Moscato Wine, Rap Superstar in a Highball

Innocent Bystander Moscato wine

What is Moscato wine? Sweet wine for sugar daddies if rapper Drake is to be believed. In Do It Now he raps: “Lobster and shrimp and a glass of moscato, for the girl who’s a student and her friend whose a model.” Hey! Serving alcohol to minors is illegal people even if it’s a relatively low-alcohol wine (i.e. 5% vs. a typical 12% alcohol by volume wine).

Moscato wine has the same alcohol profile as beer (also 5% ABV, see link for more details on Moscato wine calories and alcohol equivalents). Even if it tastes sweeter and is more palatable to young people, it’s definitely for adults, not for taking advantage of children.

With that said, it’s also “Mommy’s Little Helper” (i.e. relatively harmless stress reliever for moms). Or, as puts it:

this is a wine we can imbibe at lunch, with the girls, and still be legally able to drive to collect the kids from school.

which is true, check the legality of this for your state at

Moscato has been enjoying a huge spike in popularity for the last few years. Whether because of its rap star status or Americans’ sweet palates (for example Americans’ love of sugar and high alcohol resulted in the Zinfandel craze about 20 years ago) 2010 Moscato wine sales in the United States surged by 100.7% compared to the previous year. Barefoot Vineyard’s moscato wine sales jumped in 2010 from 3.3 million dollars to 31 million, according to MarketWatch. Sutter Home doubled its moscato sales for the same period to 37 million dollars. And Woodbridge, owned by Robert Mondavi, boosted its own sales by 10 times, hitting two million dollars.

All of this hoopla over a wine that’s been around since the end of the 16th century. Known properly as Moscato d’Asti an Italian wine, it is made from what may be the world’s oldest cultivated wine grape, Moscato Bianco, or by the French name Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. It is a light-bodied, light-colored, lightly effervescent (frizzante), sweet white wine which typically has melon and apricot flavors and aromas.

Note: Other varieties of the Muscat grape can be used to make this wine, in the case of Innocent Bystander, Muscat Gordo Blanco and Black Muscat are used and it’s pink because of the wine’s very short contact with the skins of the Black Muscat grape during vinification.

Moscato Bianco can be vinified in a number of styles: It can be a rare, rose-scented dry wine, or a syrupy dessert wine. Moscato d’Asti is in the middle of the spectrum. But, don’t confuse it with Asti Spumante also made with Moscato Bianco and from the same region of Piedmont, but a wine that has undergone a full secondary fermentation resulting in more pronounced bubbles, a little more alcohol (about 7% ABV) and a little less sugar, and a less complex flavor.

Bottle of Moscato Wine and Glasses

Moscato is a versatile wine, which can be enjoyed in a traditional wine glass, or, as it is popularly enjoyed in Italy, in a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Another popular way to serve Moscato is in wine-based cocktails (especially as a replacement for champagne), such as the Limoncellato. Moscato is a wine meant to be drunk young, and one should never purchase bottles older than one year beyond vintage.


  • 1 oz. black cherry rum
  • 1/2 oz. Il Tramonto Limoncello
  • 1/2 oz. pure cane syrup
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 oz. Luccio Moscato d’Asti

Fill a pint glass with ice. In a separate shaker, combine the first 4 ingredients, cap and shake for 5 seconds. Strain into your pint glass. Top with Luccio Moscato d’Asti. Garnish with a lemon twist and a straw. Go sip by the pool.