Even if you raised an intrigued eyebrow instead of instinctively wrinkling your nose, you might think the combo sounds a bit odd, but it actually makes a lot of sense. After all, coffee and wine are both highly aromatic, complex drinks and can share lots of flavor characteristics; the stereotypical image of a professional wine tasting with all the attendant florid descriptions and terms like “varietal” and “finish” jibes perfectly with serious coffee tastings (except they’re called “cuppings”). Wine and coffee are both heavily influenced by terroir, have been consumed by people in all social strata for centuries, and are available on a spectrum from countless cheap low-quality versions to solid middle-of-the-pack stalwarts to astoundingly expensive, rarefied gourmet forms. They can both be considered drugs when distilled to their most potent components (caffeine and alcohol), but are also both proven sources of antioxidants, and alleged to be good for gut health. Still, in the end, you’re drinking them—mostly—for the flavor, right?
Well, cold brewed coffee minimizes acidic, bitter compounds hot water can draw from coffee grounds, and instead develops a smoother brew with richer flavors that are often fruity and even a little akin to chocolate, much like many good reds. Apothic winemaker Deb Juergenson, a fan of both beverages, “realized that many of the characteristics in cold brew coffee and red wine naturally complement each other,” which led her team to experiment with different blends until they found the winning wine. Apothic Brew “brings together red fruit notes and subtle mocha essences of cold brew.” In the past, Apothic also released wine aged in whiskey barrels, and in the words of Christine Jagher, their Director of Marketing, they’ve “always sought to break the mold” to make products that are not only innovative, but also enjoyable, because a drink is only as good as it tastes.
This won’t be the first time red wine and coffee have been combined. Aside from the previously mentioned vino-infused coffee beans, Fun Wine debuted coffee-flavored canned wine in 2014. Much older but less directly similar, there’s the Italian classic cafè corretto (espresso plus grappa, which is brandy made from the grape bits leftover after being pressed for wine), and even the UK’s notorious Buckfast tonic wine (to which the monks who first concocted it may have added coffee for taste, but which is now pumped with caffeine solely for its effects). Although they’re not terribly common, you can dig up contemporary cocktails that combine the two, like this “Sweet Pick-Me-Up” with homemade coffee-infused wine, and “The Gaucho” (a tequila-based drink with coffee bitters and a red wine float). If you prefer a warm tipple, you can find recipes for red wine mochas and red wine lattes too.
But Apothic Brew will be the first red wine to be infused with cold brew in particular, and it’s all about the flavor; you won’t actually get twice the buzz, because the wine will contain less caffeine than a standard cup of decaf. You can enjoy it slightly chilled or at room temperature—preferably from a proper wineglass, although it would be the perfect time to break out one of these mugs:
Apothic Brew is slated for a limited release nationwide on April 1—but it is most certainly no joke.
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