
  • Selfmade ice from filtered spring water typically is better than ice you buy in the supermarket.

Red Wine Berry Spritzer

If you’re looking for a bright cocktail for your next garden party, you should try the Red Wine Berry Spritzer. While this fizzy cocktail is low-budget and easy to prepare, it offers refreshing fruit flavors – just right for a hot summer day.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz low-tannin red wine, for instance, Grenache or Pinot Noir
  • 2 oz berry-flavored sparkling water
  • 6 raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries (feel free to combine them)
  • ice cubes

Instructions

For the Red Wine Berry Spritzer, you should use a red wine glass with a big bowl. Here is how to make it:

  1. Crush the berries. Not completely, just enough to split them so that they can release their flavors. Fill them into the glass.
  2. Add ice cubes.
  3. Add the wine.
  4. Top up with the flavored sparkling water.
  5. Stir the drink properly.

Sangria

Sangria is one of the most famous red wine cocktails. In Spain, it’s part of almost every party, and from there, it has made its way around the world. It’s sweet and fruity and not too strong. It takes some time to prepare it properly, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle bold Spanish red wine, for example, Rioja or Ribera del Duero
  • ½ cup brandy or orange liqueur
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons white or brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • 1 apple

Instructions

Typically, Sangria comes in pitchers of 1.5 liters or more. Here are the mixing instructions:

  1. Cut the lemon, the orange, and the apple into dices.
  2. Fill the fruits into the pitcher and crush them.
  3. Add the liqueur and the orange juice. Stir the mixture well.
  4. Top the pitcher up with the wine.
  5. Add the sugar if you think your Sangria needs more sweetness. Stir again.
  6. Add the cinnamon stick.
  7. Put the pitcher into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Serve it on ice or pure.
A Pitcher Filled with Sangria

Sangria

Bishop

Mixing rum and wine doesn’t sound like a standard match, but the Bishop combines these two ingredients deliciously. You can find several different recipes for this red wine cocktail. They all contain wine and rum but vary in sweetness. Our recipe is a classic and straightforward version.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz red Burgundy wine
  • 3 oz Cuban rum
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup
  • ice cubes

Instructions

For the bishop cocktail, you can use a coupe glass or a standard red wine glass. Here are the steps to make it:

  1. Fill all ingredients into a shaker.
  2. Shake it until you can feel that the shaker is getting cold.
  3. Pour the drink into a chilled glass.

Port Melon Cocktail

Melon is a refreshing snack on hot days. And because of its high alcohol volume, Port wine can warm your stomach on cold days. That makes the Port Melon Cocktail an excellent beverage for summer days as well as for winter times.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz Tawny Port wine
  • 1 ½ oz dry white Port wine
  • 1 ½ oz vodka
  • 1 small slice of Charentais melon
  • ice cubes
  • melon cubes for decoration

More Details on Port Wines: PORT WINE – THE COMPLETE GUIDE FOR WINE LOVERS

Instructions

The Port Melon Cocktail should be served in a Martini glass. To prepare it, follow these steps:

  1. Cut a slice from the melon, peel it, and remove the seeds. Puree it in a blender.
  2. Fill the melon puree, the wine, and the vodka into a shaker. Add the ice and shake the mix.
  3. Pour the cocktail into a glass. Leave the remaining ice in the shaker.
  4. Decorate the glass with melon cubes.

1870 Sour

Sour cocktails are not everybody’s thing. And the ingredient list for the 1870 Sour might not contribute to converting skeptics into fans. But even with odd ingredients like egg white, it’s an awesome red wine cocktail that deliciously combines sweet and sour flavors.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz bold red wine, for instance, Zinfandel
  • 2 oz Tennessee whiskey
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • ¾ oz maple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon of blueberry jam
  • crushed ice

Instructions

The best way to serve an 1870 Sour is in a mason jar. Here is how to mix it:

  1. Fill all ingredients except for the wine into a shaker.
  2. Shake it properly to mix the ingredients.
  3. Add the ice and shake again for about 15 seconds.
  4. Pour the mixture into the jar.
  5. Top it with the wine. Make sure to pour it slowly, so it floats on top of the drink.

Kalimotxo

You probably know numerous cocktails that contain Coca-Cola and spirits such as rum, whiskey, or tequila. Mixing Coke with wine is less common, but it does work. One of these cocktails is Kalimotxo from the Basque Country in Spain.

Ingredients

  • 3 oz bold red wine, for example, Rioja
  • 3 oz Coca-Cola (if you worry about the calories, you can use the light or zero version)
  • 1 splash of lemon juice
  • ice cubes
  • 1 lemon slice for decoration

Instructions

You can serve the Kalimotxo in a big red wine glass, a long drink glass, or a rocks glass. Here are the steps to make it:

  1. Fill a couple of ice cubes into the glass.
  2. Pour the wine, the Coke, and the lemon juice into the glass. Stir properly.
  3. Decorate the glass with the lemon slice.
Two Glasses of Kalimotxco

Kalimotxo

Bitter Temptation

For people who love wine and coffee, the Bitter Temptation cocktail might be an exciting experience. With its sweet, bitter, and spicy aromas, it’s quite different from most other cocktails. It might be challenging to find all the ingredients in your local supermarket. But if you manage to get them, it’s worth trying the Bitter Temptation.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz sweet red sparkling wine such as Gragnano or Lambrusco
  • ¾ oz Fernet-Branca, a herbal spirit
  • ½ oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Cocoa
  • 1 oz cold brew coffee
  • ¾ oz vanilla syrup
  • 1 big ice cube

More Details on Sparkling Wines: THE 9 MOST POPULAR TYPES OF SPARKLING WINE

Instructions

A rocks glass is the best option to serve the Bitter Temptation cocktails. Follow these steps to prepare it:

  1. Fill all ingredients except the sparkling wine into the glass.
  2. Add the ice cube and stir to chill the mixture.
  3. Pour the sparkling wine into the glass slowly, so it floats on top.

Devil’s Margarita

The Margarita might be the world’s most popular cocktail. Because of its refreshing citrus flavors, it’s the perfect drink for a garden party or a day by the pool. Besides the classic version, you can find dozens of variations. One of them contains red wine: the Devil’s Margarita.

Ingredients

  • ½ oz full-bodied, dry red wine, for instance, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 ½ oz white tequila
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • 1 lime slice for decoration

Instructions

A glass with a wide bowl is the right pick for a Devil’s Margarita. Use a Martini glass, a Margarita glass, or a similarly shaped cocktail glass. To mix this red wine cocktail, you need to perform these steps:

  1. Fill the tequila, the juice, and the syrup into a shaker, and shake the mixture until it’s well-chilled.
  2. Pour it through a mesh strainer into the glass.
  3. Float the red wine over it.
  4. Decorate the glass with a lime slice.

Dawn Chorus Cocktail

The Dawn Chorus cocktail is another interesting mix of different flavors. It combines Vintage Port’s sweetness with Vermouth’s subtle bitter notes and the citrus aromas of peach liqueur. Sour lemon juice and tart grenadine round up the cocktail.

Ingredients

  • ¾ oz Vintage Port wine
  • ½ oz red Vermouth
  • 1 oz peach liqueur
  • 2 oz cola
  • ¼ oz of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of grenadine
  • crushed ice

More Details on Vermouth: VERMOUTH – FROM MEDICATION TO APERITIF

Instructions

A rocks glass is the best choice to serve the Dawn Chorus cocktail. Here are the mixing instructions:

  1. Fill about half of the glass with crushed ice.
  2. Add all ingredients except the cola into a shaker and mix them properly.
  3. Strain the mixture into the glass.
  4. Top it with cola. Stir the drink.

New York Sour

We’ve already discussed one Sour recipe, and here’s another one, without an egg white: The New York Sour, formerly known as Continental Sour and Southern Whiskey Sour.

It’s less sweet than the 1870 Sour but also incorporates fruity flavors.

Ingredients

  • ½ oz fruity red wine, for instance, Shiraz or Malbec
  • 2 oz rye whiskey (alternatively: bourbon)
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • crushed ice
Glass of New York Sour Cocktail

New York Sour

Instructions

The New York Sour typically comes in a rocks glass. To make it, follow these instructions:

  1. Fill the whiskey, the lemon juice, and the syrup into a shaker.
  2. Add ice cubes. Shake the mixture until the shaker gets frosty.
  3. Fill the glass with fresh ice. Strain the mixture into it.
  4. Add the wine. Gently pour it in, so it floats on top of the drink.

Berry Moscato Lemonade

If you’re looking for a fruit-forward red wine cocktail, the Berry Moscato Lemonade might be the right one. It’s great for family gatherings, garden and pool parties, but also for cozy sit-ins. Depending on how tipsy you want to make your guests, you can alter the amount of wine in the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups sweet Moscato wine
  • 2 oz berry-flavored vodka
  • 3 cups lemonade
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 1 handful of blackberries
  • ice cubes

More Details on Moscato: MOSCATO WINE – THE SWEET ITALIAN ALL-ROUNDER

Instructions

You might already have guessed it from the ingredients list: It’s best to prepare the Berry Moscato Lemonade in a pitcher. Here is how to do it:

  1. Slice the lemons.
  2. Fill the berries into the pitcher and mash them a bit.
  3. Add the wine, the vodka, and the lemonade.
  4. Add the ice cubes and stir the mixture properly.
  5. Put the pitcher into the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Win-Win Mule

In case you’re a regular cocktail drinker, you’ve probably heard of the Moscow Mule before. But do you also know the Win-Win Mule? It’s an interesting crossing between the traditional Mule cocktail and fruity Sangria.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz fruity, medium-bodied red wine such as Merlot
  • ½ oz Maraschino, a bitter cherry liqueur from Croatia
  • ½ oz Crème de Mûre, a French blackberry liqueur
  • ginger beer
  • rosemary for decoration
  • ice cubes

Instructions

A Moscow Mule usually comes in a copper mug. If you have one, it’s perfectly fine to use it for the Win-Win Mule, too. If not, a rocks glass works as well. Here is how to prepare the cocktail:

  1. Fill the glass with ice.
  2. Add the wine and the liqueurs.
  3. Top the mixture with ginger beer.
  4. Decorate the glass with a sprig of rosemary.

The Search and Rescue

The Search and Rescue cocktail is a delicious combination of sweet, bitter, and spicy aromas. It’s also strong in alcohol, so you might not want to drink it on an empty stomach. Try it after dinner on a cozy evening in fall.

Ingredients

  • ¾ oz Ruby Port wine
  • 1 ¼ oz rye whiskey
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • ½ oz Cynar, an Italian bitter liqueur
  • ice cubes

Instructions

Serve the Search and Rescue cocktail in a rocks glass. These are the single steps to make it:

  1. Fill all ingredients into a shaker. Mix them properly until the shaker is frosty.
  2. Pour the drink through a mesh strainer into the glass.

Cabernet Manhattan

The Cabernet Manhattan is a cousin of the famous Manhattan cocktail that’s a little lighter in alcohol. It offers a mix of spicy, bitter, herbal, and slightly sweet aromas. And it’s very easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 oz Cynar
  • 1 oz rye whiskey (alternatively bourbon)
  • 2 splashes of Angostura bitters

Instructions

The Cabernet Manhattan calls for a coupe glass. This is how to make this red wine cocktail:

  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker or a pitcher. Stir them properly.
  2. Strain the drink into the pre-chilled glass.

Red Splash

The Red Splash deliciously combines subtle fruity aromas from Pinot Noir wine with sour citrus flavors and earthy agave notes.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz Pinot Noir
  • 1 ½ oz white tequila
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • ½ oz agave nectar
  • 2 oz grapefruit-flavored soda
  • ice cubes
  • 1 lime slice for decoration

Instructions

Serve the Red Splash in a rocks glass or a long drink glass. Follow these steps to prepare it:

  1. Fill all ingredients into a shaker.
  2. Add ice and shake it until the shaker is frosty.
  3. Strain the cocktail into a glass with fresh ice cubes.
  4. Decorate it with the lime slice.

Final Words

When it comes to great cocktails, red wine might not always be the star of the show. But it can add depth and body to a recipe to create a more sophisticated drinking experience. Now it’s time to grab your shaker and find out which red wine cocktail is your favorite.