Remember white wine spritzers? For some reason, I’ve always thought of them as something old people with drinking problems have at lunch. (I mean, isn’t that what they are?) I can’t even remember any specific old person drinking them, or anyone ever consuming one at any lunch I’ve ever been a part of, but it’s just a general sense I got as a kid. Anyway, it turns out they’re really pretty good, and they’re definitely refreshing as fuck. And — despite the fact that I just got a giant tattoo on my right arm — there are surely kids out there who consider me an old person with a drinking problem. So it’s about damn time I create my own take on the white wine spritzer: the vinho verde wine spritzer.
Of course, this differs pretty significantly from the classic old person lunch cocktail. A basic white wine spritzer is made with just white wine, club soda, and a fruity garnish. This vhino verde wine spritzer starts out a bit like a julep (I muddle mint with simple syrup and lime juice), veers toward gin and tonic territory (um, I add some gin), then settles in nicely with the rest of the senior-preferred cocktails with wine, club soda, and a lime wheel for garnish. Except instead of the usual white wine, I use vinho verde — my summer love.
“Vinho verde” is Portuguese for “green wine,” and unlike most of the wines we’re used to, it isn’t made with any specific type of grape — just young (or “green”) grapes. While it comes in a variety of colors, my preferred vinho verde, Casal Garcia, is a white and it’s only $8 or $9 a bottle at my local grocery store (and even cheaper online). It’s bright, and a little tart, and not at all oaky or buttery. It’s perfect for a minty, boozy, summery spritzer.
Vinho Verde Wine Spritzer
6-8 fresh mint leaves
¾ ounce simple syrup
½ ounce (or 1 tablespoon — it’s the same damn measurement!) fresh-squeezed lime juice
1.5 ounces gin
4 ounces vinho verde
Lime wheel for garnish
Muddle the mint leaves with the simple syrup and lime juice (using the handle end of a wooden spoon) in the bottom of a large stemmed or stemless red wine glass (really, it needs to be big because of all the shit we’re going to put into it). Add the gin and vinho verde and stir, then add a handful of ice. Top off with the club soda, give it another quick stir, garnish with the lime wheel, and enjoy on a hot fucking day. Perhaps even over lunch. With your old friends.
NOTE: I played with the amount of simple syrup and because I don’t really like sweet drinks, landed on ¾ ounce as the best option. If you like a slightly sweeter drink, make it a full ounce.
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