“Wine is bottled poetry.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson
This post was sponsored by TheFeed Feed and Austerity Wines but all opinions, words, and romantic notions towards wine are my own.
Each sip of wine—good wine—is an artfully arranged string of words steeped in intensity and beauty. The Greek poet Homer contended that no poem was ever written by one who drank water. While the playwright Euripides maintained that without wine there is no love. For millennia wine has held us in its thrall, inspiring countless impassioned proclamations of love and significance. What is it about wine that stirs such enduring emotions?
For me it’s as much the taste of a good wine as well as the memories it conjures that captivates me. I find myself partial to deep moody reds, brimming with dark fruit notes and earthy flavors—especially this time of year. On early winter evenings in, I’ll pour a glass of my favorite pinot and sit down to write for the day. Or I’ll curl up with some cabernet in front of our Christmas tree as Simon and I unwind for the night. Each taste stirs some memory; sneaking illegal sips from my mom’s glass at parties, drinking sangria at dinner and feeling very grown up when I was 15 in Barcelona, the wines I tried traveling through Italy years ago, countless birthday toasts, and fun nights with family and friends.
And isn’t all wine infused with memory? The memory of the earth and sun and rain that brought it into being. The memory of the hands that picked each grape, the barrels it aged in, the love that went into each and every bottle. Wine allows time travel in a sense. And for me, each glass holds the potential for past, present, future. I could ramble on for hours on the subject but suffice it to say I feel wine is so much more than just a drink.
That brings us to today’s post. Christmas is upon us and what better way to celebrate than with the perfect libation that encapsulates the holiday with some seasonal fruit? This cocktail is perfect for creating new memories and conjuring fond old ones with your loved ones this holiday season. I’ll be sipping these Christmas Eve and making them for family and the friends we have visiting from out of town. While Austerity Wines Pinot Noir is wonderful on its own, I crafted a cocktail that still allows it to shine while accentuating it with flavors inspired by the season.
I’ve absolutely loved partnering with Austerity Wines this past year. If you’ve been here before you know I love their Pinot Noir in particular. Hailing from Coastal California it has ripe red fruity notes and features aromas of cranberries, graham cracker, with earthy overtones. With all this in mind I began putting together a drink recipe that I thought served the wine and season well.
I made a heady spiced simple syrup with mulling spices and used it to roast some cranberries with a little citrus, thyme, and a splash of the Pinot. Then I used this as the base for the cocktails, followed by a bit of bourbon and a splash of Cara Cara orange juice. It’s a nod to mulled wine in terms of flavor but served over crushed ice. Though as I’m writing this I imagine you could absolutely make this a hot cocktail with great results. If you try that let me know! I didn’t realize how much I loved wine cocktails until making this one. I think there is something to be said for them, thought I’m sure there are some traditionalists who would disagree. I think of this almost as a Christmas punch and it’s something you could absolutely make in a large batch for a party!
What are your thoughts on wine? What are some of your favorite holiday drinks? Leave a comment below!
Spiced Cranberry Noir Cocktails
- 1 cup spiced roasted cranberries, recipe follows
- 4 oz. Bourbon
- 10 oz. Austerity Wines Pinot Noir
- 2 oz. Cara Cara orange juice
- Crushed ice
- Fill four glasses with ¼ cup of the roasted cranberries.
- Top with crushed ice and follow with 1 oz. bourbon, 2.5 oz. wine, and .25oz. orange juice.
- Use a cocktail stirrer to mix.
- Garnish with a sprig of thyme, sugared cranberries, and a Cara Cara slice.
Spiced Roasted Cranberries
Makes about 2 cups
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup water
- 2 Tbsp. mulling spices (I bought a pre-mixed jar)
- 12 oz. cranberries
- ¼ cup Cara Cara orange juice
- ¼ cup Austerity Wines Pinot Noir
- 3 Sprigs of thyme
- Combine sugars, water, and mulling spices in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring to a gentle simmer stirring until sugar dissolves.
- Turn down the heat and simmer on low for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep for another 5 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place cranberries in a small baking dish with ½ cup spiced simple syrup, orange juice. wine, and thyme. Roast for about 40 minutes until cranberries are bursting and tender.
- You will have a very saucy mixture. Don’t worry, this is acting as a sort of fruit filled simple syrup and is exactly what you want.
- Let cranberries cool in baking dish to room temperature before transferring to a container to chill in the refrigerator for several hours. You want it to be very cold before using in cocktails!
Notes: You’ll have some spiced simple syrup leftover. This is good in case you like a sweeter cocktail or it’s great over ice cream, or pancakes/French toast/waffles!