Until recently, the only one reason I was aware of the term “wine in a can” is that it was adopted a few years back as the name of the arch-rival to my pub trivia team in Washington, D.C. My understanding is that they, in turn, adopted it from a gag in the off-beat TV sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
But there I was last week, checking out the sparkling wine cooler at Whole Foods, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a display of genuine wine in a can -- specifically, little 6-oz. minis of Sofia Blanc de Blancs from Francis Ford Coppola winery in California (founded by the famous director of The Godfather movies and named for his daughter, who is a director of note in her own right).
One of my little kitchen hobbies is experimenting with different cocktail recipes marrying sparkling wine with American whiskey -- variations on a longtime favorite drink called the Seelbach, a Kentucky invention that combines bourbon with triple sec, bitters and sparkling wine. The problem is that if you open a full bottle of bubbly to make these cocktails, you have to commit to making a lot of them in a short period of time, lest the wine lose its sparkle and go flat.
So when I saw those little red cans of Sofia, I was not thinking “greatest sparkling wine experience of a lifetime.” I was thinking that those cans would be just the perfect size for making a couple of sparkling wine cocktails.
And after experimenting with one of my own recipes -- the Chicago Humdinger, made with Chicago-made Koval Dark Oat Whiskey, Hum botanical liqueur, orange bitters and sparkling wine -- I can pronounce these little cans of wine as up to the task. Recipes for that drink and a couple of others can be found in this early Examiner.com post.
Standing alone, the Sofia blanc de blancs in cans (which, according to various Web entries, has actually been around for a few years) is more than passable, not something you’d likely break out for a formal dinner but kind of amusing for a more casual get-together. The fun factor is raised a notch by the fact that each can comes with one of those little extendable straws that also are commonly attached to juice boxes.