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.
Tomato Water: how to bottle summer.
The first thing you need to do is make Tomato Water. 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
- 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.
Photos: Meg van der Kruik. She may like this cocktail as much as I do, and that's saying something.
Frequently Asked Questions about this Wine Cocktail recipe:
Absolutely, yes! Sangria, spritz, spritzers and frose are all examples of wine cocktails. Wine can be mixed with additional spirits or simply with juices and mixers to make fabulous cocktails.
Juices are always a good mixer for red wine cocktails. You can make sangria with fruit juice for a chilled option, or add savory components like tomato water for a savory wine cocktail. Mulled wine is also generally made with red wine by adding fruit, spices and sometimes additional spirits to red wine and warming the mixture.
Yes! Most traditional sangria recipes call for mixing wine and spirits, and there are several common wine + liquor cocktail recipes too. Good examples are Campari or Aperol spritz, a Hugo, a Sbagliato or some frose recipes. The Negroni and a Martini are technically examples of wine and liquor too, since vermouth is actually a kind of fortified wine.
Is there anything better than wine cocktails? How about a single serving option that's mixed in the glass?!
Ready for the easiest wine cocktail recipe ever? This Single Serving Sangria is extra delicious, super simple, and ready in the time it takes to open a bottle and slice some fruit. Cheers!