If you're always trying to booze on a budget (@ me) then you know about the magic that is boxed wine. Okay, okay, so the college parties and cheap Wine Wednesdays may have scarred me just a little, but let's not sleep on the fact that a bag of wine is the gift that keeps on giving.
A big ol' sack of vino is perfect for picnics, girls' nights, or even a solo night in with wine on tap. Obvi, since you're here, you know that drinking boxed wine straight up is just the start of a fun time. To level up your slap the bag game, all you need are a bunch of fridge orphans that already exist in your kitchen (i.e. lemons, Coke, fruit) so you won't have to go out of your way or your budget to indulge in these drinks.
So use an upcoming celebration or maybe even just a Thursday to test out these boxed wine recipes. Let's give this star the attention she deserves.
I know red wine and cola cocktail sounds terrifying? But hear me out: This weird combo is known as a kalimotxo. It's a mixture of equal parts cola and red wine, a little ice, plus a squeeze of lemon to acidify that ish. Think of it as a low-effort alternative to sangria, and a great morning drink to post-pone your hangover.
2. Sparkling Water
If you were thinking, "This seems an awful lot like a white wine spritzer," then you'd be 100 percent correct! Light, refreshing, and totally perfect for day drinking by the pool, meet your summer go-to. Mix 2 parts super-cold wine and 1 part sparkling water (or flavored soda) over ice, add a squeeze of lime, and serve.
3. Fruit + Brandy
The solution to all that fruit that's on the brink of decay: This. Toss in a random lemon, lime, and orange slices, blueberries, and whatever else you go. No matter what fruit or wine you choose to include, there’s no way to mess this up. Start with 4 cups wine, 1 to 2 cups chopped fruit, 2 tablespoons brandy, 2 tablespoons simple syrup, and sparkling water to taste.
4. Pineapple Slices
Adding chunks of fresh pineapple to a variety of whites, rosés, or sparkling wines adds loads of tropical flair. This drink will have you feeling like you're sippin' cocktails by the ocean in Hawaii. Disclaimer: please don't hate us when you open your eyes and realize you're still in your living room.
5. Muddled Melon
Normally I'd say that there's nothing better than a wedge of watermelon in the summer, but when alcohol gets involved, I'm willing to change my tune. Muddle several handfuls chopped melon with lime slices, combine with a white or rosé, and garnish with fresh mint.
I dare you to to name a better combination than white wine and lemonade. Add equal parts lemonade and wine, plus some ice, and a splash of sparkling water. It's like Arnold Palmer's slightly tipsy cousin. Use sparkling lemonade for effervescence bonus points.
Turn just about anything into a ~bellini~ with a quick hit of fruit nectar. (And don't worry — even if you don't have sparkling wine on hand, you can mix equal parts wine, sparkling water, and nectar, for a just-as-refreshing drink.)
8. Pomegranate Arils
Take a box of white wine, preferably one with sweeter notes, and pop in some pomegranate seeds for a fruity touch. You can also top off your drink with a splash of pomegranate juice if you're looking for more flave.
9. Freeze It
Wine granitas: Believe the hype. Mix 1 cup wine with 2 tablespoons simple syrup, freeze, and then tuck into a refreshing, delightfully boozy dessert. Pro tip: Add in some herbs if you're feeling fancy.
10. Blend It
Wine blender drinks are just like smoothies, only wine-ier. To make your own slushy, freeze your favorite boxed wine in an ice cube tray. Pop the cubes in the blender and pulse to slush-ify. Have a spoon at the ready.
11. Wine Cubes
OK, so this is technically not a cocktail, BUT I feel like we should talk about wine ice cubes anyway. Instead of diluting your wine with boring ice, use wine cubes to maintain the flavor of your drink while getting it to that perfectly chilled temp. And if you're feeling REALLY fun, throw some sprinkles in there—because why the hell not?
12. Cinnamon Sticks and Apples
This addition to boxed wine is perfect for sweater weather. Take any boxed wine and heat it in a saucepan on the stove with cinnamon sticks and the apples of your choice (I recommend a combo of sweet and tart varieties, JFYI.) You can even add some whiskey to the mix to really amp up the fun times and campfire experience.
13. Red Wine Hot Chocolate
This. Is. Not. Weird. Promise. Heat up your favorite box of red with milk and dark chocolate chunks to make a concoction that’s almost too rich to handle. Key word is ALMOST.
Sorry, tequila, but you can take pretty much any white wine variety you have and blend it with a frozen limeade concentrate to get this slightly sweeter version of the classic marg. Add a splash of OJ and some lime or orange wedges if you’re feelin’ it, which you def are.
15. Mulled Wine
You're going to need spices that you maybe don't have lying around your house (think: cinnamon, star anise, cloves, cardamom), but the trip to the store will be worth it. Warm up a box of dry red wine with those spices listed above, 2 tbsp. of desired sweetener, oranges and brandy in a saucepan. Let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes and up to 3 hours before straining out the solid bits. This is the kind of drink that will warm your body and soul, and will become a staple in your house around the holidays.
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