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Wine Cooler

Wine cooler is a kind of mixed drink created by combining wine and fruit juice. Some quantity of carbonated soda along with sugar is also used as an ingredient. The drinks were categorized as homemade beverages earlier but have been marketed by various commercial winemakers since 1980. The coolers have been profitable in countries which have stringent laws on alcohol consumption.

The wines used in the coolers are not of superior quality as their subtle flavor and taste is often overshadowed by the sugar and fruit juices added. Some of the wine manufacturers did away with the wine altogether in the cooler substituting it with a cheaper form of malt instead after USA raised the excise on wine by five times in 1991. Although known as wine coolers, these malt-based drinks are a different kind of beverage altogether and are also called malternatives and malt coolers.

Germany introduced the wine cooler in 2004 when the government increased the excise duty on the marketing of alcopops.

The actual content of alcohol in a cooler varies according to its recipe. However, the total value never exceeds 10% with most commercially selling cooler beverages containing around 4%-6% of alcohol.

History of Bar Wine Cooler

The homemade cooler gave way to the commercial wine cooler in the 1980s when California Cooler hit the US market. It was initially available in orange and other citrus flavors in combination with white wine and carbonated water. Bartles & James came out with their own version of cooler named, “Original” in 1985 which soon became the leading brand courtesy its innovative advertisements.

The nineties saw a decline in the production of coolers with the California Cooler ceasing its production.

Ingredients and Preparation of Bar Wine Cooler Drinks

A number of fruit juices preferably citrus juices are used to make a cooler. Adding white or sparkling wine is often expensive but can enhance the taste considerably. Granulated sugar and carbonated soda are the other ingredients required for preparing an ideal cooler drink.

Red wines and 7-Ups are often added by the bar tenders when the cooler is prepared at home or at a social gathering. The commercial coolers have fixed ingredients and can be consumed straight from the bottle or served on ice.

Lemon wedges and orange slices along with whole berries and cherries are acceptable garnishes for the cooler beverages.

Adding fruit pulps, soft drinks and even cola based drinks or chocolate and coffee liqueurs is permissible as the wine cooler beverages do not have any standard recipes.

Popular Wine Cooler Brands

  • California Coolers- The company ceased its production in the early 90s but was resurrected in 2007. White peach, grapefruit, pomegranate and coastal citrus are the popular flavors marketed by the company which still uses wine instead of malt to make coolers.
  • Bartles & James- The modern cooler drinks from this leading brand are actually malt coolers available in fuzzy navel, margarita, exotic berry, sangria, mojito and strawberry daiquiri flavors.
  • Seagram’s Escapes- is also a malt cooler drink with flavors ranging from Bahama Mamma, calypso colada, Jamaica Me Happy and other exotic sounding names to the standard margarita, strawberry and daiquiri flavors. This brand markets the highest number of cooler flavors leaving its compatriots behind when it comes to a wide range of choice.

Bar Wine Cooler Drinks: Variations

  • Boston Cooler- A combination of vanilla ice cream and Vernors Ginger ale, it is blended like a thickened milk shake.
  • Ice-cream Soda- Scoops of ice-cream added to a soft drink or carbonated soda containing flavored syrup.
  • Slammer- A combination of Seltzer water, orange sherbet and vanilla syrup marketed by Friendly’s chain. It was known as a Sherbet cooler initially.

Bar Wine Coolers: Nutritive Value

The calorie count of a wine cooler drink varies from 150 to 210 which is enhanced on addition of grenadine or sugar syrups. The fruity flavors are often diluted by adding water and the amount of actual fruits or pulp is negligible not contributing much to the nutritive value of the beverage. Most of the calories in a cooler drink come from carbohydrate as it does not contain any fat. However, the metabolic process of the body might be slowed down if the cooler drinks are consumed regularly which hinders weight loss.


A wine cooler or any other form of alcohol based fruity drink cannot be sold by grocery or convenience stores in Utah which has one of the strictest liquor laws in the country.