Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sparkling Cocktails for New Year’s Celebrating

When I say champagne cocktails most non-cocktail nerds think mimosas. I like a good mimosa, but somehow I see them as a morning-time drink; a drink fitting for brunch on New Year’s Day. For your New Year’s Eve celebrations I offer three sparkling cocktails that are easy to make and sure to please.

I have experimented with many other champagne and sparkling cocktails in the past including what I called the “Off to the Islands” that I wrote about on Global Champagne Day. A simple blend of St. Germain, brut champagne or sparkling wine and grapefruit bitters, this drink WILL transport you somewhere warm and sunny. The full recipe is at the bottom.

When using bubbly specifically to make cocktails I use inexpensive sparkling wines from outside the Champagne region. The reasons are simple. Firstly, cocktails are blends of flavors and using premium champagne means you won’t be able to taste the premium flavors and are wasting your money. Secondly, using lesser expensive selections mean you can buy more and thus make more cocktails. Once you start making them your fans line up quickly and running out is not something you want to have happen!

I had seen some print ads for Barefoot Sparkling Wine and knew from experience with their other wines that Barefoot offers excellent quality everyday drinking wines for a great value. When you can get them on sale at your local store you will do even better. As luck would have it their sparkling wines have been on sale at my local grocery store in the last two weeks, selling for $8.99 per bottle. Three styles were available to me, a Brut Cuvee, a Moscato Spumante and a sparkling Pinot Grigio. So far we have only popped the Brut. They also make a Rosé Cuvee and an Extra Dry.

Last week I saw a tweet about a sparkling cocktail named the “Jolly Old Elf” at the Celebrations At Home blog. (click for the recipe) The drink contains amaretto, cranberry juice and brut sparkling wine. Not having had the combination of cranberry and amaretto before the drink intrigued me. I bookmarked the link and with a trip to the grocery store already planned after I got off the bus, the bubbly I needed would be in my hot little hands very soon!

The “Jolly Old Elf” is a tasty drink with a luscious combination of fruit and nut flavors. I found I liked a bit more sparkle so using a larger glass worked better for me. Margot was on board with these from the first sip.

In preparation for this post I worked through two other simple sparkling cocktails including a replay of the “Off to the Islands” from above. I can’t get enough of St. Germain and sparkling wine. I think they are some kind of weird non-identical twins seperated at birth. They don't look alike, they don't taste alike, but they make you smile when you see them together.

The third one is a Sparkling Chambord Cocktail jazzed up with some orange bitters. The flavors of berry and citrus blend perfectly with dry sparkling wine. The color of this cocktail is an attractor, a deep purple with columns of small bubbles drifting up from the bottom of the glass.

Any or all of these cocktails will jazz up your New Year’s celebrations. If you normally have a bottle of bubbly waiting for the final stroke of the clock and the debut of the new year, these cocktails will be a nice warm up. In my experience bubbles promote conversation so these types of drinks also work well in mixed groups where not everyone knows each other.

However you imbibe this New Year’s Eve I hope you have lots of fun saying good bye to another year. Whatever you do please be safe. Starting a new year with a calamity from bad drinking choices is definitely never a resolution of mine!



p.s. Before I could even get this posted I got an e-mail from Food & Wine Magazine with a list of champagne cocktails. Most are a bit more elaborate than mine, but if you need more ideas…

{ Recipes }

Off To The Islands

1 oz St. Germain
4 dashes Scrappy’s Grapefruit bitters
Barefoot Brut Cuvee Sparkling Wine
Lemon twist

Mix and serve.

Chambord Cocktail

1 oz Chambord
4 dashes Regan's Orange bitters
Barefoot Brut Cuvee Sparkling Wine

Mix and serve.

St-Germain Liqueur


Kori said...

Thanks for sharing! I love champagne and it's always fun to try new cocktails, especially at holiday parties :) Happy New Year to you!

Kate @ said...

Great tips - thank you!

I also think of mimosas as a morning/brunch drink - like the morning of Xmas or New Year's day.

Happy New Year!

Evan @swEEts said...

We are going to have plenty of champagne for New Years but now you have me wanting to go out for all the extras to make these cocktails! :) I really want to try that barefoot champagne too! Happy New Year!!

Tastemonials said...

Happy New Year Jason. I'm not big on bubbly drinks, but I still have to select my wine for New Years dinner. We're headed to Napa and the least expensive bottle on the restaurant menu is close to $100, so we've decided to pay the corkage fee and bring something from our collection.

Winelady Cooks said...

Love bubbly cocktails. It's a great way to celebrate. Thanks for the recipes which I certainly will try, especially the Chambord cocktail.

Happy New Year!