Cocktails with Table Wines

by Nick Neely | Photo © BOKA Seattle

Bartenders have mixed wine into cocktails to create barroom staples for countless years. Vermouth, a fortified wine, finds its way into numerous drinks including Manhattans and Martinis. Recently, bartenders began mixing table wines into cocktails creating a drink far more accessible for some than the dry martini. Many bars have yet to experiment with table wines in cocktails, but here are some of few who have.

The Modern (Boise, Idaho) name originally belonged to a boarding house in Nampa, Idaho, during the Great Depression. The Modern, called so because of the modern amenities, such as steam heating, catered to all kinds of passersby, from traveling musicians to businessmen. Sixty years later, the proprietor’s granddaughter renovated a dilapidated guest lodge in Boise and christened it The Modern, a contemporary successor to her grandmother’s estate.

One of their wine cocktails, The New York Sour, dates back even further than their hotel’s name. A classic of Chicago bars in the late 1870’s, the New York Sour lives up to its name using fresh lemon juice and simple syrup. A float of a fullbodied red wine finishes the mixture with deep complimentary taste.

Bartender Micheal Bowers also makes a twist on the New York Sour called the Guadalajara Sour, which substitutes rosé for the red wine.

According to Peter Emmet, bar manager of The Diamond in Vancouver B.C.’s Gastown, “Using wine in cocktails is a natural step; delicious wine has as much a right to be in a drink as any flavor.”

The warming Jersey proves to be a signature drink during the winter and has been a mainstay of The Diamond since it’s inception in 2009. The Jersey incorporates a variety of flavors, including premium bourbon, Tuaca, Malbec, Angostura Bitters and an orange twist, creating an overall fruity theme. “People would be able to go home and make this drink themselves,” Emmet says.

The Bicicleta #2 is another Diamond classic. The Bicicleta uses white wine and trades out the Jersey’s other flavors. The Bicicleta, comprised of Gewürztraminer, Campari and sweet vermouth, is served on the rocks in a wine glass with a grapefruit twist.

Hotel 1000’s BOKA in Seattle will be rolling out a line of wine cocktails for the upcoming season. Their new bar manager, Cory Duffy, has experience using a wide variety of wines to create the base of cocktails crafted to perfectly match a meal. The first of their new drinks, The Virginia Sour, has bourbon, lemon, egg white, and cabernet sauvignon.

For more information about the bars:
>> The Modern Hotel and Bar,
>> The Diamond,
>> BOKA Restaurant + Bar,

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