Wine is so versatile. Alone, it has its own character, hidden flavors and aromas. You could quite literally spend hours tasting different varietals and years. As a mixer, wine brings a new dimension to the traditional cocktail. "Wine Cocktails," by A.J. Rathbun (Harvard Common Press, $12.95), features 50 recipes featuring reds, whites and roses from various points of origin.
The book's recipes are interesting - some using ingredients you might never think to combine, like tequila and merlot (Cactus Berry, page 26). Also appreciated are the author's quirky introductions to each recipe . It's all in good fun and meant to enhance the entertaining experience. So why not play along?
Rose squirt: Fill 2 highball glasses three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add 1 ounce maraschino liqueur and 3 ounces rose to each glass. Stir briefly.
Fill each glass almost to the top with chilled club soda. Stir again, a bit more than briefly. Drop a cherry on top and serve.
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Kitty highball: Fill 4 highball glasses three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add 3 1/2 ounces claret to each glass. Top each with chilled ginger ale, until almost to the top of the glass. Stir 6 times.
Twist a lemon twist, if desired, over each glass and drop it in. Serve immediately.
Witch in white: Put 1 1/2 ounces Strega (an Italian liqueur) and 1/2 ounce orange juice in each of four white wine glasses. Stir just a touch.
Fill each glass almost to the brim with chilled Pinot Grigio. Stir again briefly. Garnish with the mint sprigs and serve.
- Kim Ossi, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
RECIPES EXCERPTED FROM "WINE COCKTAILS," BY A.J. RATHBUN. (C) 2009, USED BY PERMISSION FROM THE HARVARD COMMON PRESS.