Summer evenings, the light that accompanies us until late, a dainty breath of fresh air that defeats the daily sultriness and, unfailingly, the evenings outdoors. Dehors teeming with people looking for entertainment, laughter and toasts in anticipation of the long-awaited holidays. Cities populating themselves with open-air spaces, parks and historic buildings transformed into exclusive cocktail bars: noise and colour, lightness and good music.
In this season, the occasions for toasting seem to be more and more, the desire to get together with friends and to satisfy one’s lust for life finds allies in amazing cocktail lists prepared by expert bartenders.
Combining this euphoria with Baudlerian ‘drinking genius’ has never been easier: after taking you on a winter journey of coffee cocktails, today we can only let you explore the wonderful world of wine-based ones.
LET’S START WITH THE BASICS, THE COCKTAIL OF SUMMER PAR EXCELLENCE
It is impossible not to mention the most popular and best known drink in Italy these days: we are talking about the Spritz. Simple and drinkable, the absolute protagonist of the aperitif. Born and widespread in the Veneto region, the Spritz has rather remote origins: at the end of the 18th century, the Austrians dominated our territory, but did not tolerate our wines, which were too strong. And how could they not think of diluting them, if not with sparkling water? The name, after all, derives precisely from the verb spritzen, which means ‘to splash’. Would you like to try it this way? In some historic places in the Friuli region they still serve it this way.
Today, however, the most popular version involves combining the world’s best-known Italian wine, prosecco. Easy to prepare, simply combine equal amounts of sparkling white wine, bitter and soda/tonic water.
For an original and appetising variation, add a touch of fresh ginger and don’t skimp on the ice – it should be enjoyed very cold!
THE FRUITS OF SUMMER
When the sun scorches the beaches and scalds unwary hikers in the mountains, fig trees begin their golden age. Juicy, sweet fruits, to be picked within a few days and then used to create original recipes. So why not think of a cocktail with sweet and fruity flavours, delicate and easy to enjoy for those who do not like high alcohol levels.
The best wine? An aromatic and lively wine will be the right choice, we recommend a Muller Thurgau, a white wine mainly produced in South Tyrol. You cannot go wrong, however, with another fragrant wine, such as Riesling, the German without hesitation.
To the ingredient list, little needs to be added: lime and some fresh mint leaves.
Pour into a low tumbler filled with crushed ice:
– 4 cl wine
– 2 cl soda
– 1 lime cut into pieces
– half a fresh fig
– 3 mint leaves
DESIRE FOR TEQUILA
There are those who love it and those who absolutely do not, but Tequila certainly reminds us of distant lands, of a dangerous and unexplored Mexico, of the wonder of a succulent plant with properties that seem miraculous, the agave. And the heat, the sultry, oppressive heat that these landscapes seem to tell us: how can we cool off using this distillate chosen for dozens of international drinks? By preparing an excellent Red Splash, a cocktail born of American mixology.
It is best prepared in a shaker, with ice to which 5 ml of lemon, 5 ml of agave juice and 5 ml of lime juice are added. If the name does not deceive, the wine to be chosen must be a red, young and not too full-bodied: 5 cl and as much Tequila are added to the shaker. Shake for a few seconds and then serve with the inevitable lemon zest in the glass.
Painters and musicians at the court of the lords
The names these classic cocktails bear are a tribute to some of our peninsula’s artists: the Renaissance painter Bellini and he who was called ‘the Italian Mozart’, Rossini. Cocktails that are certainly easy to prepare and of absolute aromatic simplicity, they accompany the aperitif of those who do not seek bitter tones, but rather the memory of the sweetness of fresh fruit. Colourful and flamboyant, both can be prepared with prosecco, changing the main fruit: peach for the Bellini and strawberries in preparation for the Rossini.
Born from an idea of bartender Giuseppe Cipriani, the classic Rossini is prepared with the pulp of fresh strawberries blended and well separated from the seeds: simply pour this shake into a flûte and slowly add well-cold prosecco, until the glass is full.
To be original, dare variations based on Chardonnay, Moscato or Malvasia.
This recipe could not fail to give rise to seasonal reinterpretations: from the famous Giusti, in which 7 cl of Prosecco brut is combined with about 3 cl of blended melon, to the original Tintoretto. The latter involves adding pomegranate juice to the sparkling wine. What will you do in winter? You will have a Mimosa, prepared with orange juice.
PARAGRAPH 6: The prince of wines goes into blending
For lovers of refined bubbles, for lovers of Champagne who want to dare a change, the French 75 is a timeless classic. The absolute protagonist of elegant aperitifs, this cocktail combines lemon juice with wine:
- 30 ml of gin
- 60 ml Champagne
- 15 ml lemon juice
- 15 ml sugar syrup (or one teaspoon of white sugar)
The more experienced might note the similarity with another great classic, the Tom Collins, but in the case of the French 75 it is the wine that makes the difference, replacing the soda.
It is a cocktail whose name is as mysterious as its origin: apparently derived from its creator, Harry MacElhone at Harry’s American Bar in Paris in 1925, and with reference to the 75 mm pistol used by the French military during the First World War. Surely its fame is linked to the charm and elegance of Humprey Bogart’s unforgettable savouring of it with the wonderful Ingrid Bergman in ‘Casablanca’. If you want to discover this and other curiosities about cocktails featured in iconic films, don’t miss our article.
THE INVENTION OF THE MAYOR OF DIJONG, FELIX KIR
Low alcohol content and easy preparation at home? You have the perfect drink for you: official IBA, popular from Burgundy as an aperitif, the Kir is prepared with a dry white wine: the fruity and sweet notes, on the other hand, are the hallmark of crème de cassis, a French blackcurrant liqueur also responsible for the vermilion colour.
Pour 10 m of Crème de Cassis into a flûte and then cover with 90 ml of white wine: to stay true to tradition, you should choose a Bourgogne Aligote or a Chablis. For the Kir Royal version? Change the wine, using… Champagne, for sure!
A FRENCH NAME FOR A SOUTH TYROLEAN LONG DRINK
Did we think we were sipping a cocktail reminiscent of the sound of bells in Notre-Dame? Instead, while drinking a Hugo, we find ourselves tasting a creation of Italian origin, the fruit of the mastery of bartender Roland Gruber. Created in 2005 as an alternative to the Spritz, it has found a host of admirers for its lightness and freshness.
It is said to have originally been characterised by lemon balm syrup, which is now largely replaced by sweet-smelling elderflower syrup.
To prepare the Hugo you will need:
- 30 ml elderflower syrup
- 60 ml Prosecco
- 60 ml seltzer (or sparkling water)
- fresh mint leaves and ice
Place several ice cubes in a large glass, add prosecco, seltzer and elderflower syrup. Decorate with fresh mint leaves and you are ready for happy hour.
Now all you have to do is indulge in canapés and accompanying snacks!