It’s hard for us to imagine two more beloved treats than wine and chocolate. So we couldn’t resist combining the two into your newest favourite dessert! Red wine chocolate cake is sure to be your go-to recipe when looking for a decadent way to celebrate. And what is better for celebrating upcoming Mother’s Day? We love how versatile this recipe is; you really just need any dry red. And red wine is something we happen to know A LOT about. Put your favourite apron on and get baking!
How to Bake Red Wine Chocolate Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups dry red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Gamay would all work)
Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and lightly flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In a bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
Step 2 In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat for 2 minutes. Working in two batches, alternately fold in the dry ingredients and the wine, until just incorporated.
Step 3 Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack; let cool completely. Top with your favourite buttercream icing or dust with powdered sugar.
The Perfect Mother’s Day
Whether you bake this cake to share with Mom, or are lucky enough to have her bake it for you, we know finding the perfect Mother’s Day gift can be hard, which is why we’ve created easy, unique WineCollective wine packages just for Mother’s Day. If you really want to impress Mom, bake her a cake and send her a wine gift subscription. It’s an unforgettable way to spend time together and show how grateful you are.
The most magical time of the year is also often the most stressful. Luckily it’s also an amazing time full of joy and excitement. Finishing off 2021 on a high note with an intimate gathering of loved ones is sure to be a holiday highlight. We are here to help ease the stress of hosting and help you create easy, memorable moments this holiday season with simple recipes, wine pairings and cocktails.
1. Serve Holiday Hors D’oeuvres Paired with Your Favourite Wines
There is nothing that makes a festive gathering more memorable than delicious food. We’ve created three holiday appetizer recipes to pair with your favourite wines. Pick one or serve all three – your guests will definitely be impressed with your wine-pairing know-how!
Appetizer Recipes to Pair with Pinot Noir
Spicy-ish Honey Mustard Recipe
This honey mustard pairs great with Pinot Noir thanks in part to the sweetness from the honey. Its typical medium-body and medium-high acidity makes it an easy companion for food pairing, from duck to mushrooms. Adding our honey mustard to your favourite cut of meat will be a delicious partner to a glass (or two) of Pinot Noir.
Merlot is the ideal wine match for our mustard crusted lamb pops. The wine’s inherent sweetness works well with the umami of the lamb and the spiciness of the mustard. Merlot is a classic dinner wine that is typically universally enjoyed, so it is great to open up when having guests over.
Share this sweet and savoury Goat Cheese on your holiday charcuterie or as a light hors d’oeuvre, with a perfectly chilled Sauvignon Blanc. Both the cheese and the wine offer great acidity that don’t overpower one another. Sauvignon Blanc is appropriately citrusy and mineral-driven, which clears your palate for the next bite.
2. Serve Festive Wine Cocktails to Get Everyone in the Holiday Spirit
When it’s time to get people on their feet, dancing to the best holiday songs, it’s also time for cocktails! We created some incredibly delicious (and easy) wine-based cocktails for you to serve at your holiday party. They’re sure to put your guests in a festive mood.
Holiday Wine Cocktail Recipes:
Sparkling Wine French 75 Recipe
Served best extra chilled and with your most favourite sparkling wine. This is your chance to break out the cocktail shaker and impress your guests!
If you’re looking to keep things simple this year or maybe you’re hosting a few times throughout the year, keep your cellar stocked with a monthly wine subscription. WineCollective offers a number of subscription options – from 2, to 4, to 6 bottles per month – just choose all red or mixed.
To think we have made our way this far through 2021 already! How time flies. Many of us are well into holiday planning mode, now that we’ve long said our final goodbye to summer. It’s time to gather your dearest loved ones, and indulge in great food and even better wine. Follow along for some WineCollective holiday party wine pairings.
Although this is not a main dish or focal point during a cocktail party, this is a must-make at the beginning of the holiday season. It is great to pull out for a sandwich bar for a midday get together, amazing as dip for savoury meats, or on a charcuterie board.
This honey mustard pairs great with Pinot Noir thanks in part to the sweetness from the honey. Pinot Noir is also great with charcuterie and the many possible mustard-pairings you create.
1 c. Mustard Seed
1 c. Beer (stout or a heavier wheat beer)
1 c. Mustard powder
1 ¾ c. water
¾ c. White vinegar
¾ c. Apple cider vinegar
4 tsp flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp paprika
¾ c. Honey
Getting it done:
The night before you make the mustard, combine the mustard seeds and the beer in a bowl. Let them soak overnight. The next morning strain the seeds, use a mesh strainer as the seeds are quite fine, make sure to capture the excess beer into a measuring cup – you should have about 1/4 cup of excess beer.
Blend the seeds into a paste using a full size blender or hand blender, whatever is accessible or easiest for you.
Next is the easy part! Throw everything in a pot — except the honey. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat and allow it to come to a boil while you whisk everything together. Turn it down to low and set a timer for between 7 and 10 minutes. If you like really spicy mustard, you can turn it off at 7 and if you like it a little milder turn it off at 10 minutes.
Once the stove is off, you can whisk in the honey. Allow the mustard to cool for about 30 minutes in the pot before transferring into jars. Make sure that your jars have been cleaned thoroughly prior to use. In the fridge, this mustard should keep for up to 6 months, but we’re sure you’ll eat it all before then!
Lamb is lovely to serve over the holidays, as it has a unique flavour that pairs so nicely with holiday spices, nuts, and aromas. It is also a dish that warms you up and can be served both as a great main or in this case an awesome appetizer! In this recipe we use our homemade mustard. If you are not that adventurous, or just don’t have the time, any grainy or spicy mustard will do!
Merlot is a wonderful match for this mustard crusted lamb dish. Its inherent sweetness works well with the umami of the lamb and the spiciness of the mustard. A match made in dinner heaven!
1 rack of lamb
¼ c. Pistachio (finely chopped)
4 tbsp Mustard (homemade mustard or any spicy mustard will do)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper for seasoning
Putting it together:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare the rack of lamb by patting it dry with a piece of paper towel. Once it is dry it can be rubbed down with the olive oil and seasoned with the salt and pepper.
In a bowl place the finely chopped pistachios with the mustard. Mix together to form a paste. This paste can be spooned and spread around the meaty end of the rack of lamb. Make sure to spread the paste across the whole rack evenly, but try not to make the layer too thick. A thick layer might fall off during the cooking process.
Place the rack in a shallow baking tray lined with parchment, leaving uncovered while in the oven. Cook for 25 minutes for a medium rare rack. Once the desired cook is reached, remove from the oven and cover with a foil top for about 5 minutes to naturally finish the cooking.
To serve, slice the rack between each rib and display on a plate as you see fit. Serve with a small bowl or ramiken of mustard!
To round out your holiday party, offering a soft cheese with a crisp fruity kick is always a nice touch. This holiday season we have the fresh flavour of pomegranate with a little crunch from pine nuts to create this festive cocktail party pairing dish.
Share this delicious Goat Cheese on your charcuterie or as a light hors d’oeuvre, with a nicely chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. The acidity from both the cheese and wine are a wonderful match and Sauvignon Blanc is an adaptable wine that will suit the added pomegranate and pine nuts.
¼ c. Frozen pomegranate seeds
¼ c. Pine Nuts
⅛ tsp black pepper
⅛ tsp cinnamon
Goat’s Cheese Log (long)
Putting it together:
Remove the goat’s cheese log from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before working with it. It should be soft and malleable.
In a food processor using the stainless steel blade, pulse together the frozen pomegranate seeds and pine nuts until they are almost a powder. Add the pepper and cinnamon, pulsing a few more times to mix in.
Lay a piece of saran wrap flat on the counter, then pour the pomegranate and pine nut mixture on it. Spread it out (try and keep the edges of the saran clean of mixture, at least 1”), about the width of the goat’s cheese log and as far up the saran as you have mixture for.
Lay the goat’s cheese along the edge of mixture on the saran, width wise, as you have spread it out to fit. Pull the saran up over the goat’s cheese and start to roll it along the mixture. Since the goat’s cheese has been sitting at room temperature it will be malleable, so feel free to gently push along the saran as you are rolling to ensure the mixture attaches to the cheese. Display the cheese on any serving tray and serve with a cracker of your choice.
Share the Pair(ings)
Continue to explore the world of wine throughout the year with WineCollective. You can subscribe yourself, or gift a subscription to a loved one. Packages are delivered to your door every month and come with a new selection of delicious wines to taste, an interactive tasting guide, recipes and more!
Dust off your best cocktail shaker, break out the shot glass, and get ready to serve! We know the holidays can be an overwhelming time to create fun, new menus— that’s why we’ve put together three amazing recipes for the most delicious wine cocktails. We know your guests will love sipping these great drinks as you pass around great food and play your favourite games.
Sparkling Wine Cocktails to Serve at Your Holiday Party
Popping the cork isn’t the only fun part of sparkling wine! Nothing is more refined or enjoyable than a fancy sparkling wine cocktail. And the best part is: this one is so easy to make! Impress your guests by serving a Sparkling Wine French 75.
Squeeze and juice 1 lemon into the cocktail shaker. Do this over your hand or a strainer so that you catch any seeds. In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Strain into chilled champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a thin lemon peel, if desired.
Dry sparkling wine works best with this recipe. This allows you to add some bubbles, without adding any unnecessary sweetness. The drier the sparkling wine, the less sugar!
Red Wine Cocktails to Serve at Your Holiday Party
If there was a ranking for “most traditional holiday drink”, it just might be this one. Nothing says winter or holidays more than a steamy cup of mulled wine. This festive beverage has been around since the 2nd century and we aren’t surprised it’s stuck around! Warm and spicy in the best way, our mulled wine recipe will keep everyone feeling grateful.
Red Mulled Wine Recipe
Ingredients (serves 6):
1 x 750-ml bottles of Merlot
250 mL water
10 whole cloves
2 clementines or medium orange
2 cups fresh apple cider
4 apples (optional)
2 cinnamon sticks (and 6 for optional garnish)
1 tsp vanilla
Press the pointed end of cloves into each clementine/orange through the skin. Place clementines/orange, wine, cider, apples (if using), cinnamon sticks, and vanilla into a large pot. Bring to a slight simmer over medium-low heat, cooking gently for 20-25 minutes. Cover and let stand at room temperature. Rewarm gently over medium-low heat before continuing. Serve and garnish with a cinnamon stick and slice of apple, if desired.
Merlot is the preferred red wine for making mulled wine. This is largely because it is more fruit-forward, has higher alcohol content that can handle being cooked off, and typically has a bold flavour palate that can stand up to the spices.
White Wine Cocktails to Serve at Your Holiday Party
Looking to go a little beyond tradition? Mix things up with white wine Sangria — holiday-style. This refreshing, light cocktail is synonymous with warmer weather. We might be knee-deep in snow in most of the country over the holidays, but that doesn’t mean we have to avoid delicious Sangria. Add a seasonal twist to this white wine favourite and have your holiday guests asking where you got such a great idea!
Cranberry & Rosemary White Sangria Recipe
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
2 x 750ml bottles Pinot Grigio
1/4 cup sugar
250 ml sparkling water
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup cranberries
2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
3 rosemary sprigs
Garnish: rosemary sprigs
Chop apples into small cubes. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Stir together with a large spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve chilled and include fruit from the pitcher in each glass!
This refreshing yet festive sangria will be everyone’s favourite drink in no time. The Pinot Grigio is so light and bright, while the rosemary and apple cider adds some spice.
Holiday Party Cocktails to Remember
There is something special about visiting with loved ones this time of year. And nothing adds to a celebration quite like having a special cocktail in hand. We’re happy to share these recipes with you and hope to bring some extra cheer your way, in a glass, this holiday season.
If you want to develop your palate and continue to learn about wine, check out our monthly wine subscriptions. You can even send a wine subscription as a gift. Every month you (or your loved one) will receive a variety of new wines and an interactive tasting guide – delivered!