Tricia Rasar is the wine director at Bottle Shop and John Jacob is the bar manager at Mancy’s Italian Grill.
What a pleasure it was to sip on some refreshing summertime wine-based cocktails with Tricia Rasar and John Jacob at Bottle Shop at Mancy’s Italian Grill last week. Rasar is the wine director at Bottle Shop and is a fabulous resource for me for this column. Jacob has served as the bar manager at Mancy’s Italian for the past 14 years and is the man behind the three fabulous cocktails featured today.
Rasar explained that summer signals a shift in drinking preferences. As the days heat up, martinis and heavier cocktails are being replaced with sparkling wines and rosé-based cocktails. “Wine is lower in alcohol than booze, so we focus on lighter, fresher cocktails for the season,” she said. “People are liking lower abv (alcohol by volume) wines or something they can sip on over time. They are perfect for graduation parties and weddings.”
Throughout July, guests at Bottle Shop’s wine tastings can pick up wine-related cocktail recipes that incorporate the wines featured on those evenings. Wine tasting events are held each Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
If you’re ready to get mixing sooner, here are a few suggestions from Jacob for refreshing cocktails to make at home and enjoy on the patio, or take a seat at the bar at Mancy’s Italian Grill or at Bottle Shop and he’ll make one for you.
Jacob explained that the Aperol Spritz or simply ‘the Spritz’ is enjoyed throughout Italy as an aperitif. “It’s served with light appetizers to whet the appetite before dinner,” he said.
“We garnish ours with a twist of orange peel,” said Rasar. “You still get the orange flavor, but you don’t get the bitterness from the fruit. It really complements the drink.” Rasar suggested ‘The Spritz’ for bridal and wedding showers. “More drinkers are moving away from super sweet cocktails. This drink is so much lighter and refreshing.”
1 ½ ounces Aperol
¾ of an ounce soda or carbonated water
4 ounces prosecco
Fresh orange peel
In a glass, add the Aperol, soda and
prosecco. Stir and serve on the rocks.
Garnish with fresh orange peel.
Watermelon Basil Spritzer
Light, refreshing and made with freshly pressed watermelon juice, Campari wine, sparkling Moscato, and sambuca. “You taste a little licorice in the background from the sambuca,” said Jacob. “It’s an any day, all-day, poolside drink. It’s a gentle way to start the evening, and a nice way to close the evening,” he added.
Rasar added that this spritzer is a very pretty and pink drink, but it is not necessarily a girlie drink. It’s not a strawberry daquiri and it has much less sugar.
A couple of drops of sambuca, ouzo or absinthe (anything with an anise or a licorice profile works)
¾ ounce Campari
1 ½ ounces freshly pressed watermelon juice
Moscato di Asti or sparkling Moscato
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
To a large cocktail shaker, add sambuca, Campari and watermelon juice, shake and pour over ice. Top it off with sparkling Moscato.
To release the aromatics in the basil, Jacob suggested to lay the basil flat on the palm of your hand then clap it with the other hand.
“The Adonis is a lighter, cold cocktail for those who prefer bourbon or whisky-based drinks. It’s got a similar flavor profile but it’s much lighter,” said Jacob. “It’s a great end of the night cocktail. You won’t have to call Uber on this one,” he added. It pairs perfectly with charcuterie.
1 ½ ounces Oloroso sherry or dry vermouth
1 ½ ounces Carpano Antica Formula (a vermouth)
Two dashes of orange bitters
Orange peel for garnish
Add ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir until chilled then strain into a wine glass. Garnish with a fresh orange peel.