12 Wine Cocktails That Make Bargain Wine Really Shine

Here's how to jazz up that ho-hum bottle that's been sitting in the back of your bar cart.

Soft Arms Cocktail Recipe

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon / Glasses from Mamo

Making cocktails is one of the most underrated ways to get excited about that ho-hum bottle of sparkling rosé or Pinot Grigio that's been sitting on your bar cart since someone brought it to your last housewarming party. Maybe it's time to make a batch of Bellini cocktails for a brunch crowd, or maybe you've got a blender and some sherry handy, and you can whip up some frozen drinks. Whatever your journey, grab a bottle of wine that you're underwhelmed by and try out one of these 12 wine-based cocktails.

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Soft Arms

Soft Arms Cocktail Recipe

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon / Glasses from Mamo

Riesling and fino sherry are a match made in heaven.

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Late-Harvest Wine and Campari Cocktails

Late-Harvest Wine and Campari Cocktails

When he's grilling on a hot summer night, Francis Mallmann invariably has a cool cocktail in his free hand. The extra-refreshing one here combines sweet wine and the bitter Italian aperitif Campari.

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Bellini Recipe

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon

Everyone should know how to make this bubbly brunch cocktail.

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Earl Grey–Aquavit Spritz

Earl Grey-Aquavit Spritz
Victor Protasio

Honey simple syrup is even easier to prepare than standard simple syrup; just vigorously stir together honey and water until well combined. The mellow, floral sweetness of the honey syrup pairs perfectly with a touch of lemon in this tea cocktail.

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Pineau Spritz

Pineau Spritz

The combination of lightly fruity Pineau with plenty of citrus and bubbles (plus bitters and honey syrup) makes for a drink worthy of company on even the tightest of timelines.

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Be Cool

Be Cool Negroni Slushies
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Boozy, bitter, and tart, this vibrant red blended drink sips like a frozen Negroni. It's the perfect not-too-sweet frozen summer slushy. Keyatta Mincey-Parker's method of infusing the blanc vermouth with whole dried hibiscus flowers imparts their fruity and floral sweetness without masking the delicate aromas and flavor.

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Sparkling Citrus-Pomegranate Sangria

Sparkling Citrus-Pomegranate Sangria
Photo by Dan Perez / Food Styling and Prop Styling by Nurit Kariv

A quick cinnamon-flavored simple syrup adds cozy notes to this tart sangria with fall flavors of pear, persimmon, and pomegranate. It's spiked with brandy and gets a lift from Lambrusco, a fizzy Italian red wine.

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Stop the Hourglass

Stop the Hourglass Frozen Cocktails
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Chantal Tseng's take on a refreshing summer drink pairs juicy, ripe peaches with cool and refreshing mint tea. Amontillado sherry, with notes of vanilla and toasted hazelnuts, adds a sweet, pleasant complexity to this frozen sipper. The fresh peaches and mint tea ice cubes tame the heat of the alcohol and ginger.

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Frozen Hula Hoop

Frozen Hula Hoop Cocktails
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

A sweet-tart blend of pineapple, raspberry, and lemon adds fresh fruit flavor to this slushy frozen drink from Erick Castro, which is spiked with white rum, Aperol, and dry red wine. With plenty of heat from the trio of alcohols, those fresh summer fruits keep the drink well balanced. Make your own raspberry syrup by infusing simple syrup with fresh berries, or purchase a bottle at the liquor store or online.

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French 75

French 75
Guillermo Riveros / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter

This luxurious, delicious combination of gin and Champagne can be easily scaled up for a crowd.

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Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food styling by Lucy Simon

What drink is bright orange, bittersweet, and beloved all over the world?

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Walker's Mulled Wine

Walker's Mulled Wine
Greg DuPree

This version of mulled wine, from Walkers Maine restaurant in Cape Neddick, Maine, is gently infused with nutmeg, vanilla, and star anise, then lightly sweetened with honey and maple syrup. The result is a concoction you'll want to sip all year long.

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