It’s such a hoot at this time of year to see the national spirits and wine writers tripping over themselves to announce that “Rosé Wine Season Has Officially Begun.”

For those of us here at minus 6, it never stopped. In keeping with our lifestyle of just a few barely distinguishable seasons on the annual calendar, and those are defined more by festivals not so much the weather, we have been slurping rosé wines with great abandon year ‘round. And why not?

Rosé wines work with our love of fresh seafood and they fit in well with our passion for foods that have a bit of zing to the flavors and aromas. We don’t need to kick off a rosé wine season because we never close out a rosé wine season. I don’t feel that way about certain other drinks. In truth, I never even enjoyed an Irish Coffee this past season-of-not-quite-so-warm-not-quite-so-humid time period, known in other places as winter, because it simply never got cold enough to indulge in a hot alcoholic beverage.

Oh, I guess I could have cranked the air conditioning down to about 52, waited four hours, and then made a much-loved Irish Coffee but then besides the cost of the drink, I would have been forced to pay something outrageous to Entergy and that is not a situation I enjoy.

Anyway, we drink rosé wines sometimes on their own, sometimes as a bridge during dinner transitioning from the Champagne and sparkling wine into the first course. Rosé wines are so easy to enjoy and they are delightfully charming.

Then, because I live in a city that practically invented cocktails and has since perfected them, I’m thinking that rosé would make a dandy ingredient in a cocktail. The beautiful color of the wine, it’s distinctive but soft flavor, and its fruit-sweet character, to me, means that the wine can complement other ingredients, adding a subtle and elegant quality to the pleasure of something relatively new.

Turns out, as usual, I’m not the first guy to be thinking this way. Hell, I am not even the 1,000th. No matter because those that are faster, brighter, more creative have been busy with ingredients and measurements to satisfy even the most tradition-bound cocktail lover. So, lighten up. Try something at about the same time as the rest of America. We never do that and that may be yet another reason to enjoy cocktails that feature rosé wines.

 

Rosé Cooler

(makes 1 drink)

  • 100ml rich fruity rosé (a bright New World label)
  • 20ml raspberry-flavored vodka
  • 40ml pink grapefruit juice
  • Chilled cherryade to top up
  • Maraschino cherry to garnish (optional)

Pour the wine, vodka and juice into a tall tumbler half-filled with ice. Stir gently then top up with cherryade, adding as much or as little as you like (bearing in mind the cherryade is sweet). Garnish with the maraschino cherry.

 

This recipe makes a good point that you should keep an eye on. No need to use one of those high-priced rosé wines from France. Use something domestic and priced in the $12-$15 range.


Rosy Navel

(makes 4 drinks)

  • Ice cubes
  • 4 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 2 oz. orange curaçao
  • 8 oz. Dry Rosé wine  
  • Chilled 7-up or Sprite

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add orange juice, curacao, and rosé. Shake well. Fill 4 highball glasses about ¾ full with ice cubes. Stain the cocktail mixture equally into each glass. Top the glasses off with chilled 7Up. Stir gently and briefly.

 

Here again, watch your sweetness levels. And don’t confuse “blush” wines or white zinfandel with dry rosé wines. Those items are considerably different from what the recipe calls for.


Blackberry Bellini

(makes 1 drink)

  • 100ml cold sparkling rosé (preferably pink prosecco)
  • A handful of ripe, juicy, fresh blackberries
  • 30ml plain vodka
  • 10ml lemon juice
  • One teaspoon caster sugar

Place the blackberries in a cocktail shaker and muddle – gently squash them – with the back of a long spoon. Add ice cubes, vodka, lemon juice and sugar and shake, then strain into a champagne flute. Top up with cold sparkling rosé.


Perseverance

(makes 2 drinks)

  • Ice cubes
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 2 oz Dry Rosé Wine
  • ½ oz maraschino liqueur (not the same as the juice that comes in the maraschino cherry jar)
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Fill cocktail shaker half-way with ice cubes. Add vodka, rosé, maraschino liqueur, and bitters. Shake well. Strain cocktail into 2 cocktail glasses and serve.

The creator of this drinks suggests Fat Bastard Rosé as the wine ingredient here.

 

Full credit for these cocktails is gratefully acknowledged:

  • Wine Cocktails, A.J.Rathbun, The Harvard Common Press, Boston, MA,  2009
  • Suzy Atkins, The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, London, England, 2016

 

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Read Happy Hour here on MyNewOrleans.com every Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed at www.wgso.com.