Enter the Winetail

Wine in cocktails: It’s on. Food Arts reports (article not available online, sorry) that the practice of subbing wine in for hard liquor is catching on in a big way, driven by a consumer craving for novelty, nostalgia for old-school drinks, and an interest in low-alcohol cocktails that delight without pickling their imbibers. The most intriguing blast from the past in the story is the Cobbler, a beverage comprising wine, sugar, shaved ice, and fresh berries; it’s said to resemble “an adult snow cone.”

Aside from winetails’ “old is new again” appeal, Food Arts points out that they can help restaurants with awkward liquor licenses transcend their limitations. Manhattan’s Little Owl operates within 200 feet of a school, meaning that hard spirits are off-limits. (This, of course, assumes that schoolchildren will sneak into bars and order hard drinks, but won’t go in for beer or wine because it’s not sufficiently hard-core.) The dubious logic of the 200-feet rule aside, wine cocktails such as a wine-based incarnation of a Pimm’s Cup now outsell beer at the restaurant.

Even nonimpaired establishments can groove to the selling power of winetails, reports the magazine. Last winter, the Ecco Sidro was the top seller at Buddha-Bar NYC. If you want to sling a Sidro of your own, it’s 1 teaspoon muddled ginger, 1 1/2 ounces apple cider, 1/4 teaspoon chai tea powder, and 2 ounces Ecco Domani Chianti.