Claret Cup


Recently I was talking to my husband and mentioned that I thought it was silly for food bloggers to post about smoothies. I mean, you really don’t need a recipe for a smoothie, and besides – it’s just a drink.

And then he reminded me that I post cocktails on my blog. Touché! But, in my defense – they’re cocktails. They’re important. We don’t drink smoothies when it’s five o’clock somewhere.

So this recipe is for a cocktail called a Claret Cup I’m using from this Gourmet compendium cookbook.

I googled the name claret cup because I had a feeling it was a very old-fashioned drink, and indeed it is. It was fashionable in England in the 1800’s, in fact. Furthermore, according to this fabulous website, called The Art of Drink, there is a “striking resemblance” to Pimm’s Cup, which I made here on my blog.

The drink eventually made it to the U.S., then died down in popularity. Maybe I’ll start a new trend?

The recipe in the Best of Gourmet cookbook calls for 2 bottles of wine. Specifically, claret. Since I was only making the drink for two, I opted for 2 cups of wine, and adjusted the recipe accordingly. I hope. Unfortunately, unless I make the punch for a crowd, I’ll never quite know what it’s supposed to taste like.

I chose a Shiraz, but tasted it on its own and was not impressed. If you don’t like inferior wine, don’t buy this Layer Cake Shiraz.


Claret Cup

2 cups red wine, preferably from the Bordeaux region of France
1 1/2 ounces orange liqueur
1 1/2 ounces crème de cassis
1 ounce ruby port (the original recipe listed tawny port)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sweetened lime juice, purchased
Bubbly water


In a small pitcher, pour in the red wine. Then add the orange liqueur and crème de cassis. Measure the port and add that to the wine mixture.
Then stir in the lemon juice and sweetened lime juice. Stir and taste. You could always add some superfine sugar if you think it’s not sweet enough, or a little more port.

Pour some into and glass and top with bubbly water of your choice. San Pellegrino comes to mind, but I used bubbly water made from my Sodastream machine. I used about 2/3 wine mixture and 1/3 bubbly water.
Serve with a slice of lemon.
Alternatively, chill the wine mixture and the bubbly water first, and then serve cold, or forget the bubbly water and just serve this over ice. It would be very refreshing this way.


verdict: This claret cup is very different in flavor from a Pimm’s cup, but there are some sweet and fruity similarities. Using this recipe exactly, I thought it came out really well – more like a sangria – because it’s essentially sweetened wine. You could really play with the liqueurs and make it more raspberry using Chambord, or make it more orange using Grand Marnier or another orange liqueur. But this drink is good. I seriously wouldn’t make it as a punch, just because of the spillage potential of this really red drink!

23 thoughts on “Claret Cup

  1. In defence of the smoothie bloggers, sometimes you hit on an usual combo that really works and want to share. I like your claret cup, though I might save it for winter! BTW I strained the gingerbread liqueur yesterday, at first taste it’s seriously good!!! Thanks for sharing that recipe too, I now need let the barman invent!

    • Oh, I’m sure there are many smoothies that I would never have thought to make, but it doesn’t seem like cooking to me. Just like making cocktails – not cooking! But more fun to drink!

  2. I do like a smoothie recipe or two.. but nothing tops a beverage like this one:) I could use a little cup of this tonight. I was thinking it was a traditional drink, it’s neat how these cocktail trends circle round and what’s old is new again. I love mulled wine, so I’m sure I’d love the taste of this one!xx

  3. What a great alternative cocktail for the holidays, something besides eggnog and wassail and mulled wine. i am so glad you posted this. (I agree–a smoothie is a smoothie but you have to have a plan for the perfect cocktail!) :)

  4. This looks like something my dinner group might enjoy (it’s my turn this month…). I like that there’s no added sugar. The combination looks delicious!

  5. I served this at my dinner party. I messed up by saying people could add the sparkling water to suit their own taste. I should have figured that out myself (like.. followed your instructions). But people did enjoy it once they got it organized :) .I had a little left over and enjoyed it even better the next day served chilled with ice cubes and about half-and-half sparkling water. Next time, it will be awesome!

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