As a transplant to the Queen City, I am still blown away by the magnitude at which this city really turns it out for Opening Day. The entire city’s pulse spikes, and we are all swept away in a fever of baseball revelry (I will venture to confess I got swept up a little too much this year). In this celebratory spirit, I propose we create an opening day for my other favorite indication of spring: rosé season! Yes, an entire day toasting the delicious pink hued beverage that has me dreaming of long afternoons spent at brunch where 1 bottle always turns into 3. Now let’s be clear (and if I have to write you all permission slips, I will): There is NOTHING wrong with pink wine. Perhaps it’s a case of mistaken identity: a perfectly balanced dry rosé is very different from the more well-known, and less palatable, pink wine on the shelf (I’m looking at you white zin). Don’t let misinformation and wine snobbery rob you of this glorious experience! Rosé pairs beautifully with food, and it is my preferred wine for creating cocktails. The flavor profiles of rosé on the market run the gamut, but for creating cocktails I prefer a more dry style to help balance any sweetness I may add as a mixer. For today’s cocktail, I tried to create a mixer that would compliment the beautiful tart strawberry notes that a lot of great bottles of rosé possess. So hold that pink glass up, pinkies in salute, and if your street cred takes a hit, well, at least you’ll have a delicious buzz to help ease your pain.
KIWI SIMPLE SYRUP
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
4 kiwis peeled and quartered
METHOD: In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat add water, sugar and kiwis. The best method of breaking down a kiwi is to slice the ends off, and using the skin as a guide, scooping the fruit out with a spoon. Once sugar has dissolved add cilantro and pepper (I slightly muddle the peppercorns just to open them up) and stir mixture. After mixture comes up to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes, then take off heat. Allow mixture to cool, and then strain through a fine mesh strainer. Keep syrup in refrigerator.
GLASSWARE: wine glass
GARNISH: lime slices, and kiwi slices
4 oz. dry rosé
1 oz. kiwi black pepper simple
1/3 oz. lime juice
3 oz seltzer water
Build in glass, adding ingredients in order listed. Add a couple slices of lime and kiwi to glass before adding the ice. Tip your glass back and beware of consumption at alarming rates.
CROWD PLEASER: I highly recommend making this beauty by the pitcher. Build like you would by the glass, but whisk together the wine, simple syrup and lime juice and omit seltzer water. Add whatever fruit you like to the pitcher to continue adding flavor. I like to put in slices of lime and orange, as well as slices of kiwi. You can also add berries like strawberry or blackberry and garnish with herbs. I like to add the soda water last so that it stays nice and bubbly.
DOUBLE DUTY: Swap out the wine with an apéritif wine like Cocchi Rosa or Lillet Rosé to add a drier and more complex flavor. These are great additions to your home bar for warms months as well. Both are wonderful to drink just on the rocks or with seltzer water. You can also try this with a bubbly rosé, because everyone deserves pink bubbles in their life.
And if you’re still not convinced pink wine is for you, well, more for us!
Cheers, and here is to a long and winning rosé season!
Your neighborhood bartender,