Photo: LeNell Smothers
With 2010 knocking at our door, our minds turn to Champagne, or at least sparkling wine since the stuff labeled "Champagne" ideally should come from the Champagne region of France. Although it's hard to believe, I have heard some people complain that they simply don't like Champagne. Are you planning on entertaining guests this New Year's Eve who fall into this category? Perhaps try serving them a sparkling red like bubbly Shiraz or a brutish dry Lambrusco. Or just take on the challenge and turn them onto Champagne cocktails by laying out an array of everything needed to make a variety of them.
Chill some Champagne or a good cheaper alternative, like a Blanquette de Limoux from France. Set out some spirits basics like brandy, gin, absinthe, Campari
, various liqueurs such as Chartreuse
pomegranate and orange liqueurs like Clement Creole Shrubb
or your favorite triple sec. Basically offer your guests whatever tickles your fancy and pleases your budget. Lay out sugar cubes and a spread of various types of aromatic cocktail bitters such as Angostura
, Peychaud's, Regans' Orange
, any of the Fee Brothers
or perhaps some of the Bitter Truth
line. Pick out a variety of flavors and allow guests to create their own Champagne Cocktail versions. Set out some lemons and oranges for wedges, twists and spirals. Let folks play. Happy New Year!
A playful Champagne cocktail recipe:
Place sugar cube in bottom of chilled Champagne flute. Dash some bitters on top of the sugar cube. Add no more than ½ ounce chilled liquor or liqueur of choice, which may be shaken or stirred with ice or pre-chilled in an ice bucket or in the fridge. You can also just drop an ice cube into your glass like bartenders of yesteryear would do. Pour a little chilled sparkling wine into the flute to prevent foam over. Let settle and then fill with bubbly. Garnish with citrus spirals, twists or wedges as desired.