I know this may sound crazy, but every so often you?ll discover someone who doesn?t like wine. You have two choices at this point: 1) Run away and never speak to them again, or 2) Convert them. You can go whichever way you choose but I prefer the second option. A great way to start the conversion process is to get their feet wet with wine cocktails.

It’s cold outside as I write this, so all I can think about are warm drinks to sip in front of the fire. Mulled wine is a great option for first time wine drinkers. To make it, all you have to do is heat a bottle of wine in a large pot on the stove and then add a little brandy, some cinnamon sticks, and quartered oranges and lemons. You can tweak it to your taste- add a little more brandy or a little less cinnamon to suit your fancy. A wine I love to use for mulled wine is the Bentgate Cabernet Sauvignon. It?s a nice bold wine that works well with brandy and cinnamon.  

Red wine hot chocolate is another great option for skeptical wine drinkers. It takes a little more effort than dumping a pouch of cocoa powder in a mug, but it?s well worth it. Red wine and chocolate are a classic pairing, and this really elevates a classic winter treat. Try it with any red wine, but especially with the Veronica Creek red blend.

If you?re going for a cold drink, sparkling red wine sangria is fun and festive. Sangria is another versatile drink that can be easily adjusted to fit your mood and tastebuds. You can literally throw anything you have into it and it will taste good- I made it once with leftover fruit and wine on the last day of a Grand Canyon rafting trip. I don?t know if it was actually good or if the environment made it special, but that may have been the best sangria I?ve had!

These are also great cocktails for parties and nights in with your friends (or a warm fire), not just for tricking your friends into enjoying wine. What?s your favorite wine cocktail?

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