Red wine is standard with dinner, but if you're looking to change things up a bit, consider serving a red wine cocktail at your next dinner party instead of straight red wine. Guests will enjoy the opportunity to expand their palates, and you're sure to have fun mixing these unusual drinks. Here are a few red wine cocktail recipes to try.

Southern Welcome

Made with bourbon and sparkling red wine, this strong cocktail will remind you of the southwestern United States.

Ingredients (for a pitcher of 6 cocktails):

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 750-mL bottle of Lambrusco or another sparking red wine, chilled
  • 4 ounces bourbon whiskey
  • 1/4 teaspoon bitters
  • orange slices as garnish

Combine the sugar and cinnamon, and spread it out on a plate. Moisten the rims of 6 large wine glasses with a little water, and dip them in the sugar mixture to coat the rims. Garnish each with an orange wedge.

In a pitcher, combine the wine, bourbon, and bitters. Pour into the glasses, and serve.

Winter Warmth

If you need to warm up on a chilly day, this warm wine cocktail will do the trick! The cinnamon, clove and ginger is reminiscent of the mulled wine that is often served at outdoor winter markets in Europe.

Ingredients (for a batch of 6 cocktails):

  • 1 bottle medium-dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 1/2-inch segments of fresh ginger, peeled
  • apple slices for garnish

Pour the red wine into a large saucepan, and add the other ingredients. Turn the heat on low, and warm the wine for about 15 minutes. Use a spider strainer to fish out the cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Ladle the mulled wine into mugs, and float a couple of apple slices in each mug as a garnish.

Seven-Minute Sangria

Sangria typically takes a while to make, since you need to give the wine time to permeate the fruit -- but not with this version. Using only soft fruits and mashing them allows this delicious sangria to be made in just a few minutes.

Ingredients (for a pitcher of 8 cocktails):

  • 1 bottle of medium-dry red wine, such as Zinfadel or Pinot Noir
  • 8 ounces lemon-lime soda
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 2 plums, peeled and sliced
  • 2 peaches, peeled and sliced

Place the peaches, plums, raspberries and blackberries in a large pitcher. Use a large spoon or potato masher to mash them roughly. Add the wine to the pitcher, and stir. Then, pour the wine through a strainer into another pitcher. Add the lemon-lime soda, and then pour into wine glasses to serve. Contact a wine importer, like wine by Latitude Wine Imports, to find the perfect wine for your event.

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