Red Queen

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Cocktail History

The Red Queen is a modern cocktail that was created by the editors of PUNCH and was first published in their book Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails. According to the authors, the recipe, which was named for a line in “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane, was inspired by early 20th century drinks that turned to red wine as a base. This version pairs the grape-based spirit with American-made bourbon, the alpine Italian liqueur Amaro Braulio, lemon, simple syrup, and an array of aromatic garnishes.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Red Wine: This is a type of wine made with red grapes. We used Antigal UNO Malbec because it has a semi-dry flavor with notes of smoke and vanilla. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Karuna Karviva Unwined Non-Alcoholic Malbec-Inspired Wine in place of the red wine.

Bourbon: This is a type of whiskey made in the United States with at least 51% corn, grains, malted barley, and water. We used Wild Turkey 101 Straight Bourbon Whiskey because it has a deep oaky whiskey flavor. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Spiritless Kentucky 74 Non-Alcoholic Bourbon Whiskey in place of the whiskey. 

Lemon Juice: This is the liquid juice of a lemon. We used freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Simple Syrup: This is a sweetener made with white sugar and water. We made ours at home using Alex’s stovetop recipe.

Amaro Braulio: This is a liqueur made in Italy with bitter oranges, herbs, botanicals, florals, and alcohol. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Dr. Zero Zero ArmarNo Non-Alcoholic Amaro in place of the amaro.

Lemon Wheels: This is a slice of lemon that has been cut into a circular shape.

Sage: This is an evergreen herb with long, light green leaves that have a velvet texture.

Thyme: This is an herb with small leaves that grow in small clusters on thin stems.

Rosemary: This is an evergreen herb with fragrant needle-shaped leaves that grow on thick, woody stems.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Boston Shaker: This is used to shake ingredients. We used the Boston shaker from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Hawthorne Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is shaken. We used the A Bar Above Hawthorne Strainer.

Bar Spoon: This is used to stir ingredients. We used the Barfly Stainless Steel Teardrop Bar Spoon.

Paring Knife: This is used to cut ingredients. We used the OXO Good Grips 3.5 Inch Paring Knife.

Juicer: This is used to juice citrus. We used the ALEEHAI Manual Fruit Juicer.

Tasting Notes

The Red Queen features aromas of garden herbs and has a taste that is initially heavy with dry red wine followed by a combination of slight bourbon oakiness, menthol, herbs, and citrus. The aftertaste then goes down with more red wine bitterness accentuated by the amaro’s herbaceousness.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: This was a recipe that had us intrigued when we first came across it back in 2021, and now that we’ve finally tried it thanks to our procurement of Amaro Braulio, we’re glad we did. Kendall wasn’t as big of a fan as she expected to be even though she typically loves wine cocktails, but Alex thought it was very tasty.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

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Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Though red wine in a cocktail is a bit of a foreign concept to me, I was certainly open to trying it in this one. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was, with the dry tannins of the wine working against the sweetness of the bourbon and other ingredients and the lemon adding a nice citrus balance. The Amaro Braulio, which is the wildcard in this one, gave a nice menthol-tinged bitterness to the whole ordeal, and it really helped to set the drink apart even further from most. It’s a very interesting drink that I truly enjoyed, and as a wine lover, I would encourage others like me to give it a whirl.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“I honestly don’t know how to describe this recipe. We found it in the Winter Drinks book a year or two ago and have been wanting to try it ever since, but we couldn’t find Amaro Braulio for the longest time. Now that we have some, it turns out the Red Queen is similar to a red wine with a bitter amaro aftertaste. It’s really unique and worth making if you have the amaro on hand, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to buy a bottle just to make this. I was honestly a little underwhelmed by the drink overall.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails by the editors of PUNCH.

Sale
Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails
Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails
Hardcover Book; Editors of PUNCH (Author); English (Publication Language); 160 Pages – 10/02/2018 (Publication Date) – Ten Speed Press (Publisher)
$14.43 Amazon Prime

AuthorWinter Drinks

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 3 oz Red Wine
 1 oz Bourbon
 ¾ oz Lemon Juice
 ½ oz Amaro Braulio
 2 Lemon Wheels
 2 Sage Leaves
 2 Thyme Sprigs
 1 Rosemary Sprig

Method
1

Add wine, bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, Amaro Braulio, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball glass over fresh cracked ice.

4

Garnish with lemon wheels, sage, thyme, and rosemary.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 3 oz Red Wine
 1 oz Bourbon
 ¾ oz Lemon Juice
 ½ oz Amaro Braulio
 2 Lemon Wheels
 2 Sage Leaves
 2 Thyme Sprigs
 1 Rosemary Sprig

Directions

Method
1

Add wine, bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, Amaro Braulio, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball glass over fresh cracked ice.

4

Garnish with lemon wheels, sage, thyme, and rosemary.

Red Queen

Make It a Mocktail: Use Karuna Karviva Unwined Non-Alcoholic Malbec-Inspired Wine in place of the red wine, Spiritless Kentucky 74 Non-Alcoholic Bourbon Whiskey in place of the whiskey, and Dr. Zero Zero ArmarNo Non-Alcoholic Amaro in place of the amaro to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Shop Glassware & Tools

Find collections of cocktail glassware and bartending tools we recommend for your home bar in our Amazon shop.

More Wine Cocktails

If you like this wine-based cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Mistletoe & Wine Cocktail Recipe

Mistletoe & Wine: A bourbon and port wine cocktail made with half & half, maple syrup, Amaro Braulio, black walnut bitters, and grated nutmeg

Enchantress Cocktail Recipe

Enchantress: A brandy cocktail made with ruby port wine, orange curaçao, lemon juice, and a lemon peel

Coronation Cocktail Recipe

Coronation: A sherry cocktail made with dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur, orange bitters, and an orange peel

Stout Sangaree Cocktail Recipe

Stout Sangaree: An Irish stout beer and port wine cocktail made with nutmeg

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