Frosé: The Cocktail of 2017

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How popular is pink wine? Judging by the slew of rosé-based cocktails that have emerged all over the country this summer, it's bound to be a record-breaking year.


Its origin is hazy, but suddenly there’s an entire realm of cocktails known as “Frosés.” Hand in hand with the explosion of interest in pale pink wines, a slushy concoction with rosé wine as its base has emerged. Frosé is often blended up with strawberries, raspberries, watermelon or any other fruit that enhances the color – pink, obviously – and flavor. Add in a little dry or rosé vermouth, perhaps some vodka, and the Frosé is on its way. And now that simple mix has is taking on new ingredients as bars strive to make their versions unique.

This summer, the drink and numerous offshoots – including those without a touch of rosé – just kept coming and coming. After all, when a drink takes center stage among the refreshments at Lollapalooza, as the Cupcake Vineyards-sponsored frozen beverage made with watermelon and strawberry did, it’s officially a thing.

New York City’s Bar Primi serves a version that’s simple enough: Sicilian rosé and rosato vermouth blended with strawberries. Poke around, though, and you’ll find endless versions. Tupelo Honey in Denver offers the Cherry Bomb Frosé: rosé, mint, lemon, maraschino liqueur, bourbon and cherry juice. In another part of town, The Infinite Monkey Theorem makes Rosé Wine Slushies; they added rosé popsicles as summer wore on.

In downtown Los Angeles, Upstairs at the Ace Hotel typically features one rotating frozen drink on its menu. This summer Upstairs served the Pear Se, a Frosé made with rosé, vodka, blanc vermouth, lime and prickly pear. At Mastro’s Ocean Club in Malibu, it was the Frosé All Day: rosé, grapefruit, peach, and lemonade.

Summer brought an avalanche of Frosés to Chicago. At Saint Lou’s Assembly, the rosé, gin and grapefruit juice slushie was garnished with raspberries, while rooftop bar Boleo located atop the Kimpton Gray served a version made with pisco, rosé, Cocchi Rosa infused with passionfruit green tea, and strawberry pink peppercorn syrup. The Joy District version – the White Girl Frosé – was made with rosé, Effen vodka, lemon juice, and strawberry purée.

At Ironside Bar & Galley, they went all in on two trends, uniting frozen rosé with the so-called “brosé” phenomenon. (Brosé is the name given to the trend of men gathering at happy hour to sample pink wines.) Ironside’s riff was the Frosé Brosé: rosé wine, Gancia Americano Aperitivo, lemon juice, and Red Bull Yellow Edition, also known as “the tropical Red Bull.”

Frozen drinks haven’t really made much of a dent in the cocktail renaissance save for Tiki bars, until now. Due to a few bold operators willing to risk losing their craft cocktail trends by filling efficient frozen drink machines with contemporary recipes that bring in herbal, bitter and more intense flavor notes, they’ve begun carving out a niche for themselves. But with rosé proving to be such a big seller, creating summer quaffs that keep their cool and can be served swiftly to patrons sweltering on busy summer patios seems like a no-brainer. Many operations that employ the already-pink hued aperitivos like Aperol and Campari in wine cocktailss have found that it doesn’t take a lot more work to batch them in advance for some form of slushie or frozen service.

Expect to see the trend blow up even further next year, as creative drink builders look for even newer ways to go pink and icy.

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