For years, an easy summer alternative to a traditional cocktail has been the rosé spritzer, a splash of wine and a dose of seltzer that pairs nicely with a plate of crudo, a salad or a bowl of cold soup.
But now the rosé mania has hit, and bartenders are turning to the wine as a base for more complex, sophisticated new drinks.
They go a step farther than last year’s popular concoction: the frosé, a fairly sweet rosé wine slushie made with puréed strawberries and simple syrup, more dessert than cocktail.
At Ralph Lauren’s Polo Bar in Manhattan, Darnell Dodson, the beverage director, has devised the Rosé Royale, which he calls “summer in a glass.” It is the restaurant’s best-selling summer cocktail and is also served at Lauren’s restaurants in Paris, London and Chicago.
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It incorporates bittersweet French grapefruit liqueur, also called pamplemousse, which enhances the flavor and aroma of a rosé, and an orange spirit called Royal Combier, which Dodson describes as similar to Grand Marnier though not as sweet.
“For the wine, I use a classic Provençal rosé for the acidity,” he said.
An assertive rosé of gamay plays the lead role in City of Rosés, a sleek cocktail at Jackrabbit, a restaurant in the Duniway, a new Hilton hotel in Portland, Ore. Blanc vermouth and Cynar, the artichoke liqueur, round out the wine with alluring herbal notes.
Rosé has also become a base for sangria. At the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, sweet orange and cassis liqueurs are mixed with the wine and fresh fruit in the hotel’s La Côte bistro.
Wolffer Kitchen in Sag Harbor serves a pink sangria made with rosé from its own vineyard, Wolffer Estate, in nearby Sagaponack. It’s fresh and flavorful, and because it’s not particularly sweet, complements dishes like salmon tartare, grilled calamari and wood-roasted shrimp.
City of Rosés
4 ounces rosé wine, preferably rosé of gamay, chilled
1 ounce Cynar artichoke liqueur
1 ounce dry vermouth
Strip of lemon peel
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass and stir well. Pour into a coupe or martini glass and float the lemon peel on top.
Yield: 1 serving.
5 raspberries, divided
2 mint leaves
1 slice cucumber
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce Chambord or other black raspberry liqueur
3/4 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce Cognac
4 ounces rosé wine, chilled
Half-moon slice of an orange
In a cocktail shaker, muddle 3 of the raspberries, mint and cucumber with the simple syrup. Add the Chambord or other liqueur, lemon juice and Cognac. Fill the shaker with ice cubes and add the rosé wine. Shake well.
Strain into a wine glass, add the remaining 2 raspberries and the orange slice.
Yield: 1 serving.
1/2 ounce grapefruit liqueur
1/2 ounce Royal Combier or Grand Marnier
3 ounces rosé wine, chilled
2 ounces sparkling wine, chilled
Strip of pink-grapefruit or orange peel
In a large wine glass, combine the grapefruit liqueur and Royal Combier. Add the wine and Champagne. Add a few ice cubes and stir.
Twist the grapefruit peel over the drink to release oils, then drop it into the cocktail.
Yield: 1 drink