Once relegated to the darkest corners of the bodega cooler (and the 1980s), ready-to-drink wine coolers are making a comeback, and the timing couldn't be more perfect. No longer a questionably "wine-like" beverage concocted from fake flavoring and malt booze, the new generation of spritzer is made with ingredients you can pronounce—and the newcomers are making a delicious splash. Leading the way is a grapefruit-laden delight from Momofuku wine director Jordan Salcito, and the California-made Hoxie Spritzer is following right behind. Both are special enough to earn a spot on the bar. Pop a can and call it a party, or toast the good old days and add a scoop of orange sherbet.
All-star sommelier Jordan Salcito, of star chef David Chang's Momofuku restaurants, was craving a delicious wine cooler that didn't suck. Such a thing didn’t exist, so she did what all phenoms do: She saw a need, and she created the solution. It wasn’t enough that the Master Sommelier candidate has her own wine label, Bellus, benefitting NGOs; it makes sense that her busy schedule would cry out for something ridiculously refreshing and easy to love. But any old spritzer just wouldn’t do: Salcito sources organically grown grapes for the wines, and the “flavoring”? It’s natural fruit juice, full of grapefruit-y citrus pop and with a vibrant coral color that’ll knock your socks off. The result is a mid-winter ray of sunshine, and whether you’re spending the season on the beaches in L.A. or huddled around the fire in Brooklyn, it’s a seasonally appropriate sipper that everyone can get behind (Kanye and Rihanna are fans). The 250mL can and low ABV makes it a perfect brunch companion, but don’t be afraid to break it out for cocktail hour: Add a few ounces of vodka to kick it into high gear.
BONUS: Those labels. Designed by Cherry Bombe Creative Director Claudia Wu, they’re just as punchy as the stuff inside.
Instead of calling Hoxie Spritzer a wine cooler, founder Josh Rosenstein much prefers the term he’s locked into the brand’s name itself: spritzer. The differentiation, he says, comes from the historical use of “wine cooler” to refer to, well, junk. Hoxie, by contrast, is simply a wine made with sparkling water and a kiss of natural flavoring. The L.A. chef found his way to bottled fizzy wine accidentally, when a bottle of seltzer ended up in the sangria bowl at a dinner party he was hosting. Fast-forward a few years, and bottles of Hoxie are being guzzled bi-coastally by savvy millenials who want something handcrafted and delicious without all the fuss. The spritzer is made from domestic ingredients and comes in two flavors: Hoxie Rosé, a zesty, zippy tipple that’s made with lemon and ginger; and Hoxie Blanc, made with lemon and linden for a more floral, mellow choice. Don’t add booze to this one: It’s meant for low-octane imbibing.
BONUS: If you’re over 21 and live in one of the 15 states Hoxie ships to, you can have one of their “cubes” of eight to 24 cans shipped right to your house.
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