When you own a winery with an accompanying restaurant, you have lots of options for bottles to pour into creative concoctions.
“My winemaking philosophy is ‘winemaking by design’—that every aspect of the process from grape to bottle is one of deliberate contemplative actions,” notes Andy Codispoti, winemaker for Gervasi Vineyard. The Canton, OH, also operates a 120-seat Italian bistro. “Our wines can be enjoyed either as a cocktail or as an accompaniment to our fine cuisine.”
The restaurant offers six cocktails, priced $7 to $12, that feature Gervasi wines. The GV Manhattan combines guest’s choice of whiskey with GV Santa (the winery’s take on a tawny port), garnished with three cherries soaked in brandy and an orange twist; staffers suggest it with short rib sliders.
The Truscosmo was created by a manager as a twist on the standard Cosmopolitan; it mixes the guest’s choice of vodka with GV Truscano wine (a red blend), cranberry juice and lime syrup, garnished with a lime twist.
“Red wine can make very interesting dry cocktails that are not typical on restaurant menus,” says Gervasi’s destination food and beverage director Gretchen Wendell. “We keep getting stellar feedback from a twist on a Jack and Coke, selling it as a Cab and Coke with a dash of bitters in a rocks glass.”
The flavors of green apple and honey in the sparkling white lambrusco-style wine mix well with light spirits for Martini variants. As far as experimenting with grapes in the shaker, Wendell suggests being unique, staying true to your brand and thinking outside the box.
“We recently experimented with a Caramel Macchiato Martini and added a pinot grigio float—our guests raved about it!”