Summer is just around the corner. Can you feel it? The days are getting a bit longer. The sun is shining brighter and the weather is warming up with each passing day. As we inch closer to the glorious days of beach excursions, rooftop tanning sessions, shorts, sandals, and all things summer, we thought we’d share our must-have summer wines and cocktails.
Whether you’re unwinding after a busy day at work or chilling out at a backyard barbecue, we hope that you will enjoy these lively libations as much as we do.
The Quintessential Summer Wine: Rosé
We are starting off strong with a tried and true summer classic: Rosé! There is just something absolutely perfect about a crisp, refreshing, slightly-pink glass of wine on a warm summer day.
Often (unfairly) thought of as being particularly sweet, most rosés tend to be on the drier side. Ideal for serving with refreshing salads, fruits, light pastas and other summer staples, this crisp blush wine can be enjoyed on it’s own or incorporated into a unique rosé cocktail. Keep reading for an easy recipe, plus our favorite rosé wine recommendations that will keep you going all summer long.
- 1 oz Rye whiskey
- 1 oz Lemon juice
- 3/4 oz Simple syrup
Rosé or Brut Rosé (For extra sparkle)
- Combine liqueurs and serve in a chilled stemmed glass.
Our Favorite Rosé Wine Recommendations
Try any of these wines in place of a white or red; they are extremely versatile and rarely expensive. Rosé is meant to be enjoyed while it’s young and fresh — it almost never ages well, so there’s no excuse to not pop that bottle.
- Caves d’Esclans Whispering Angel from Provence, France: A pale, salmon-colored rosé that has aromas of pure raspberry and strawberry. Due to its warm climate, this wine is quite rich and round in texture and is an ideal go-to rosé for grilled salmon.
- Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé from South Africa: This rosé is loaded with cherry, lime, tobacco, and herb flavors. Even though it is incredibly fresh, you will still get that unique flair that South African wines are renowned for.
- Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare from the California Central Coast: There is a wonderful crispness to this wine and a lovely tea aspect, with a suggestion of bergamot, wild strawberry, and maybe even a delicate trace of wintergreen.
- Francis Coppola Sofia Rosé from the California Central Coast: Fine red-fruit flavors flow onto the palate and refreshing notes of fresh strawberries and cherries lead into a crisp aftertaste. This is the fruitiest of all of the selections here.
- Charles & Charles Rosé from Washington: This wine offers up beautiful strawberry and pomegranate flavors with all of the crispness and bright acidity that make it the perfect front-porch go-to.
Refreshing Cocktails All Summer Long
Looking for another equally refreshing option? Try an aperitif cocktail! Aperitifs are light, dry, and refreshing beverages typically served before a meal to whet the appetite and prepare one for the meal ahead.
We’re talking vermouth on the rocks or with soda; light bitter drinks like Aperol and Campari served with soda or Prosecco; and the classic Spanish Gin & Tonic — a large wine glass filled with ice, good gin, creative garnishes, and lots of tonic.
The aperitif is a noble, long-standing tradition that has been gradually catching fire all over the United States — and just in time to be included in Wine Hour at some Kimpton hotels this summer! Read on for inspiration and delight from some of our bartenders across the country.
Aperitif Cocktail Recipe #1: Spanish Gin & Tonic
Because who doesn’t love a G&T? Make the tonic syrup once and you’ll have enough for drinks for weeks to come.
Spanish Gin + Tonic
- 2 oz Copperworks gin
- 1 oz Tonic syrup (See recipe below)
- 5 oz Club soda
- Orange zest and star anise, for garnish
For the tonic syrup:
- 4 Cups Water
- 3 Cups Sugar
- 6 tbsp Citric acid
- 3 tbsp Cinchona bark
- 3 Stalks Lemongrass (Roughly chopped)
- 4 Oranges (Roughly chopped, with zest from 1 orange)
- 1 Lemon (Zested and juiced)
- 1 Lime (Zested and juiced)
- 1 Cup Star anise pods
For the tonic syrup:
- Mix the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until ingredients have incorporated.
- Add the remaining ingredients.
- Simmer for 30 minutes, then strain through a mesh strainer.
For the cocktail:
- Combine gin, tonic syrup, and club soda in a wide-bowled wine glass (this will make the cocktail more aromatic).
- Garnish with the star anise and orange peel.
Aperitif Cocktail Recipe #2: Jules’s Tour du Monde
The only thing better than a Gin and Tonic — a cocktail with a (very big) splash of Prosecco and fresh fruit. Yes, please.
Jules’s Tour du Monde
- 5 oz Grey Goose vodka
- 1 oz Aperol
- 5 oz Lime juice
Plus a splash of Prosecco, orange peel, and cherries
- Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
- Shake and strain over ice.
- Top with prosecco and garnish with an orange peel and cherries.
Aperitif Cocktail Recipe #3: Constituent Cup
This summer, try a refreshing Italian-style spritz that mimics the flavor profile of a Pimm’s Cup.
The Constituent Cup is the perfect low-proof cocktail made with Nardini Tagliatella, finochietto (fennal liquor), lemon, sugar, and is topped with soda water and fresh mint.
- 1 oz Tagliatella
- 0.5 oz Finochietto (Such as Don Ciccio)
- 0.5 oz Lemon juice
- 0.5 oz Simple syrup
Splash of club soda and mint for garnish
- Combine the ingredients in a white wine glass.
- Add ice and top with club soda.
- Garnish with mint sprigs and a lemon wedge, and serve with a straw.
So, which will be your new go-to drink this summer? We can’t wait to find out.