The wine cooler has a bit of an identity problem. Is it a wine spritzer? A wine cocktail? Sangria? And what about that wild child moment in the ’80s when it was the hottest thing on the party scene?
Luckily, this cocktail conundrum is easily solved. As Gertrude Stein might put it, wine cooler is wine spritzer is wine cocktail is sangria. And the versions being whipped up today have nothing in common with the cheap, mass-produced products of 30 years ago (which thankfully went the way of shoulder pads).
“Mixology has been raised to this new chef-like height, and wine, in a way, is the bartender’s hottest ingredient right now,” says Mike Dawson, senior editor at Wine Enthusiast. “Cutting-edge bartenders are taking these wine-based drinks to new heights and creating these New Age coolers, along with countless variations of the sangria and classic wine cocktails like the New York Sour.”
Summer is the perfect time for wine coolers, since it’s the one time of year even the most dedicated vinophile toys with dropping a fistful of ice in a glass.