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  • The Chopping Blog

Wine Cocktails are Perfect for Summer

Mary Ross
Posted by Mary Ross on Jun 16, 2023


Imagine a recent wine shopping excursion. Whether in a grocery store, a boutique wine shop or chain outlet, if you’re most places in the U.S., your choices include wines from around the world, in varying sizes, prices and promotions, in white, red, pink, dry, sweet, bubbly or still styles, a have-it-your-way panorama of drinking pleasure.

Now imagine that you live in a traditional wine country, France’s Champagne or Burgundy regions, for example. Your choices now include wines made in Champagne or Burgundy, with very few flavors, unchanging and mandated by law. How long will it take you to get bored with drinking the same wine for every occasion, every meal? A few days or weeks? A few years? A few generations or centuries? And - if your imagination can transport you to the days before wine shipping - how long will it take you to create something new to drink? 

Enter the wine cocktail! 

Many of the world’s classic wine cocktails were born of necessity - whether small or unpleasant vintages, to sop up over-abundance of another crop, marauding enemies or boredom. And since drinking is essential to many cultures, many cocktails honor heroes, like we name airports and expressways. 

Join me for Summer Wine Cocktails on Friday, June 30 at 6:30pm at Lincoln Square, where we'll taste and discuss the French 75, Kir and three additional cocktails made with wine, complemented by light noshes. 

Register now

Vive La France 

Felix-Kir-der-Domherr-von-DijonCardinal Felix Kir

Photo credit: https://www.champagner-und-champagner.de/

Cardinal Felix Kir (1876 to 1968) received France’s Legion d’honneur for heroism during World War II, but his name is carried beyond national borders by the Kir, his eponymous cocktail. In 1940, as a member of the French Resistance, Kir he aided in the escape of 5,000 Nazi-held prisoners. Then, when Germans plundered his region’s famed cellars of the finest Burgundian wine, he thumbed his nose at the enemy by blending Aligotè, a lesser-known regional grape, with cassis, the regional black currant liqueur. This blanc-cassis (white wine and cassis) became a symbol of French fortitude and post-war was named for Kir. To this day, Kir is a classy and delightful cocktail around the world. 

To zhuzh it up, substitute French bubbly for white Burgundy for a Kir Royale, served in sparkling wine glass. 

Kir Royale

Celebrate Bastille Day with French 75

Visite_de_lémir_Fayçal_au_camp_de_Satory_1932_-_05French Army Canon 

Photo credit Agence de presse Mondial Photo-Presse Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=94050124

Another French hero is the Matériel de 75 mm Mle 1897 (also called Soixante-Quinze, French for ‘75’). Widely credited for France’s victory in World War I, “The French 75 is widely regarded as the first modern artillery piece… the first field gun to include a hydro-pneumatic recoil mechanism, which kept the gun's trail and wheels perfectly still during the firing sequence.” (Wikipedia). 

The French 75 cocktail is credited to Harry MacElhone, barman at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. In 1915, he blended Champagne, gin, lemon juice and sugar, for a tipple with a kick equal to the Soixante-Quinze. American GI’s brought the recipe home from over there, to be popularized at New York's famed Stork Club and featured in Hollywood films, including Casablanca. 

From our House to Yours

Here are The Chopping Block’s recipes for two wine cocktails to get you started: 

French 75

Yield: 1 drink, but easily increased

Active time: 5 minutes

Start to finish: 5 minutes


1 1/2 ounces gin

3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 ounce simple syrup (see note, below)

Ice as needed

2 ounces Champagne, chilled

Lemon twist for garnish


1. In a cocktail shaker, measure together the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds, or until the shaker is frosty.

2. Strain into a Champagne flute or wine glass, and top with the sparkling wine.

3. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve.

Note: To make simple syrup, place equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and remove from the heat. Allow to cool before using. Any extra simple syrup can be refrigerated until needed.

French 75 


Yield: 4-6 servings

Active time: 15 minutes

Start to finish: 6 hours, 30 minutes


One 750ml bottle rosé

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 cup crushed ice

1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed


1. Pour the rosé into a shallow pan and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours, or until almost solid.

2. In a small saucepan measure together the sugar and water and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Add the strawberries, and allow to steep for 30 minutes.

3. Pour the simple syrup through a fine sieve, discarding the strawberries, and refrigerate until cold. Tip: instead of discarding the strawberries, enjoy them as a snack!

4. Scrape the frozen rosé into a blender. Add the simple syrup, lemon juice and crushed ice, and blend until smooth.

5. Pour into glasses and serve.

 Rose Wine

Tips for Successful Wine Cocktails 

1. Chill all ingredients, utensils and - in the case of punch - the bowl, thoroughly.

2. Recognize that well-made ingredients yield a finer cocktail. The Chopping Block’s French 75 is made with Champagne and artisanal gin; our Kir is made with Burgundy and small-batch cassis.

3. Practice mise en place (everything in place); slice, dice, measure and prepare all ingredients and utensils before preparation.

4. Wine cocktails seem innocent, but they’re still alcohol. Celebrate responsibly with these and all cocktails!

I hope to see you in Summer Wine Cocktails so you can learn even more bright and delicious cocktails for the season. 

Register now


Topics: cocktails, drinks, cocktail, Wine, summer

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