When thinking about wine cocktails, most people consider just spritzes and sangrias. These cocktails are popular crowd-pleasers, but they do not give wine cocktails justice. There is a whole exciting world of wine cocktails that your restaurant can tap into.
There are a few reasons why wine-based cocktails are a great idea for any restaurant. First, they usually have a lower alcohol content than spirit-based cocktails, which means that customers are likely to order more of them. Therefore, you can even double the number of drinks served and the revenue if you substitute vodka or gin with wine. The added bonus is that your cost is lower as well.
Second, wine cocktails are a novelty for the majority of consumers, so adding two or three of them to the menu will spark your guests’ interest. The novelty status of these drinks also means that there is a lot of room for innovation.
Wine cocktails also offer a wide range of possible styles, flavors, and presentations. You can use all kinds of wines for the cocktails from sparkling, through white and red, to fortified wines.
Including wine cocktails can elevate any cocktail menu. To make this process easier for you, I have gathered 10 wine cocktail examples to inspire you to experiment with these drinks at your restaurant.
Everyone knows mulled wine, but have you heard of Glögg – a Swedish mulled wine fortified with Port and Aquavit? This cocktail is not only perfect for colder months but also very easy to make in larger quantities, which can prove useful at a busy restaurant.
Michelle’s Drink, created by a Seattle-based bartender Michelle Magidow, is fun, pretty, and delicious. Moscato d’Asti creates a sparkling, sweeter foundation, Campari adds a hint of bitterness for balance, and the citrus gives extra freshness. Michelle’s Drink is a perfect cocktail for warm spring and summer days (and nights).
This cocktail will be a true crowd-pleaser for any bar or restaurant. You could even sell it by the pitcher to bigger groups. Without added sugar, it will also have fewer calories than most cocktails, which can be a great selling point for health-conscious customers.
You could modify the recipe by using freshly-squeezed lime juice and soda water to create a healthier alternative.
I love this cocktail for a few reasons: it looks classy and sleek, contains Lambrusco, and takes no more than 30 seconds to make.
The sweetness level of the finished product will be strongly influenced by the Lambrusco that you use. Cappelletti has some sweetness as well, so the sweetest Lambrusco wines are likely to be too sweet. I would recommend trying different types and brands to find the one that will work best in this cocktail.
The Post Old Fashioned is, above all, an Old Fashioned where Port plays a smaller role. This makes it perfect for fans of classic drinks who maybe want to venture out a little.
You could replace the 10 year old Tawny Port with the basic or Reserve Tawny to cut down the cost and increase your profit margins.
Wine cocktails pack lots of flavor into lower ABV – and this one is no exception. The bitter, zesty character makes the White Wine Siesta a perfect start to any dinner. However, there is no need to limit yourself (or your guests) – the drink would go very well with food as well.
For a more zesty flavor, go with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or an Australian Riesling.
Not all cocktails have to be fruity or boozy; this drink is a perfect example of that. Red wine, bourbon, and Amaro Braulio create a delicious combination of herbal, sweet, and savory notes.
For a more herbal expression of this cocktail, I would pick a Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc, especially those from cooler climates, as my base red wine.
Here is a drink for fans of sweeter cocktails, especially in the style of a sour. The sweetness of the cordial works great with the sour lemon juice and the smooth, creamy texture added by the egg white (you can use aquafaba for a vegan-friendly alternative).
The only drawback of this drink is the extra time spent on adding the egg white. Again, this can be remedied by substituting aquafaba for it.
Here is another cocktail that can be made in larger quantities and kept refrigerated until needed. This frozen drink works because it is fruity, quite unique, beautiful, and simply delicious!
Frozen Sangria is not the cheapest drink to make due to a lot of fruits required to create it. However, choosing a Gamay or another light, red-fruited wine will give the drink a softer, fruitier character. As a result, you will need fewer frozen berries.
This cocktail is over the top, no doubt about it. It is basically a floral, plummy martini. If upscale cocktails are in your restaurant’s DNA, I would strongly recommend trying the Plumdog Millionaire.
I hope that now you agree with me that wine cocktails are as diverse and attractive as their spirit-based equivalents. For restaurants, wine cocktails also offer a way to differentiate themselves from the competition. Therefore, the logical next step is to add some wine cocktails to your drink menu!
If you would like to learn more about menu design, read this post.