Bellinis and sangria, the classic wine-based cocktails, are finally getting some competition. Mixologists like Alex Ott, who masterminded the drink list at New York’s Hudson River Café, are shaking up the bar scene with creative new “winetails.” “Wine is attractive,” says Ott, “because of its flavor and aromatic undertones, plus its capacity to blend well with just about any ingredients.”
Cantina, San Francisco
This hip cocktail bar offers a selection of Latin American-inspired drinks, so the Blackberry & Cabernet Caipirinha—a cross-cultural mix of Cachaça and Cabernet with blackberries, fresh lime and orange juice—fits right in. Over the last few months, the carefully crafted wine cocktails have surged in popularity, according to the managers.
Buddha Bar, New York City
In the heart of Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and its happening night scene, Buddha Bar not only offers a high-end Asian menu but also partakes in the winetail wave. Though not as flamboyant as the setting itself, Le Vin Sucre promises a simple and silky pleasure for wine lovers—Ecco Domani merlot enhanced with fresh limes, sugar and a hint of Agua Luca.
Hudson River Café, New York City
This spot overlooking the Hudson River reflects the rebirth of Harlem as a trendy destination. Patrons can enjoy one of Alex Ott’s nicely balanced wine cocktails as they study an American menu that features seasonal and local flavors. The Hudson River Caipirinha blends Merlot with fresh limes and agave nectar while the Harlem Renaissance consists of Chianti wine and Godiva dark chocolate liqueur dressed with fresh fruit and whipped cream, all made in a cocktail shaker. The drink is then presented with a “Virtual Campfire trapped over it in an upside-down glass filled with hickory smoke,” explains Ott.