Every decade has a cocktail that’s all the rage. In the ‘80s, it was the Long Island (or really anything fruity with an umbrella in it); in the ‘90s, there was gin and juice; in 2000, we saw the rebirth of the Manhattan and a collection of other boozy pre-prohibition era cocktails and it appears that frosé is on its way to being 2010’s. Road 13 Winery, in the Okanagan, claims to have been the masterminds behind this adult slushie but others have also thrown their name in that hat as founders, all with a slightly different take on the drink.
I have to admit; I had very strong feelings against messing with a perfectly drinkable wine, but was then reminded of my devout love and affection for a well made French 75; the drink that marries Champagne, gin (or cognac), sugar and lemon. Not unlike the 75, frosé is dangerously drinkable and I’m certain that versions will be found on cocktail lists for years to come.
The key to making the perfect frosé is using quality ingredients. Stay away from cheap, sugary sodas and syrups filled with artificial flavours and additives, and instead, use a sweet vermouth and fresh fruit to add flavour and sweetness and bring out some of the more subtle flavours of the wine. You also want to make sure that you use a rosé that’s not too delicate. Look for a dry rosé that’s a bright watermelon pink colour–a general rule of thumb is the more intense the colour, the more pronounced the flavour. Stay away from more delicate, Provençal style rosés, as they can easily become overwhelmed and fade to the background when adding other flavours.
This recipe I developed pays tribute to the Canadian “founders” of frosé, but is inspired by the recipe from Bar Primi in NYC, the other rumoured inventor of the drink.
1 bottle Road 13 Honest John Rosé
2 grapefruits, juiced
zest of one grapefruit
2 to 3 oz. rosemary syrup (see recipe below)
6 oz. Cocchi Americano Rosé vermouth
1 sprig rosemary, for garnish
Divide rosé between two ice cube trays and place in the freezer for 5 to 6 hours, or until the wine is nearly frozen.
Put the frozen rosé cubes into a blender with the grapefruit juice and zest, syrup and vermouth and blend.
Pour frosé into a chilled coupe or highball glass and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
1/2 cup water
1 cup of sugar
3 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
In a saucepan over high heat, bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add sugar and rosemary, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and strain through a cheese cloth or fine sieve. Pour into a jar or container and place in fridge to cool. You can make the syrup while waiting for the rosé to freeze.