Who wasn’t considered boxed wine due to its low prices, when shopping for wine on a tight budget? Most wine drinkers stay away from boxed wine, as it has a bad press for many reasons. But if your intention is to make wine-based cocktails, then boxed wine (cheap wine) is a great option. Elizabeth Stark at Cosmopolitan has created a list of 10 fun and refreshing ways to make a box of wine taste amazing. Check out the recipes below.
Red wine and cola cocktails may sound weird, but they’re surprisingly good. Called kalimotxo, it’s a mixture of equal parts cola and red wine, a little ice, plus a squeeze of lemon to fancy things up. Think of it as a low-effort alternative to sangria.
2. Sparkling Water
Yep. It’s a spritzer — light, refreshing, and totally perfect for day-drinking by the pool. To make, 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
Giving wine the sangria treatment can make almost any vintage taste splendid. Bonus: You can stretch your booze budget even further. Start with 4 cups wine, 1–2 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 a hint of sweetness and loads of tropical flair.
5. Muddled Melon
Muddle several handfuls chopped melon with lime slices in a sweeter, light wine like white or rosé, and garnish with fresh mint.
Lemonade and white wine are a winning combination. Add equal parts lemonade and wine, plus some ice and a splash of sparkling water, and it’s like the Arnold Palmer’s slightly tipsy cousin. Use sparkling lemonade for effervescence bonus points.
Need a quick sip? 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
Feeling romantic? Over boxed wine? You are now.
9. Freeze It
Wine granitas: Believe it. Mix 1 cup wine with 2 tablespoons simple syrup, freeze, and then tuck into a refreshing, delightfully boozy dessert.
10. Blend It
Wine blender drinks are just like smoothies, only wine-ier. To make your own wine 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.