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3 Herbal Wine Cocktails for Summer

Take wine cocktails to a new level with 3 tested and loved herbal wine cocktails. There are also tips on how to develop your own cocktails.

Oh my! Strawberry Basil Moscato Lemonade (see recipe below)

We’ve all asked for a mojito at some point in our life. It’s the moment when you need something refreshing and wet. A mojito says “It’s time to loosen up”. Wine says “I’m a snob,” but it doesn’t have to. A great way to loosen up with some wine is by making your own wine cocktails. Wine cocktails are inherently more relaxed because you can drink them from a straw. Even a bendy straw.

Herbal Wine Cocktails

A mojito says “It’s time to loosen up”.
Wine says “I’m a snob,” but it doesn’t have to.

Do you know the different types of wine?

Use this chart to explore over 200 types of wine by style. Find new favorites by flavor profile and style.
  •       Red Wine (dark red)
  •       White Wine (golden)
  •       Rosé Wine (hot pink)
  • See Chart
  •       Sparkling Wine (titanium)
  •       Fortified Wine (purple)

Gewürztraminer Agave Ginger Ale

Your mouth will explode with flavor when you use fresh ginger. Perfect wine cocktails balance sweet, spice, sour and savory. Ginger is spice, so we balance ginger with sweet (agave) and sour (wine). Cava adds spritz without reducing alcohol content. We added tabasco (savory) and thought we may have ruined our drink but it was better. This drink got 3 outta 3 (ie. three people drank it and loved it)

  • 3 oz Gewürztraminer (we spent $7 on Chateau St. Michelle)
  • 3 oz Cava (we spent $7 on Cristalino Brut)
  • teaspoon of muddled ginger
  • 3/4 oz agave syrup
  • Optional: 1-2 dashes of tabasco
Wine Cocktails: How To

Put sliced ginger and agave in a cocktail glass and muddle with a wooden spoon until ginger pieces are fragrant. Add Gewürztraminer. Stir. Strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass with ice. Top with sparkling wine.

slice about this much ginger per drink
3/4 ounce blue agave syrup
muddle ginger and agave syrup in a glass cocktail shaker
add 3 oz of gewurztraminer to cocktail glass
strain ginger wine cocktail mixture into serving glass
top ginger wine cocktail with sparkling wine
Optional: add 1-2 dashes of tabasco



Cucumber Mint Fume Blanc Fizz

Not into super-sweet? Neither are we. Cucumber wine cocktails are refreshing and savory. Mint and lime add sour to balance the drink. This drink is not for everyone because it’s not sweet. However, if you’re reading this and your mouth is already watering because you’re sick and tired of overly sweet summer drinks, then read on!

This drink got 2 outta 3 (ie. three people drank it two loved it.)

  • 3 oz Fume Blanc / Sauvignon Blanc (we noticed that ‘fume’ blanc is way cheaper than sauvignon blanc. lol. $6 on Barnard Griffin Fume Blanc)
  • 3 oz Cava (we spent $7 on Cristalino Brut)
  • 1 oz cucumber water
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • pinch coarsely chopped mint
Wine Cocktails: How To

Make cucumber water by grating, blending and straining a cucumber. Add cucumber water, fume blanc, lime juice, sugar and mint to a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice. Strain into a serving glass and top with 3 ounces sparkling wine.

how to make cucumber water: grate cucumber
how to make cucumber water: blending
how to make cucumber water: straining


bendy straw appears

Strawberry Basil Moscato Lemonade

Strawberry lemonade lover? We saved the best wine cocktail for last. Basil adds more savory.

This drink got 3 outta 3 (ie. three people drank it and loved it.)

  • 6 oz Moscato (we used Wine Cube moscato from Target. Don’t laugh, it totally worked.)
  • 4 Strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 sprig basil
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
Wine Cocktails: How To

Blend all ingredients, except wine, together. Strain into tall glass with ice. Pour over moscato. Add bendy straw.

blend ingredients. strain. then add wine.
remember this patio table?

How to Develop Your Own Wine Cocktails

To develop the best wine cocktails, you need to think about fundamental flavor profiles. For wine cocktails, the basic flavor profiles are categories. Let me introduce the 4 S-words:

  • Sweet
  • Sour
  • Spice
  • Savory

Sweet is simple. It’s what sweetens the drink such as sugar, agave, maple syrup, molasses, honey or juice. You can develop your own simple syrup with wine by taking one part wine with one part sugar, pulverize a herb into it with a blender, then strain it.
Sour is what adds acidity to a drink. Lemon, lime and citrus are the most obvious, but wine and vinegar also add tart (vinegar is known as shrub in the cocktail world). Pay special attention to sweet and sour. An unbalanced drink will be too tart or too sweet. You can fix an overly sweet drink by adding more sour.
Spice is misleading because it is both a literal spice such as cayenne pepper or a fizz which feels spicy. Tabasco added both spice and savory to the Gewürztraminer Agave Ginger Ale above. Wine cocktails need added spice because they do not contain as much alcohol as regular liquor based cocktails. Since our tongues are not highly developed, higher alcohol content feels like spice.
Savory makes wine cocktails interesting. Savory also can help mask bitter and sour flavors associated with fermented beverages such as beer or wine. Savory is found in herbs, spices and vegetables. When creating your own wine cocktails, keep the 4 S-words at hand.

By characterizing your ingredients into categories, it’s easier to figure out what your wine cocktail is missing.

Sources of Inspiration
Jerry Traunfeld’s Basil Lime Fizz at Poppy Restaurant
Jamie Boudreau’s ‘Raising The Bar’ on Small Screen Network

About Madeline Puckette

James Beard award winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

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