As the worst of the summer heat approaches, many of us spend the day dreaming about going home to sit by the pool with a cool cocktail or a glass of wine. Times are tough, though, and purchasing the absolute best in terms of wine isn’t something we can do every day. Using lower-cost wines and mixing them into cocktails is one way of creating a cool and refreshing alcoholic beverage you’re bound to enjoy. Here are a few refreshing cocktails you may want to mix with your favorite red wines this summer.

Cardinal Cocktail

A Cardinal Cocktail falls into a category of beverages know as Kirs, or berry flavored cocktails. All you need is a red wine and some crème de cassis, which is a liqueur made from blackcurrants from France. Fill your wine glass with ice, pour in an ounce of the crème de cassis, and fill the rest of the glass with red wine. You can make this with your favorite red wine or with a wine that isn’t as sweet or flavorful as you usually like. Whichever you choose, this sweet cocktail is bound to please.

Brazilian Sangria

Sangria is a traditional drink in Spain featuring a punch made with red wine, brandy, and fruit. While there are dozens of different Sangria recipes you can follow, this particular recipe makes an exotic, tropical punch – perfect for relaxing by the pool or for serving at a summer party.

Grab a cocktail shaker and throw in your favorite fresh, seasonal fruits like kiwi, mango, passionfruit, and strawberry. Add ½ ounce of Lucid Absinthe, 1 ¼ ounce of cachaca, ½ ounce of Spanish brandy, and ½ ounce of orange liqueur. Muddle the ingredients, pressing them together until the fruits are combined well. Pour your beverage into a wine glass and then float 1 ounce of your favorite red wine on top. Stir your punch and enjoy the refreshing blend.

Miranda Cocktail

This rather expensive cocktail was created by a bar in NYC in preparation of the release of the 2nd Sex and the City movie. The original recipe called for Bluecoat Gin, but we don’t necessarily expect you to have a top-shelf gin sitting around, so use your favorite variety.

All you have to do is mix 2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of lemon puree, ½ ounce of simple syrup, and 1 ounce of Lillet Blanc (or a sweet white vermouth if you don’t have Lillet), in a mixing glass. Shake the mixture and strain it into an ice-filled highball glass. Slowly pour 2 ounces of your favorite Pinot Noir on top, giving the drink a stunning layered effect.

Don’t forget – the number of calories in a glass of wine varies from wine to wine, so if you are counting calories you’ll want to be extra careful about the wine and mixers you use in each cocktail you create. There are plenty of lower-calorie red wines to choose from and they’ll prove just as refreshing as the others!

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