How to Make Your Hunter Valley Wine Cocktails Awesome: Adding Spirits to Wines
Choosing between a glass of wine and a cocktail is a fun decision to make, but it isn’t always easy, right? Luckily, there’s an easy solution for this kind of choice paralysis – a delicious wine cocktail that blends your favourite Hunter Valley wine labels with a spirited kick. From fruity concoctions for a summer brunch to zingy reds to sip by the fire, awesome cocktail-making skills make for a party trick that your taste buds, and your guests, will thank you for!
Here’s a handy list of creations to start you off on your new career in wine cocktail-making. If you want to stock the bar up with local products you can’t find at every bottlo, a Hunter Valley wine tour takes you to the region’s top cellar doors, distilleries and breweries.
A couple of classics cocktails to start
You can’t go wrong with classic wine cocktails, whether you’re throwing a backyard barbie or whipping up a special Friday knock-off beverage for yourself. There’s a reason why they’ve stood the test of time, with ingredients that blend like best friends on a wine tour.
It’s fabulously festive and always fun, so pop Sangria on the menu for your next party. Use a fruity red like Vineyard Reserve Tempranillo from Drayton’s Family Wines or a citrusy Beyond Broke Road Pinot Gris from Tyrell’s, if you prefer white. You can play with the recipe to suit your own taste, so don’t be scared to get creative. Here’s one to fill a good-sized punch bowl.
- 1 bottle of chilled red or white wine
- A shot or two of brandy
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 lemon, 1 orange and 1 apple cut into wedges
- 1 cup of raspberries or strawberries (or both if you want!)
- 1 small can of diced pineapples with the juice
- 2 cups of ginger ale or lemon-lime soft drink
Simply throw everything into your pitcher or bowl with ice, mix it all together and start pouring.
If the girls are coming over for brunch and you want to make a special treat that’s much easier than baking something, whip up some Mimosa’s. You’ll need a dry, sparkling white, like NV Sparkling Brut from Savannah Estate.
- Sparkling white wine
- Fresh orange juice
- Triple sec (optional)
If you’re using fresh oranges, squeeze them in advance, strain the juice to get rid of the pulp and pop it in the fridge so it’s refreshingly cold. Line up your champagne flutes and pour the sparkles in first. The ratio of wine to orange juice is up to you. Dress up the glasses with decorative orange slices.
Now, let’s spice it up…
Once you’ve got a few ingredients, go for gold formulating your own concoctions for awesome wine cocktails. Here’s some tasty inspiration.
Sparkling Berry Cocktails
With a bottle of sparkly, fruity liqueur and your choice of berries, this pretty punch might just be your new favourite. You’ll find delicious Strawberry Liqueur from the Hunter Valley Distillery.
- Berry liqueur
- Fresh, sliced berries
- Sparkling white wine
Pop your berries in the serving glasses with a splash or two of berry liqueur to taste, before filling them up with the bubbly.
Fizzy Vodka Punch
Whether you like a straight-up premium vodka or a flavoured version like lime, apple or raspberry, this refreshing fizzy punch…packs a colourful punch! Choose some effervescent bubbles from the Hungerford Hill Sparkling Series and use this recipe for enough to serve at a party.
- 1 bottle of sparkling white or rose wine
- 1 bottle of ginger ale or soda water
- Vodka to taste
- 2 cups of frozen strawberries
- Can of pineapple chunks with juice
Combine all the ingredients in your punch bowl and give it a good stir, before putting it in the fridge to rest for about half an hour. Mix it up again, add some ice and away you go!
The Bishop Cocktail
This one’s an old-fashioned favourite with a few variations to try. The prime ingredients, however, are red wine and rum (just in case you managed to get your hands on a bottle of the Hunter Distillery’s limited edition Golden Rum!)
- 3 parts rum
- 1 part red wine of your choice
- 1 teaspoon of simple syrup
- Lime juice to taste
If you know any bartending tricks you can practice with this one. Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake, twist and turn to your heart’s content. Strain the liquid into a chilled glass and bottom’s up!
Port Melon Cocktail
Are you a fan of Pokolbin Estate’s Vintage Port? While it’s perfect for sipping on a winter’s night by the fire, here’s a refreshing twist for a warm weather tipple.
- Splashes of port to taste
- A slice of rockmelon
- 1 can of soda water
Blend the rockmelon to a puree, strain and combine with all the ingredients into a tall glass. Stir and enjoy!
It’s sweet, it’s zesty and beautifully bubbly. Pick up a bottle of White Label Cabernet Sauvignon from Margan Wines and wow your taste buds with this simple cocktail.
- Half a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon
- A quarter of a cup of soda water
- 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of caster sugar
Stir the sugar in with the lemon juice and soda water until it’s dissolved in your (large) wine glass. Pour in the wine, add some ice and give it a stir before that first delightful sip.
Looking for an instant pick-me-up or a garden party hit? Open up a bottle of gin, pop open a bottle of Prosecco from Becker Wines and get your spritz on.
Ingredients (one glass):
- Sparkling wine
- Gin to taste
- Fresh grapefruit juice to taste
- Tonic or soda water to top it up
Use your own measurements to create the perfect combo for you. Add ice to your glass, followed by the gin, juice, wine and soda water. You might want to add sugar syrup to please that sweet tooth.
Or, how about a ‘beertail’?
When nothing but a beer will do, it’s easy to transform your favourite brew into an impressive cocktail.
Hold a Mexican fiesta for your next celebration and serve a mix of craft beers from IronBark Hill Brewhouse, with some blends to create this classic Mexican beer cocktail.
Ingredients (one serve):
- 1 bottle of beer
- 3 tablespoons of tomato juice (fresh is best)
- 1 tablespoon of lime juice
- A splash of hot sauce
- A splash of Worcestershire sauce
- Coarse salt
Rub the rim of your glass with a lime wedge and roll it in the salt. Combine the tomato juice, lime juice and sauces in a bowl to mix. Put some ice in the glass, add in the mixture and top with beer.
Check out the beer menu at 4 Pines at the Farm (Matilda Bay Brewhouse) to choose a base for your refreshing ginger shandy.
- Ginger beer
- Bottle of beer
- A lemon slice
You can play around with the measurements for this, depending on your tastes. Pour the ingredients over some ice, stir and start sipping.
If you love the simplicity and ease of making Mimosas, switch it up next time with a beer and mango twist!
- Bottle of beer
- Mango puree
Whir up your mango to create a succulent puree and add as much or as little as you like to your favourite Hunter Valley craft beer.
Pomegranate Beer Punch
With all the vitamin C in pomegranate juice, you could almost fool yourself into thinking this one’s a bit healthy! Hope Estate Brewery Lager or Pale Ale are good choices for blends.
- 2 bottles of beer
- 2 cups of pomegranate juice
- 1 cup of ginger ale
- Lemon or lime slices
Blend all the ingredients in a large pitcher or your trusty punch bowl, including thin slices of lemon, or lime, or both.
Cherry Beer Slushies
Get yourself a bottle of Cherry Liqueur from Pokolbin Distillery and you’ll have it on hand to add a zing to your bubbly, along with making these fun slushies.
- 2 bottles of beer
- 3 tablespoons of cherry liqueur
Pour the beer into a shallow dish that fits into the freezer. Add a few splashes or more of cherry liqueur and freeze until it gets all ‘slushy’. Spoon the mixture into your glasses and top it off with lemonade and another dash of liqueur. Then, pop the proverbial cherry on top.
Now that you’ve got a recipe list to suit any occasion, you can start picking Hunter Valley wines, spirits and craft beers to channel your inner bartender at home. Once the word gets out, you might need to prepare for a few more visitors though… You can pick up a bottle of some of these Hunter Valley favourites when you visit these venues on our Hunter Valley Wine and Beer Adventure Tour.