You most likely have a cocktail mixer on hand that you're not using: I'm talking about boxed wine. We already agree that it is totally deserving of a place in your fridge, but we often overlook its potential as a cocktail mixer — especially for large pitchers and punches.
Making your pitcher cocktails with wine will take them to a level beyond the standard booze and juice combination. Wine is a complex ingredient that brings depth, rich flavor, and acidity, so why don't we mix with it more often?
I wrote a post on boxed wine a while back, praising the convenience and benefits boxed wine brings to us as cooks. Since then, I've also been using this fresh and readily available flavor component to make large-quantity cocktails for a party — beyond the traditional sangria.
Still need to be convinced that you should always have a box of wine in your fridge? Many people frown on its format, but we're really just talking about a packaging shift. The unique packaging assures continued freshness for the wine and allows for easy portion control, and the eco-friendly nature of the packaging assures its place on our shelves.
Because it costs so much less to both produce and ship the wines in box format, many times you're getting a higher-quality wine at a much lower cost. Winemakers are finally seeing the potential of this unique market — once dominated by low-quality wine — and the availability of higher-quality boxed wines is ever-expanding.
Why Make Your Cocktails with Boxed Wine?
1. It's handy and convenient.
Especially over the holidays, you should always have a box or two of wine on hand. They're great to cook with, they're easy to serve, and they're always fresh. Most boxed wines come in a three-liter size, ensuring you'll have enough for even a large gathering.
2. It brings a unique element to a cocktail.
At its root, wine is fermented grape juice. In its finished state, even simple wine is an incredibly complex product. Depending upon the style of wine, it can bring tannin, sweetness, or even oak nuances to a cocktail, but it always adds a rich fruit component and bright acidity.
3. It's easy on the wallet.
Filling a large punch bowl for a group can be an expensive endeavor. The single bottle breakdown of wines in boxed format is incredibly cheap for what you're getting. Plus, wine is a lower alcohol-by-volume mixer, ensuring your party doesn't get too crazy.
Let's get a conversation started! Have you ever used wine as a cocktail component in either a multi-ingredient recipe or something as simple as adding ginger beer to red wine on the rocks? Are there any boxed wines you especially love, and have you ever made a big-batch cocktail with them?
This week, I've got five big-batch cocktail recipes for you, all made with boxed wine as a main ingredient. So dust off your ladle, search for your lost ice mold, and prep your pitchers and punch bowls!