It’s hot. You want a refreshing alcoholic beverage. But when you look through your fridge the usual suspects just don’t sound as appealing anymore. You’ve grown weary of rosé, couldn’t possibly sip another seltzer, and don’t even want to think about cheap beer. Cocktails can be complicated, and you don’t want to fix yourself something with too many ingredients. Well, my friend, there’s another option calling your name: the red wine spritzer.
Before you get all up in arms about drinking a chilled glass of red, may I remind you that it’s actually perfectly fine to drop an ice cube or two into your cabernet. When Angela Pagán asked a wine expert about this very thing, we found out that, for the most part, red wine is often served too warm in restaurant settings.
Chilling any type of wine (to the proper extent) will improve its drinkability and make for a more refreshing sip, which is exactly what we’re looking for in the middle of a worldwide heat wave. No matter how much ice you put in your glass, or how long you throw the whole bottle in the fridge, is ultimately a matter of personal preference and won’t degrade the quality of the wine.
There is precedent for adding a mixer in with your wine. Take the Kalimotxo, for instance. The cocktail is a specialty of the Basque region of Spain and was a creation of necessity: 2,000 liters of red wine went sour during a 1972 festival, and the only fix was to mix with Coca-Cola and serve over ice. It turned out to be delicious and remains a Spanish staple.
A few years ago I found myself in a similar conundrum, stuck with an extra large bottle of Woodbridge cabernet sauvignon. It wasn’t tasting quite the same after spending a couple of days loosely corked and also wasn’t exactly the refresher I was looking for in the dead of summer. Never one to waste wine, I grabbed a Pamplemousse La Croix from my fridge and mixed it in a wine glass with the red, a 1:1 ratio. It was light, bubbly, and reinvigorating—everything I was looking for in a summer sip.
From there I experimented with flavors, and you can too, using the sparkling water brand and flavor of your choice. For something more tart, try lime. To really embrace the natural flavors of the red wine, go for a black cherry. If you want a makeshift glass of sangria, add a little orange (you can even throw in an orange wedge if you’re feeling fancy).
With all of these combos, you can pour over ice (or not), add garnishes (or not,) and adjust the ratio of wine to sparkling water as you please. The beauty of the red wine spritzer is that it can be whatever cools you down in peak summer heat.