Cocktails for White Wine Drinkers

About 4 years ago, I wrote “Three Cocktails for Red Wine Drinkers” because I was really fascinated by how cocktails, especially the Old Fashioned, can open up over time as they oxygenate and dilute with melting ice, similarly to the way a wine opens up in the glass.

Since then, I have experimented with all sorts of cocktails, diverse and complicated, and while they each have their unique charm, there is something to be said for a balanced classic cocktail because you can sip it slowly and enjoy it like a glass of wine.

With that in mind, I thought I would revisit the concept of cocktails for wine drinkers and give you some of my highlights for white wine drinkers!


ONE    Classic Martini…for folks who like crisp, aromatic whites, like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris.

First of all vermouth is a fortified wine, so you are part of the way there as a white wine drinker. I like to make my martinis with 2 parts London Dry gin and 1 part vermouth, but if you are just getting started the gin might be a little strong, so go ½ Gin & ½ Vermouth and garnish with a lemon twist. Take note of this VERY IMPORTANT step… STIR the martini. Stirring it leaves the viscosity intact which gives the martini a nice full mouthfeel.

  • 2oz London Dry Gin
  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth*
  • Lemon twist

Place in beaker, stir until well chilled (30 seconds), strain into martini glass and garnish with the twist.

*Remember Vermouth is wine, so make sure it is kept fresh, and in the fridge!


TWO   Daiquiri… for folks who like sweet/dry, acidic, aromatic wines like Riesling

When making a good quality Daiquiri, start with an aged rum if you like barrel aged wine, otherwise go with a light rum. The addition of simple syrup and lime juice create a great balance of sweet & tart, which echoes the fruit and acid in the wine. Of course most white wine will be dry, so take note that this cocktail is sweet because it does have sugar.

  • 1 ½ oz Aged Rum or Silver Rum, whatever your preference
  • ¾ oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup (adjust to taste)

Combine all ingredients and shake hard with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with lime wheel.


THREE           Aviation… for folks who like perfumed whites like Gewürztraminer

A lovely cocktail from the “sour family”, the Aviation was created in the early 1900s by a NY city bartender. The Aviation is based in gin, so if you like it really aromatic ask for an aromatic gin. Crème de Violet, an ingredient in this cocktail is also very aromatic, but it is all balanced by sweet and citrus.

  • 2 oz Gin
  • ½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • ½ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ oz Crème de Violette

Combine all ingredients with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. No garnish.


You may be asking, what if I like Chardonnay? To that I ask you to think about the components you like in the wine. For example, if you like oaky or tropical Chardonnay then go with the Aged Daiquiri. If you like lean, stony chards go with the Martini.

This exercise is about finding flavors that excite you in wine and applying those same notes to cocktails. The only REAL WAY to find that out is to experiment, taste and make notes! Happy sipping!

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