These wines were received as tasting samples.
I rarely use sparking wine as a mixer to make cocktails. Generally, I simply enjoy a glass of sparkling wine with appetizers or a meal. To be honest, it just doesn’t occur to me to use sparkling wine to make a cocktail. So, a recent invitation to sample Cinzano Prosecco DOC and Cinzano Asti DOCG along with a cocktail kit caused me to pause for a minute and consider the potential. Maybe I should explore the possibility. I replied yes to the offer of tasting samples and before I knew it I was playing mixologist.
We tasted each sparkling wine by itself and then made one cocktail from each sparkling wine, all with delicious result.
Cinzano Prosecco DOC — pale yellow with generous bubbles and delicate pear aromas. Subtle flavors of white flowers, pears and toasted almonds finish with a hint of citrus. Lovely flavors. Easy drinking. 11% abv. SRP $11.99
The perfect brunch or lunch sparkler. It has plenty of flavor (it’s made entirely from the Glera grape) and is low alcohol, a great combination. It is produced using the charmat (or tank) method which preserves the fruit flavors of the grape.
Sparkling Negroni — 1 part Cinzano Prosecco, 1 part Cinzano Rosso Vermouth, 1 part Campari — the bitterness of the Campari is spectacular in this drink along with the herbal and sweet notes contributed by the Vermouth. The Cinzano Prosecco plays a supporting role in this drink providing the effervescence.
This cocktail is so refreshing and I love the bitterness of the Campari. It would be absolutely perfect on a summer afternoon.
Cinzano Asti DOCG — very pale yellow and effervescent in the glass with generous aromas of citrus blossoms. The flavors are floral, tropical and very sweet with generous bubbles and a sweet, lingering finish. 7% abv. SRP $11.99
This sparkling wine is a bit sweet for my taste, but I appreciate the citrus blossom aromas and flavors and I can see its appeal. It is very easy to drink. Asti DOCG is made using 100% Moscato Bianco, also known locally as Moscatello. Although this wine is made in a pressurized tank, it goes through only one fermentation. The fermentation proceeds, and carbon dioxide is released until the wine reaches 6% alcohol. At that point the carbon dioxide is retained in the pressurized tank until 7 to 7.5% alcohol is reached. Next the wine is chilled, filtered (to remove yeast and prevent fermentation in the bottle) and bottled.
The Moscato fans in your life will love this wine. Don’t judge them, just make them happy by pouring them a glass.
Asti Mimosa — 3 parts Cinzano Asti DOCG, 1 part fresh orange juice. Citrus blossom flavors combine beautifully with the vibrant flavors of fresh-squeezed orange juice. Both the sparkling Moscato and the orange juice lend sweetness, but the citrus also contributes bright acidity. This cocktail is a winner.
Honestly, I’ve never had such an enjoyable Mimosa. I often find Mimosas to be an unpleasantly bitter and disjointed cocktail but that was not the case with this Mimosa. The sweet, floral flavors and aromas of the Cinzano Asti and the vibrant flavors of ripe oranges in the juice, which I literally squeezed just before making the drink, combined perfectly. If you are going to make a Mimosa, by all means use Cinzano Asti and only fresh squeezed orange juice. Using the best ingredients results in the best cocktail.
Cinzano winemaking history began with brothers Giovanni Giacomo and Carlo Stefano Cinzano in 1757. The master distillers began producing Vermouth in Turin using a combination of local herbs, spices and wines. By 1840 production included their first sparkling wine. Today Cinzano produces a range of sparkling wines.
So, after this little experiment in mixology, how do I feel about using sparkling wine to make cocktails? Conflicted. My basic instinct is still not to mix anything with my sparkling wine. The benefit I see, though, is flexibility. Using sparkling wine as a mixer gives you the option of offering your guests not only a variety of cocktails, but a glass of sparkling wine as well. Choice is always good, especially if you are pouring for a group with diverse drinking preferences. But, the sparkling wine does play more of a supporting role in a cocktail. So, choose the best quality ingredients and by all means mix away.