This Farmers Market Wine Cocktail is essentially a next-level savory sangria. It’s like a combination of the best parts of your summer garden and relaxing on the patio on a warm summer evening. But with Pinot Noir.
Really, it’s a wine-based Bloody Mary made with concentrated fresh tomato goodness. Have I sold you yet? Just make one. Then you and your friends can decide how you want to describe it – while you’re pouring another.
The first thing you need to do is make Tomato Water (recipe below). Tomato Water is the flavorful, fragrant liquid that releases from ripe tomatoes when they’re cut, and you need a bunch of it. It’s super easy to make, but it takes overnight, so I suggest you start now – because if you love fresh tomatoes, it’s about to become you new favorite thing. You could expedite the process in a couple of ways though: 1) make a double batch + use some in a couple of hours, and then let it finish steeping, or 2) let it sit for about 4 hours, then fold up the cheesecloth + squeeze out all the water. It’ll be a little cloudy that way, but if you don’t care, I don’t either.
Next, get yourself some decent Pinot Noir or other light red wine. (From California. We farm wine grapes, among other crops, and I am not ashamed to be biased.) I like Pinot in this cocktail because its flavors complement the tomato + fresh herbs well, and it generally has low tannins. You can use any light-bodied red you like: Gamay, Cinsault, Grenache, Counoise (if you can find some) or a blend are all good choices. I suggest using a bottle you’d enjoy drinking, but not the super-expensive one you’re saving. You’ll be tasting everything in the glass, so use ingredients that are all delicious on their own.
You also need to decide if you’re going “spicy” or “standard” with your cocktail. To make a Spicy Farmers Market, cut a few rings of fresh jalapeno and throw them in the bottom of the glass right at the beginning, with the cherry tomatoes. Or, cut a Serrano pepper lengthwise, and use that to stir your cocktail – then leave it in the glass. The heat will build as the drink sits, but the fresh pepper flavor will be present right away. If you leave the seeds in the peppers, the drink will be spicier.
I like to garnish with a skewer of tomato, basil + fresh mozzarella. Sometimes I also sprinkle Merlot salt on the cheese, because I am the kind of person who has Merlot salt. In fact, there’s a chance I’m Whole Spice‘s #1 salt customer. At least in terms of diversity of purchases.
You can garnish however you like, of course. I think an extra basil leaf or basil flower at the top does a lot for the drink. You could pop on a halved cherry tomato, a sprig of parsley, or nothing at all. Make it your own! I’d caution against olives though – the brine makes the cocktail a little funky.
I hope you’ll give this tomato-wine cocktail a try soon, and let me know what you think! If you’re making it for a group, I’d suggest doubling the tomato water recipe so you don’t run out. If you’re looking for more fun wine-based drinks, try this Pineapple Rosemary Crush or my Easy Single-Serving Sangria too. My friend Meg also has a Mandarin Basil Sparkler recipe that I love. Cheers, y’all!
Farmers Market Wine Cocktail
- 2 cherry tomatoes sliced
- 2 fresh basil leaves
- 2-3 flat leaf parsley leaves
- 5 ounces California Pinot Noir
- 3 ounces tomato water see recipe below
- Dash of sea salt
- Garnish: tomato + basil + fresh mozzarella on toothpick
- *make a “Spicy Farmers Market” by adding 3 slices of fresh jalapeno or serrano pepper
- Add the cherry tomatoes to the bottom of a wineglass or tumbler. Place the basil and parsley leaves in the palm of your hand and clap loudly once. (This releases the natural oils and flavor from the herbs.) Add the herbs to the glass.
- Fill the glass with ice. Top with the wine and tomato water. Add a scant dash of sea salt and stir to combine.
- Garnish with the tomato + basil + mozzarella toothpick, or alternatively with a sliced cherry tomato and basil leaf.
to make the Tomato Water:
Summer Tomato Water
- strainer, cheesecloth or flour sack towels and large bowl
- 4 large fresh tomatoes or 5-7 medium
- 1 cucumber
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl, and line the strainer with cheesecloth (or a clean flour sack towel). Add the tomato water ingredients to a blender or food processor, and pulse until pulpy or finely chopped. (You may need to cut the tomatoes or cucumber in large chunks to get it next to the blade. If you do, make sure to pour any extra juice in with them!)
- Pour the mixture into the prepared strainer, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to a day.
- Tip: for clear tomato water, don’t press or stir the pulp.
- Discard the solids, and keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Photos: Meg van der Kruik. She may like this cocktail as much as I do, and that’s saying something.