A vodka and orange is a classic. Champagne and orange juice is a celebration staple. But wine and orange juice? For many people, that’s a combination that doesn’t seem to work.
The sharp tang of orange juice seems far too bright for a good red, while the bitter citrus could overwhelm a simple white.
But some of the best cocktails have come from strange combinations. Most of us wouldn’t have thought to mix white wine and crème de cassis, but the Kir is a cocktail classic.
And although many shudder at the thought of red wine and cola, it’s a surprising way to excite a dull red.
Don’t write off wine and orange juice. With these 3 recipes, you’ll wonder how you ever kept the two apart.
Can You Really Mix Wine And Orange Juice?
One of the reasons we all love wine is that it comes in such a vast variety of flavorings. So within that depth, there has to be a wine to match almost any drink.
While wine and orange juice may not be an obvious choice, it’s certainly something to experiment with.
Start With The Simple – White Wine Spritzer
A white wine spritzer is the starting point for many wine drinkers, and a refreshing cocktail that adapts to the occasion. Ideal for toasting a celebration, complementing a meal, or something light when you fancy a mid-week drink.
It’s hard to go wrong with a white wine spritzer, because it’s so easy to vary to your tastes. If you like something with bite, go for a dry white wine. If you prefer sweeter, change club soda to a flavored tonic.
Not sure what you like? Play around until you find the perfect mix.
How To Make The Perfect White Wine Spritzer
To make the perfect white wine spritzer, you need just three ingredients: white wine, club soda, and orange juice.
Try using a dry white like a Riesling, or something with clarity like a Sauvignon Blanc. You don’t want to overwhelm the wine, which is why a soft Pinot Grigio may not be the best choice.
With that said, the perfection of a white wine spritzer is that any type of white wine can work. Try a Chardonnay for a richer taste, or even a Gewürztraminer for a punch of aroma.
Club soda is the best mixer, because it’s not sweet, and the tang sits smoothly alongside the wine. If you prefer tonic, or even something with a bit of sparkle, then you can always mix it up.
For orange juice, choose something with a lot of flavor – nothing watered down. The best juice is fresh from the orange.
The key to the perfect white wine spritzer is to have everything ice-cold. Keep the wine in the refrigerator until the last moment, with the club soda and orange juice alongside it.
The best white wine spritzers are 3 parts wine to 1 part soda/juice. But it’s fun to play around. Pour a generous serving of your chosen wine, add a splash of club soda, and top with orange juice.
Take It Up A Notch – Tequila Sunrise
A classic Tequila Sunrise keeps things simple with just three ingredients: tequila, orange juice, and grenadine (and the maraschino cherry garnish, of course).
Settling into layers in the glass, a Tequila Sunrise is a wonderful cocktail for a pre-dinner warm up or an after dinner cool down.
So far, so good. But where’s the wine? Here’s where things get exciting. The streamlined ingredients of a classic Tequila Sunrise are elevated by a splash of fruity red wine, creating a drink that’s both fun and sophisticated.
Serve at your next cocktail party, or enjoy on warm summer evenings.
How To Make The Perfect Tequila Sunrise
One of the joys of a Tequila Sunrise is the separation of layers, giving that incredible “sunrise” effect. To achieve that, you need a slow and steady hand.
A high-quality tequila is a necessity – don’t ruin your Sunrise with the cheap stuff. Good tequila can be sipped after a meal, making it a worthy addition to any drinks cabinet.
Pour 1 ¾ ounces of tequila into a tall glass over ice. Next, add 2 ounces of orange juice.
Now for the tricky part. Rest a spoon against the rim of the glass. Pour ½ ounce of red wine slowly over the spoon, so that the natural weight of the liquid will cause it to sink to the bottom of the glass.
Pinot Noir is best for this recipe, but anything fresh and fruity should work. Merlot and Zinfandel both have crowd-pleasing tastes that play nicely with the tequila and orange.
If you can find a nice Beaujolais, the berry flavors work well. Avoid anything too dry, as this won’t play so well with the tequila.
Add ½ ounce of grenadine in the same way – slowly, over a spoon. You should see those classic sunrise layers in the glass now. Finish with a slice of orange and a cherry.
Finish With A Flair – Sangria
Don’t be fooled by those jugs of sangria you get at beachside bars – the best sangria is a subtly sophisticated drink, packed full of flavor. If there’s a better drink that mixes wine and orange juice, we haven’t found it.
Good Sangria goes heavy on the wine and lighter on the mixers, creating a drink with a lot of body and a playful sweetness. But it’s also one of the most adaptable drink mixes in the world.
Try a few classic recipes, and then play around to find your signature version.
How To Make The Perfect Sangria
The base of Sangria is the wine, and the best type is a Spanish red. Rioja is hard to beat. An unmixed Tempranillo also works well, and might be a little easier to find. Spanish wine is often one of the cheaper Old World wines, but it certainly isn’t lacking flavor.
To make a good Sangria, mix one 750ml bottle of red wine with ½ cup of brandy, and 1 cup of orange juice (freshly squeezed, if possible). Then add apple and orange slices.
Sliced lemons and strawberries are also a good choice, and a handful of blueberries are a delicious addition. Mix everything together, and give it a taste.
Depending on what orange juice you used, you may need to add sweetener. Brown sugar or simple syrup both work well.
White Sangria is very similar, but with a few tweaks. Start with a bottle of Spanish white, then add the orange juice and brandy. Popular fruit choices for White Sangria include sliced lemon, sliced lime, apple, and peach.
A few sprigs of basil really enhance the flavor. Top with a cup of ginger ale, and you have a zesty take on Sangria.
Sangria should be cool, but not too cold to ruin the wine. Try chilling or freezing the fruit beforehand, rather than adding more ice.
What To Try Next?
Once you’ve tried these options, then you should have a good idea of how to make a decent wine and orange juice cocktail. The next steps are a sparkling twist on the classic mimosa, or a mulled wine for a winter’s day.
After that, have fun experimenting.