Bottoms up

Boxed-wine cocktail big on flavor and easy to make

By Jayme Henderson /

Tribune Content Agency /

Red Wine,
Blackberry and Ginger Pitcher Cocktail

Serves 8

to 12

For the mixed berry ice cubes:

2 to 3 berries per ice cube, depending on size of your mold

Water for the ice molds

For the cocktail:

24 ounces fruity or even sweet red wine (I used Bota Box Pinot Noir)

12 ounces

citrus vodka (I used St. George California Citrus)

24 ounces pomegranate juice

3 ounces blackberry liqueur (I used Leopold Bros.)

Ice

18 to 24 ounces ginger beer, to taste (I used Fever Tree)

Fresh mixed berries, for skewers

Fresh mixed berry ice cubes, for garnish

In a large pitcher or punch bowl, combine the red wine, citrus vodka, pomegranate juice and blackberry liqueur. Stir until incorporated and chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy. You can make this portion of the cocktail a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator; just give the mixture a good stir before serving.

For the cocktail: When you’re ready to serve the cocktail, fill your pitcher or punch bowl with regular ice and the mixed berry ice cubes; then add the chilled cocktail mixture. Quickly top with the ginger beer, taste for balance, and give the mixture a gentle stir. Prep individual cocktail glasses with ice, add the finished cocktail and garnish with mixed berry skewers.

Recipe notes: The Leopold Bros. Rocky Mountain blackberry liqueur is a favorite for me, and it really is the star here. It’s one of the highest-scoring domestic liqueurs and is worth the splurge for a small bottle. You can order it online if you can’t find it locally. If you can’t find blackberry liqueur, Chambord black raspberry liqueur is an excellent substitution.

Fruity, fresh and tart, with a swift kick of ginger, this blackberry and pomegranate cocktail could be a big crowd-pleaser. It’s a boxed wine pitcher recipe based solely on purchased ingredients. And if you already have a box of light, fruity or even sweet red wine, this is the recipe for you. Basing a cocktail on this style of wine assures a vibrant, deeply hued sangria-like flavor profile.

This particular cocktail is simple to craft, but there is one catch: You must choose a high-quality ginger beer. Since there’s so much used in this recipe, make it a good one (the spicier, the better!). Don’t be tempted to settle for ginger ale, either; you’ll want that sharp bite of ginger to balance out the rich blackberry and pomegranate fruits.

Jayme Henderson is a contributor to TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to editorial@thekitchn.com .

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