COME QUICKLY! I’M TASTING STARS!
“I drink Champagne when I win, to celebrate, and I drink Champagne when I lose, to console myself.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
“Remember, gentlemen, it’s not just France we’re fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill
Hello again! Spring is in the air, and it feels like fall just began considering its been so dry here all “winter” in Vancouver. It’s Saturday afternoon as I write this from my sun-drenched patio…it feels like summer! A little refreshment might be in order…
To me, nothing combines thirst-quenching and celebration like some nice sparkling beverages. Effervescence brings something elegant and convivial to any occasion, and it need not be saved for that “perfect night” out. PrevailPrevail is a guide to the good times….and good times should be had all the time. Thats worth celebrating, be it Friday night’s dinner out, Tuesday lunch, or, ya know…for breakfast.
And while picking up a nice bottle of bubbly is always encouraged, sparkling cocktails are a simple, graceful and fun way to change it up, even with the most bare-bones bars. They can be very crowd-pleasing, which is great if you’re entertaining and want something easy to prepare that will also impress. Start with a French 75, a classic combination of gin, lemon, sugar syrup, and champagne. Citrusy and balanced, with a stronger-than-expected kick, this drink will please just about any guest.
But do you have your bourbon-loving friend over who – despite it being 28 degrees and humid out – insists on an Old Fashioned? Offer a Seelbach, a bittersweet symphony of bourbon, cointreau, sparkling wine, and seven dashes each of angostura and peychaud’s bitters. This simple, built cocktail is a new favourite of mine; alluringly translucent red in colour, bitterly spiced with a smooth finish, it is a wonderful balance of beauty and brawn. Not for the faint of heart, and you don't even need to watch Mad Men to try it.
Not quite a fan of the bittersweet but want to work your way there? Try a Negroni Sbagliatio. A lesser-known spin on the classic Negroni (gin, campari, sweet vermouth), the Sbagliato swaps in sparkling wine for the gin. It is a beautiful combination that, while being full of character and body, still sips nicely on a patio during the spring. This drink was originally made by mistake….with a busy bartender accidentally serving a Negroni with sparkling wine instead of gin and not realizing until the customer had approved the taste. Sbagliato, Italian for “mistake”, was the natural choice for the name.
The best part of sparkling cocktails is just how flexible they are. Whatever you have on hand can, alongside some bubbly, be made into a fantastic libation. Stocked at home for mojitos? Time to try an Old Cuban, with dark rum, mint, lime, sugar, shaken and topped with sparkling wine. You wont go back after trying this. Have flavoured vodka at home? Shake some up with some citrus and sweetener, top it up, and voila. The possibilities truly are endless.
Play around; it’s all fun and games, and rules are meant to be broken. You might even find yourself exclaiming with the same enthusiasm as Dom Pierre Perignon who, when tasting his newly created Champagne, announced to his fellow Benedictine monks to “come quickly! I’m tasting stars!”