New ways to consume Roussillon Fortified Sweet Wines
New ways to consume Roussillon wines are expanding thanks to the growing success of mixology in France and on most export markets. Cocktails with Rivesaltes Ambré like the Riv’Tonic are promoted in the Summer during festivals or bartender educational seminars. Muscat de Rivesaltes is also increasingly consumed “on ice” to offer a refreshing beverage where ice reveals the aromas and crispiness of the grapes.
In the USA, specially crafted recipes are being developed by bartenders like Damien Aries from the Experimental Cocktail Club in NY or H. from Elixir Bar in SF.
Try H’s Ambre Classic recipe:
2oz Rivesaltes Ambre
1oz VSOP Cognac
.5oz Reserve Sweet Vermouth (ie. Carpano Antica)
1 dash DeGroff’s Pimento Aromatic Bitters
Wide orange twist
In a mixing glass, add all ingredients, fill with ice, stir well and strain up into a cocktail glass. Garnish with orange oils expelled from a wide twist and drop twist in glass.
The oxidized nature of the Rivesaltes Ambre brings enhanced raisin, fig and earthy notes to the bright minerality and acidity of the muscat wine, which blends beautifully with cognac (in my mind, the go-to spirit for raisin and fig notes) the 2:1 ratio allows the wine to shine with enhancement from the spirit. Just a touch of vermouth and allspice hints at a Manhattan-styled classic cocktail with touch of this dry, focused bitters drying out some of the sweetness perfectly. Don’t overdo the vermouth or bitters or you will drown out the wine’s influence on the cocktail.