“I drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.” ~ Madame Lilly Bollinger
The term “Champagne” is used to refer to sparkling wine produced exclusively within the Champagne region of northeastern France, from which it takes its name. Period. Everything else should be referred to as sparkling wine (for a more thorough explanation, click here.) Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about one of my absolute favorite drinks – bubbly.
The way to identify a good champagne is to examine the size of the bubbles in the glass. Bubbles from a fine champagne are very small; bubbles from a lesser-quality sparkling wine are larger and look like soda bubbles. This is important because you can use a less expensive sparkling wine when making a champagne-type cocktail, and save the good stuff for sipping as is. Believe me, I wish I could afford to always drink Dom Perignon, Perrier-Jouet or some other top-notch champagne, but I can’t. That’s life. However, every now and then I will splurge for a bottle in the $35-$60 range for a special occasion, and am rarely disappointed.
“There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.”- Bette Davis, Old Acquaintances
I think my most favorite “mixed” drink in the world is a mimosa. I feel like I’m being good by having my vitamin C in this oh so delightful drink. It has to be healthy with the orange juice, right? Mimosas are so easy to make. I start with an inexpensive bottle of sparkling wine ($12-$15 or so range) and add low to no-pulp orange juice. Depending on my mood, sometimes it is equal parts of each; other times I do a ¼ OJ to ¾ bubbly split. My advice is to experiment until you find your favorite mix.
I also love Bellinis, a wonderful concoction that makes great use of Prosecco (an Italian sparkling wine) and peaches. This drink is awesome in the summer when peaches are ripe. Click here for an easy recipe for this refreshing cocktail.
A couple of years ago I tried a festive poinsettia cocktail at a Christmas party and was so happy to discover a different take on a champagne “mixed” drink ! I make this with sparkling Rose, cranberry juice and Cointreau liqueur. Here’s my recipe, but as always proportions are up to you. Also, you don’t need to use the Rose bubbly – any sparkling wine will work.
Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail
- ½ oz. Cointreau
- 3 oz. cranberry juice (I use Ocean Spray light)
- Sparkling Rose wine
- Fresh raspberries
Chill a champagne flute. Add the Cointreau and cranberry juice. Fill the glass with the Rose. Garnish with a raspberry or two. Drink and enjoy!
This New Year’s Eve we will ring in the new year with a nice Veuve Clicquot. And with that, I toast all of you who have followed my blog this past year and hope all of you have a happy and healthy 2012! As always, please be responsible when drinking and driving.
Happy New Year, y’all!
Eat, drink and be merry!