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As the cold weather is drawing in and our social calendars are filling up - it is time to start thinking about festive Christmas drinks. Wine cocktails are a new trend in milder alcoholic beverages that many people are enjoying and both still and sparkling wines can be a part of that experience.

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A lighter alternative to spirits

Not only does wine provide a lighter alternative to spirits, they also pair exceptionally well with a variety of cocktail components. California wines make a particularly fitting match for the state’s bounty of local, sustainably grown produce and fresh herbs.

“Wine can create a lot of versatility in a cocktail,” says Christopher Longoria, beverage program director at Che Fico in San Francisco. “It can bring characteristics such as fresh and dried fruits, tannins, roundness and structure.”

Free e-book with inspiration

To provide inspiration for signature wine-based cocktails, California Wines has released a new free e-book, “California Wine Cocktails for the Holidays.” Available to download here, it features recipes for deliciously creative seasonal drinks such as the California Gold Rush—a blend of California Chardonnay, fresh lemon juice and lemon-thyme honey—and the Cranberry Rosé, made with California dry rosé wine, cranberry juice and orange bitters.

Whether you’re looking to create a savory drink with complex, spicy notes, or a light cocktail brightened with winter citrus, there’s a California varietal wine or blend to complement just about any ingredient—not only during the holidays, but all year long.

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Recipes include:

California Gold Rush: An herbaceous blend of California Chardonnay, lemon juice and lemon-thyme honey

West Coast Warm Winter Wine: A fruit-forward spin on mulled wine, accented with pomegranate and fresh citrus

Cranberry Rosé: Dry California pink wine meets cranberry juice and orange bitters 

Red Apple Sangria: California red wine and apple cider get a spicy twist with cinnamon and fresh fruit slices

Vineyard Mule: A refreshing take on the Moscow Mule, featuring California white wine

Raspberry Port Sparkler: California port-style wine and bubbles mingle with muddled raspberries

Red Wine Hot Chocolate: Luscious chocolate and full-bodied California red wine chase away winter chills

To download a free copy of “California Wine Cocktails for the Holidays,” visit http://discovercaliforniawines.com/holiday-cocktails

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