Once upon a time, the wine cooler—a pour of Chablis from the jug, topped off with fizzy water—was the least sophisticated drink at the party. But the wine cooler has been cocktailized, with wine that’s used as a sophisticated base for balanced and interesting drinks. Here are 9 wine cooler recipes we’re thirsty for.
Needless to say, they’re great summer sippers, and most are simple enough to be made on a picnic blanket or at the beach, but all are welcome additions to any backyard BBQ. Banish all thoughts of Bartles & Jaymes, and all fuzzy, soft-focus notions of ’80s nostalgia too. These wine-based drinks are sophisticated (but not too sophisticated to have a good time) and super refreshing.
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A light, crisp wine cocktail perfect for summer, with white wine, Cointreau, lemon, and soda. You’ll feel like you’re at the beach, even if you’re actually just on your fire escape. Get our Crimean Cocktail recipe.
Similar to a Spritzer or a wine cooler, this Iberian cocktail is very refreshing. La Casera is the Spaniards’ preferred brand of soda mixer, but Sprite or 7UP is a fine substitute. Incidentally, it’s a great camping cocktail too. Get our Tinto de Verano recipe.
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If you do take these outside, consider bringing along unbreakable and nearly weightless silicone glasses.
Usually a bottle of wine is a welcome gift, but if an oaky Chardonnay is not your wine of choice, turn it into a refreshing cocktail. Just mix it with some Aperol, orange bitters, and a lemon twist and serve it over ice. Get our Chardonnay Cover-Up recipe.
An excellent way to use fresh raspberries, this drink looks fruity and delicate but still has a nice kick of gin. Try it at brunch with lemon ricotta pancakes, or for an afternoon cocktail poolside. Get our Raspberry Cocktail recipe.
This combination of sparkling wine and strawberries may look girly and fruity, but after one glass you’ll understand why it’s called punch. Get our Femme Fatale Punch recipe.
Bubbly Lambrusco adds a little sparkle to classic sangría. With a hit of gin, this cocktail is strong but remains balanced. Remember to be delicate when stirring it or you’ll kill the bubbles! Get Aziza’s Lambrusco Sangria recipe.
Courtesy of The Little Owl (“Le Petit Hibou” in French), this combo of Pinot Blanc, Lillet Blanc, and apple juce is unexpectedly delicious, either at dinner or on its own. Get the Le Petit Hibou Wine Cocktail recipe.