Monday, December 31, 2012

Have a Sparkling Night
















To some purists, the mixing of champagne/sparkling with anything might seem unthinkable. For cocktail lovers, champagne/sparkling wine becomes a choice ingredient with which to add other interesting flavors. If you've been a fan of Sip for awhile, you know how i feel about the beautiful Bellini. We're going to try and go a bit beyond the Bellini, because with champagne/sparkling in your flute you have tasty options with those tiny bubbles. 

Go ahead, be a mixologist with your Mountain Dome. There's no more sophisticated way to get a party going. Simply add fruit to anything that fizzes and you’ve got a drink in your hand that’s been a hit for hundreds of years. In the mid 1800’s the classic ‘Champagne Cocktail’ was all the rage at dinner parties and soirees. Today these sparkling cocktails are as hip as ever in wine bars and sexy lounge-eries.

In Spokane, a perfect place to sip some bubbly is swanky Peacock Lounge in the decadent Davenport Hotel. Hopefully, you can find the live and local sounds of Karrie O'Neill, Mon Cherie or Hot Club of Spokane. You or your date have a fabulous retro dress on from Finder's Keepers. Possibly, you just got done catching a concert at the Fox. Okay, maybe I was born in the wrong era, but champagne/sparkling are timeless and this swanky era is back in style.

Here's the classic Champagne Cocktail recipe from the from the Metropolitan Hotel, New York City circa 1935:

Champagne/Sparkling Classic
• 1 cube sugar
• Angostura bitters
• Chilled champagne
Soak sugar cube with a couple of good splashes of Angostura bitters and place in the bottom of a large champagne flute. Fill slowly with sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon twist.

In the bar business, a mere drink turns into a cocktail when the mixture starts to get more complicated and the mixing of flavors more subtle and sophisticated.

Here are a few true champagne/sparkling cocktails to choose from:

French 75:
Shake with cracked ice, 1-1/2 ounces of dry gin, fresh juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 tsp. powdered sugar. Pour into glass with ice cubes, fill with sparkling wine. Add a twist of lemon peel.

D'Artagnan:
This is classic cocktail territory. A splash or less of three or four ingredients takes planning to make repeatedly – on demand. 1 tsp. brandy 1 tsp. Grand Marnier 3 tsp. orange juice 1/2 tsp. simple syrup 5 ounces sparkling wine Orange peel, cut into long thin strips.
Chill the first four ingredients in a mixing glass and strain into a flute glass. Top with the Champagne/Sparkling and add long strips of orange peel.

Queen's Cousin:
Combine 1 ounce vodka; 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier; 1/2 ounce of fresh lime juice and 1 tsp. Triple Sec Gently add 3 ounces of well-chilled sparkling wine. Top with 1 drop of Angostura bitters.

Maimoun:
As made at the Churchill’s Piano Bar in Marrakesh, Morocco. Combine 1/3 ounce Amaretto, 1/3 ounce fig alcohol, 4 ounces of brut sparkling, and a drop of mint syrup. Clearly, this takes a lot of pre-planning as you have to soak figs in vodka and make your own simple syrup with mint but it’s exotic and damn tasty.

Mountain Dome's Cuvee Forté is one of our very, very favorite local wines.
Tiny little elegant bubbles, fine body and such depth.
The nose has hints of tangerine rind, honeysuckle, freshly baked croissant, and vanilla. This is another one when we actually taste everything suggested.
Flavors that dance in your mouth that range from apple, pear, and creamy starfruit to spicy citrus and white peach. Finish is long and polished, adding citrus peel to the mix.
It is not just for special occasions. You can make any day a sparkling one with Cuvée Forté.

Cheers, Sip

Sip Tip: Great champagne/sparkling wines stand apart, to be enjoyed on their own.
Champagne/sparkling wine should always be served chilled, preferably at about 42-45° F.

(Art by Leroy Neiman)
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