The Best Sparkling Holiday Cocktails
Years ago, as I was developing the set of tenets by which I live, I put in place a very firm piece of my personal code of ethics: My refrigerator shall always contain a chilled bottle of sparkling wine. It doesn't have to be French champagne (in fact, often, it's quite-affordable Cava or something produced locally), but it has to have bubbles, and it has to be ready. In this world, we spend so much time preparing for the worst that this small gesture, to me, is a way of shaking my fist in the face of everything bad in the world and preparing for the best.
The only time there isn't a bottle of sparkling wine in my refrigerator? The morning after the celebratory stand-by has been popped, of course.
On New Year's Eve, certainly for the toast at midnight, most people will reach for a glass of sparkling wine (or, for those who don't partake, perhaps a glass of sparkling non-alcoholic cider). But leading up to that toast, sparkling wine can also serve as part of a wide variety of bubbly and delicious cocktails. Here are some ideas that would work for any holiday celebration:
Stephanie Stiavetti of Wasabimon provides a list of "a few champagne cocktails that rock my socks," including Death at Dusk, which features absinthe and Creme de Violette; French 75, which incorporates gin ("Whoever thought of mixing gin with champagne was a smart man or woman, and I am forever in their debt," Stephanie says.); La Vie en Rose, which she describes as "girlie," and The Pomosa, which she describes as an excellent day-after hair-of-the-dog recipe.
Serious Eats intern Kerry Saretsky describers herself as a fan of all things almond, including Good Humor's Toasted Almond ice cream bars and rainbow marzipan cookies. She brings that almond love to bear in The Toasted Almond, a cocktail that combines Amaretto, champagne and almond sugar.
If you're a fan of cranberry juice, the Poinsettia Cocktail featured on Andrea's Recipes might just be the way to go. A refreshing concoction of orange liqueur, champagne and cranberry juice, Andrea describes it as "light, fresh and easy to sip."
Erin at A Crafty Lass combines St. Germain elderflower liqueur with sparkling wine for a "quite sophisticated and unusual" cocktail. "Simple, chic, very French," Erin says.
Anita at Married With Dinner provides an interesting history of the Kir Royale, a delicious and celebratory cocktail that she describes as "the perfect party drink," due to its lower alcohol content and forgiving recipe. She also featured the Firelight, which would work with any sparkling wine, but looks best when mixed with a dry rosé sparkler. And if you're looking for an incredible round-up of sparkling wine cocktails, you can't go wrong with her list of libations that include classic and new recipes featuring everything from bourbon to plum puree.
How do you prefer your sparkling wine? Straight up? Mixed? Share your favorite stories of sparklers in the comments below.