Famous Wines and Cocktails from Around the World

Whether you are a wine connoisseur or not and whether you wouldn't let anything past your lips that isn't a cocktail, we're sure that the subject of how and why these play such an important role in life is fascinating to many people.

The drinking of wine is now more in the mainstream than it ever was - hence the popular term 'wine o'clock' - and cocktails are enjoying something of a renaissance as well. So in celebration, as if excuse were needed, here is our pick of the most widely enjoyed wines and cocktails from around the globe.

Wines

Some wines are treated with reverence and command high prices while other wines are inexplicably held up for ridicule. We think that wine is very much like art; you may not know much about it but you know what you like.

Two names that embody either end of the spectrum would be Blue Nun and Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (known as DRC). Blue Nun is the much-derided Riesling wine that originated in Germany in 1921. It reached peak popularity in the UK during the 70s and 80s before falling out of fashion but has become acceptable once again. At the other end of the scale is DRC, an exclusive wine from a grand vineyard in Burgundy, France - the most expensive wine ever sold with a 2005 vintage fetching roughly $8000-16000 a bottle!

When it comes to something fizzy, Dom Perignon is probably the most famous sparkling wine and is the name on everyone's lips when it comes to champagne celebrations. However, Prosecco has to be the Italian sparkling wine of the moment in the UK having replaced Asti Spumante and Lambrusco in most people's affections.

If fruity wine is your preference then you can't go far wrong with the Blossom Hill range whether you like a Merlot or a crisp and fruity white. With the festive season coming up a bottle of Gluhwein, the German spiced wine, is sure to land on many tables.

Cocktails

No summer's day is complete without a jug of very British Pimms No 1 with fruit and cucumber. Evening cocktails could include the Kir Royale, a mix of blackcurrant puree, white wine and creme de cassis. How about a gin and Cointreau-based Singapore Sling or tequila-based Margarita for sophisticated gatherings. A rum Mojito is one that everyone knows and conjures up a Caribbean beach bar while no list of cocktails is complete without the Manhattan, with whiskey, Vermouth and a Maraschino cherry garnish.

Whatever your favourite tipple, why not try something a little more exotic next time you're ordering - you may find inspiration from overseas leads to a new foreign favourite!