I Have All These Wines. Now What?

Bar None

with Debbian Spence-Minott

Thursday, January 10, 2019

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This is a typical question many persons ask after receiving wines as gifts throughout the year and particularly during the Yuletide season. I can hear my automatic response — “Just drink them!” However, wine consumption for many Jamaicans is still not a lifestyle choice. Then there are others who revel in the thought that their wine collection continues to expand. But did you know that 99% of wines are meant to be consumed within three to five years of them being released? After this time, they begin to deteriorate losing colour and character. Shocked? In a subsequent article, I will discuss aging wine, why and when to do so, and which wines benefit from further aging. For now, let's look at enjoying wines and experimenting with wine cocktails.

A wine cocktail is made predominantly with wine and may include a combination of distilled alcohol or other drink mixers. In a mixology session this week, one of The Academy of Bartending, Spirits & Wines lead mixologists Maurice Chong assisted in creating 10 delicious wine cocktails. Let's get started!

1. Mimosa

Pour well-chilled Prosecco or sparkling wine halfway in a chilled Champagne flute, then top with orange juice. Garnish with an orange or lime wheel.

2 Poinsettia

Similar to creating a mimosa. Replace the orange juice with sorrel. Garnish with a sorrel bud or present cocktail on a bed of dried sorrel leaves.

3 Red Lime Spritz

In a highball glass, add ice and lime wheels. Then pour 1 oz red wine (preferably a Merlot), oz lemon-lime syrup and top with soda water. Gently stir and serve.

4 Kingston Sangaree

In your shaker mixing glass, muddle (crush to release fruit juice and essence) 1 strawberry, then add 1 oz Jamaican dark rum, 1 oz Merlot, oz simple syrup, two slices of lime and ice. Shake vigorously then strain.

5 Moscatini – Stirred not Shaken!

Rim a chilled cocktail glass with sugar, then set aside. In a mixing glass, add 2.5 oz of Moscato, 1 oz of vodka, then add ice. Stir until completely chilled. Strain into cocktail glass.

6 Something Blue

In a chilled martini glass or martini chiller set, add 2 to 2.5 oz of well-chilled Moscato or semi-sweet white wine, then use a spoon to float or add droplets of Blue Curacao creating a beautiful illusion of coastal hues.

7 Aperol Spritz/Spritz Veneziano

I recommend using a 3, 2, 1 approach to create this wine cocktail: Fill a balloon wine glass with ice, add 3 parts Prosecco or white wine, 2 parts Aperol (an Italian orange liqueur), and 1 part soda water. Add an orange wedge inside the glass and serve.

8 Strawberry Bliss

In a shaker, add 1oz Grenadine or strawberry syrup, 2 oz white wine, and ice. Shake vigorously. Strain in a CVhampagne flute and top with soda water. Garnish with strawberry slices.

9 Glamour Girl Martini

In a chilled cocktail glass, add a maraschino cherry or strawberry. Then, in a shaker add 3 oz Pinot Grigio, 1 oz Peach Schnapps, oz red cranberry juice, and ice. Shake until completely chilled. Strain into cocktail glass. (Tip: a whole maraschino cherry will rest at the base of the glass, while the strawberry slice will float to the top of the cocktail).

10 French 75

A classic cocktail dating back to World War I and made from gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. In a cocktail shaker add 1.5 oz gin, 3/4 oz lemon juice, oz simple syrup, and ice. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. Strain in a chilled Champagne flute and top with dry (brut) Champagne or sparkling wine. Twist a peel of lemon or lime over the rim of the flute to extract the citrus essence, then hang peel to the side of the glass. Serve.

Reader's Feedback:

Imagine if we embraced life's moments big and small, without reservation. Together, we might fill the world with contagious joy. Please share with me your wine cocktails or comments on the above article at, or follow me on IG @debbiansm #barnoneja. Join me next week as we 'Re-Wine' – going back to Wine 101 basics.

Debbian Spence-Minott

An Alumna of the US Sommelier Association

CEO of the Academy of Bartending, Spirits & Wines

President – Jamaica Union of Bartenders and Mixologists (JUBAM) Limited

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