It’s time to give the classic wine cooler an at-home update, and it doesn’t need any bizarre ingredients or neon coloring agents. Like the original, this remake delivers sweet, ripe peach flavors accented by a dash of fresh orange. As it turns out, peach schnapps and OJ are the PB&J of the drinks industry.
First Came Screwdrivers, Next Came Fuzzy Navels
Unlike some wine spritzers, the Fuzzy Navel has a true history in bars and homes across America. While spritzy bottled wine coolers might jump to mind, the Fuzzy Navel began as a low-octane version of America’s original brunch drink, the Screwdriver, by substituting peach schnapps for vodka. Sweet peach and fresh orange thus got their start as the one-two punch of cocktail culture, a role that’s continued to exist because it’s just so damn refreshing.
Made popular in the 1980s, in part thanks to a growing cocktail culture and Tom Cruise as a bartender, the combination of the peach and orange drinks have been unstoppable. Endless variations have developed, all tweaks on the thirst-quenching duo that modify the Fuzzy Navel’s alcoholic strength — adding bubbles, or shifting sweetness levels.
Our recipe was inspired by the neon, bubbly, 3.2 percent alcohol bottled versions, which smell like peach candy and taste just as sweet. Despite normally leaning toward herbal and bitter cocktails, I literally couldn’t stop drinking these. Sweet and supremely refreshing, this simple wine cooler is perfect for sunny days by the pool or grill. Plus, its low alcohol content means you can drink them all day without falling over or telling that embarrassing story … again.
When making spritzers, which are extraordinarily simple, it’s important to remember to stir the ingredients well both before and after adding their carbonated elements. Sans stirring, the beverages end up a confusing mix of bland bubbles and syrupy schnapps instead of the perfect balance of sweetness and sparkles.
Fuzzy Navel Wine Cooler
4 ounces dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Albariño
1 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce peach schnapps
1/4 ounce lemon juice
2 ounces club soda
Peach slices, for garnish
Fill a tall glass with ice. Add the white wine, orange juice, peach schnapps, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Top with the club soda, garnish with peach slices, and serve immediately.
- Chilling: If you can, chill the wine, orange juice, and club soda before making the wine cooler.
- Variation: If you prefer a sweeter version, simply sub lemon-lime soda for the club soda.