Holiday Wine Cocktails

Those holiday bells are just beginning to ring, and among an upswing in merriment and cheer, we’re finding ourselves increasingly likely to imbibe all things delicious. Yes, this often includes enjoyable pours from our favourite Canadian wineries, but when cocktails are in order, that doesn’t mean we necessarily have to cast aside our grape-oriented brethren.

Wine can be a key component of many an excellent cocktail, so if you’re looking to do a little stirring or shaking this holiday season, here are a few favourites.

New York Sour

  • 2 oz rye or bourbon whiskey
  • 1 oz red wine
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup

Add everything into a cocktail shaker with ice. After half a minute of vigorous shaking, you can strain it into a rocks glass loaded with ice. A key element of this cocktail is the final touch: half to a full-ounce of fruity red wine poured over the back of a spoon so it floats on top. Think something like Tawse 2014 Gamay Noir. Generous plummy fruit and red berries are in abundance and joined by little liquorice notes. And the best part about this drink is that you can enjoy the extra wine that's left after the cocktails are made.

Champagne Cocktail

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1/3 oz cognac
  • 3 oz Brut sparkling wine
  • dash of Angostura bitters
  • maraschino cherry
  • zest of an orange

O.K., we’re not gonna be using traditional Champagne from the classic French region here, but think traditional-method wines made in the same vein, like Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s legendary Cipes Brut out of British Columbia. This sparkler is crafted from Riesling and Chardonnay, and generous with its complexity and fruit.

In a flute glass, throw in a sugar cube, dashing it with Angostura bitters, a third of an ounce of cognac, and then three ounces of Brut sparkling wine. Toss in a maraschino cherry and orange zest, and allow the effervescence to brighten your night.

Corpse Reviver #2

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz Icewine
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • dash of Absinthe
  • orange peel

Did it up a bit too much and now it’s time for a little hair-of-the-dog? The Corpse Reviver #2 is a cocktail positioned as part of a series of classic tipples popularized for curing hangovers. Bold and delicious, it’s destined to spring you into action after the merriest of holiday evenings. The cocktail generally involves gin, Cointreau, fresh lemon juice and a dash of Absinthe. The other key component is an ounce of Cocchi Americano or Lillet Blanc, but for a Canadian twist, let’s instead splash in an ounce of Bench 1775 Bliss Icewine, a blend of Viognier, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. Shake all the ingredients together with ice, strain into a chilled martini or rocks glass, garnish with an orange peel, and you’re all set for a new round of holiday cheer!

Click on each bottle to learn more about the wines and get them delivered to your door just in time to mix your holiday cocktails!

Tawse 2014 Gamay Noir        Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Brut           Bench 1775 Bliss Icewine

Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. Track him down at, or on Twitter and Instagram @KurtisKolt.