Rose Brunch Punch. Photo by Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post.
Rose Brunch Punch. Photo by Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post.

4 ways to make rosé shine

By M. Carrie Allen Time of article published Dec 5, 2019

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I may not be a so-called girlie girl, whatever that is, but I love a good rosé. So do people of all types and genders everywhere. And a good frosé, the strawberry-slushy version that's become such a thing over the past few years, is a great summer slurp.

I've even been known to sip a brosé, a name we conjured for a mix of cheap rosé and PBR, concocted and consumed during a sweltering summer grilling session a few years back. Though truly, the less said about that one, the better. It was very hot out.

For those newer to wine: When juice comes out of the grape, no matter the grape's colour, it comes out clear. What gives wine colour is largely contact with the grape skins; rosé wine is made in such a way that, during its maceration period, the juice stays in contact with the skins long enough (sometimes for just hours) to pick up some pink, but not long enough to reach that deep hue that makes a red.
The rep of rosé wine has risen and fallen over the years. Its nadir may have been during the white zinfandel wave that surged out of California in the late '70s, tinting everyone's rosé-coloured glasses with the skewed perspective that all pink wines were sweet. Not so, as anyone who has sampled the genre widely could attest; there are plenty of dry, complex rosés out there, especially among the Europeans, which tend to lean drier more reliably. Many of them are particularly food-friendly, and walk a nice tightrope during this hot season when you want something with a little more depth (and chill!) than a big red.

I love many rosés just as they are, but they can also be lovely as cocktail components - even some of the sweeter fruit bombs, which can help provide needed balance in a mixed drink. If you're looking for a little variety in your rosé-drinking game, here are some tips about mixing with the pink stuff.

Know your ingredients

When you're mixing with the wine, you don't have to buy a rosé that drinks fantastic on its own - why would you hide that in a cocktail? But you don't want one that you hate the taste of, either. Find one you like, not too pricey, and think about how it will taste with other ingredients you want to include.

Watch the sugar

Many cocktails need a sweetening element, but there are some pretty sweet pink wines out there, and if you're using one of them to cocktail with, you may want to hold off on adding sweetener till after you've added the wine, when you can assess how much more sweetness is needed. Generally, look for a drier wine (a brut-style, if you're getting a sparkling one); you can always add more sweetness, but you can't take it out.

Pay the wine a complement

When you're picking what to mix with your rosé, think about how its flavour would pair with others. Try mixing small amounts of the other ingredients you're considering with your wine and seeing how they taste together. Both the wine and the summer season suggest white spirits as boosters: gin, blanco tequila and rum. Summer fruits - peaches, nectarines, berries - tend to work great with rosé, as does most citrus (in fruit or liqueur form). Herbs such as thyme, rosemary and mint make for good aromatic contrasts. Red Italian bitters such as Campari and Aperol can add a bracing bittersweetness.
Rosé on Rosé Photo by Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post.
Bring the bubble
Dry sparkling wines can make for elegant mixers, stretching a drink base and adding that fizzy texture to the layers of flavour. They're highly versatile, and visually, they add festivity as soon as they're popped open.

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