Your New Favorite Holiday Cocktail


Holiday libations should be three things: Easy. Festive. Not too strong.

Especially if you’re hosting.

It should be a drink that can be easily mixed for guests. If I’m muddling, mixing, shaking, straining, etc. all night long, I’m annoyed. I want something with two ingredients. Tops. But, the drink still needs to feel slightly special. I never discount a good glass of wine at a party, but a drink that feels more thoughtful makes everyone more festive. And as everyone knows, holiday drinking often lasts all night – pick something that can be sipped on without making people sloppy.

My gift to you – the Kir Royale.

Born in Burgundy, the Kir Royale is traditionally an apéritif. “Royale” is a variation of the original Kir – made with Aligoté (a bone, dry, acidic white wine) and Crème de Cassis (a sweet, black currant liqueur).

For a Kir Royale, the white wine is replaced with Champagne and you have yourself a fancy, festive, celebratory beverage.

The Recipe

Add a splash (about 1 tbsp) of Crème de Cassis to a wine glass or a Champagne flute, fill the rest with Champagne (or a dry white wine – if you’re going with a traditional Kir). Add a couple raspberries, a lemon twist or a sugared rim if you’re feeling extra festive.

Traditionally, the drink is made with a small amount of Crème de Cassis, giving it a light blush color and keeping it crisp and refreshing. Adding too much will give it a deep color and make it syrupy sweet.

If you want to make a Kir – use a dry, acidic white wine. Aligoté is preferable, but an unoaked Chardonnay will do just the trick.

Cheers to your new fav holiday cocktail.

Cola and Wine. It’s a Thing.


According to my Instagram feed, this was the summer of Frosé. Everywhere I looked this pink, slushy wine cocktail was being slurped.

And although delicious, one of the perks of being a wine drinker is no measuring, no mixing, no blending.  Find a bottle, open, pour, drink. It’s a simple process and one I value immensely.

But, there is a novelty to a summer cocktail and you shouldn’t miss out on its pleasures. Enter the Kalimotxo. (Pronounced cal-ee-mo-cho). This wine cocktail requires pouring half a glass of wine and filling the other half with cola. And if you want a little added brightness (and you’re not exhausted from the above steps) add a squeeze of lime.

Voilà. Complete. Your late summer cocktail.

The Kalimotxo is popular in the Basque region of Spain and tastes similar to sangria (with less fruit chopping) or cherry cola (with alcohol).

Use a dry, tannic Spanish Rioja for the mixture. Tempranillo and Garnacha are the grapes traditionally found in these wines. Because you’re adding a sweet cola, you’ll want a structured wine with strong tannins. Also, because this is a wine cocktail, use a cheaper red wine. Don’t waste a pricey bottle on something you’ll be mixing and covering up some of the flavors.  

I chose the Albero Tempranillo. It’s dry and lighter-bodied, with lots of cherry flavor and spice. And six bucks.

For your cola, choose something  made with real cane sugar, like Boylan’s Cane Cola. They are less sweet than colas made with artificial sweeteners. That is unless, you want a super sweet red wine cocktail.

Follow the directions below closely and enjoy. Salud!

Chilled red wine, preferably Rioja (Tempranillo or Garnacha)
Lime wedge

Put ice in glass
Combine equal parts red wine and cola
Squeeze a little lime
Eat some Serrano ham and Manchego

Albero Tempranillo
Vintage: 2015
Utiel Requena