Tag Archives: prosecco

Prosecco – 3 ways to a New Years Party…

Hey, everyone! Sorry about my forced hiatus recently! I had internet troubles whilst moving into a new house! I’m back up and running now though and just in time for New Years! So scroll on down and enjoy yourselves! Thank you all for your continued readership!


Enter the New Year in style with some fancy sparkling wine! Whilst you could go for an expensive bottle of Champagne, sometimes saving a little bit of money is a good shout…

Prosecco, generally speaking, is much cheaper than even a semi-good bottle of champagne. And if you head to a specialist wine shop, you’re more than likely to find a top end brand too!

The best example I’ve come across in the past few years is Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Prosecco Conegliano… It’s usually inexpensive and can often be nabbed when it’s on offer!

Below I give you 3 simple cocktails you can make for your new years eve party. At least to make it a bit more fun for your new-to-prosecco friends! The price detail really hits home if you have a party for more than just a few people!

Cocktail #1:

Prosecco & St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Ingredients:

30ml St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Top Up TTD Prosecco Conegliano

Method:

  • Using a standard champagne flute, gently add the Elderflower Liqueur into the bottom of the glass.
  • The simply top up with the prosecco.
  • Garnish with

Usually used at Christmas this simply made cocktail is perfect to capture the sweetness of the prosecco and pump it up into a sweeter-than-usual mouthful. The St. Germain Liqueur adds a floral note and really does make the prosecco go down easier for those with a sweeter tooth…

I tried this very recently at an italian restaurant with my girlfriend. It was delicious and should be available for everyone to try! My well-known bias for Licor 43 aside, this is my favourite cocktail in this post!

 

Cocktail #2:

Prosecco & Licor 43

Ingredients:

30ml Licor 43

Top up TTD Prosecco Conegliano

Method:

  • Pour chilled Licor 43 into a standard champagne flute.
  • Top up with the Prosecco and garnish with a twist of orange peel.

This cocktail is one I’ve wanted to try out for a long while and, thanks to my girlfriend, I was able to finally get hold of a full bottle of Licor 43. It’s a very sweet liqueur and can produce many a fine cocktail. But there’s something about this Prosecco & liqueur blend that captures my feelings for prosecco perfectly!

Prosecco, whilst sweeter than champagne, is still a little dry for my palate. But add enough of a sweet liqueur and you have the perfect balance of sweet and dry. Not to mention the addition of various subtle flavours (from the liqueur).

Licor 43 brings its blend of 43 different ingredients into the mix, but it mainly shows off the Citrus and Vanilla in this particular drink… Although there are some herbal undertones there for those with a keen nose…

 

Cocktail #3:

Prosecco & Creme De Peche

Ingredients:

25ml Creme De Peche

Top up TTD Prosecco Conegliano

Method:

  • Gently pour the Peach Liqueur into a standard champagne flute.
  • Top up with the Prosecco Conegliano…

This cocktail is very much like a mimosa, only it cuts out the fruit juice and uses an alcoholic peach liqueur instead. It has certainly got more bite, but like the other 2 drinks on this list, you get a balance to the dryness of the wine with the sugary liqueur…

This is one of the fruitier of the 3 drinks, with the peach flavour being very, very prominent throughout. Give it a try, and if it’s too sweet, try cutting it back with a dash of fresh lime!

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Sangria: A latin party maker and centrepiece to boot

sangria slowstruck

Here’s a little secret: Sangria is a perfect centrepiece for parties. Ok, so it wasn’tsuper-secret – most of you already knew that!  But do you know the best way to get the most out of your sangria recipes? No? Well, here is my guide to perfect sangrias every time…

Europe And Its Great But Terrible Sangria Obsession

To be faithful to my story telling roots (or, if you want to put it more bluntly, my rambling nature), I thought I’d start with a bit of history: about the origins of Sangria and, most importantly, about why wine takes centre stage in this universal favourite.

What are the origins of Sangria? Well done for those of you who answered ‘Spain’, but even more points for those of you who said Spain and identified the timeframe of 1700-1800’s. We know this historical period more commonly as the Middle Ages (think Game of Thrones, albeit a little less rose tinted – if that’s possible!). Sangria was created mainly out of necessity! Until the mid-late 19th century, safe drinking water was not as readily available as it is today; therefore, the people of the time looked for safer means of drinking.

Based upon the idea that alcohol kills off the harmful bacteria/nasty stuff that causes diseases like Cholera and Diptheria, alcohol naturally and literally became the only safe way to drink any water. In addition to the health benefits of this plan, it was obvious that certain concoctions would be socially shared (quite merrily, I might add).

As these potent mixtures gained popularity, they also accumulated added ingredients, and thus the first ‘Sangria’ recipes came to be. As milk was considered strictly for babies, and as water was more likely to kill you than keep you alive, this wine mixture was consumed en masse, and even given to young children – talk about an interesting childhood.

Traditionally, the typical Sangria consisted of several ingredients: wine, some type of brandy and fruit. This mixture – in one form or another – became popular across Europe for hundreds of years, and has eventually been refined into the modern Sangria we know and love so much. Introduced into the USA back in 1964’s World Fair in New York, Sangria really put Spain (and red wine, especially) on the map across the Americas.

To this day, traditional Sangria is still made using red wine, brandy and fruit, although sugar and fruit juices are generally both used as well.

But where do you begin with the preparation of your Sangria? What ingredients do you need to rustle up a crowd pleasing wonder? Well, before I share with you my easy-to-follow recipes, why don’t you quickly review this check list to get a basic Idea of the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Wine or non-alcoholic substitute.
  • Try using different fruit juices. Base fruit juices such as orange, apple, peach and grape are great possibilities.
  • Sugar: preferably unrefined brown/muscovado – it’s richer in flavour and is not as bad for you as the refined white cane sugar. Honey/Agave Nectar are also great substitutes.
  • Spirits: rum, vodka, gin, tequila and liqueurs – choose those that work best with the wine you’ve picked. For instance, try using tequila in a spicy style wine, and rum for a sweet one.
  • Fruits, Vegetables, Spices: Citrus Fruits(lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits), Orchard Fruits (plums, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines),Soft Fruits/Berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.), Exotic Fruits (dragon fruit, bananas, coconut, pineapple, kiwi, sharon fruit, lychee), Vegetables (cucumber, tomatoes, peppers) andspices (fresh red/green chili, ginger, jalapeno, cinnamon).

Once you have your plethora of ingredients, you can move on to the step by step guide below (here’s some free advice: for that added ‘special something’, try using locally grown seasonal ingredients; they will add much more flavour and you can direct your friends on where to acquire them).

How to Mix Sangria

sangria (1)
If your Sangria looks a little like this? You did good 🙂
  1. One giant leap

Start by mixing the wine, chosen spirit, juice and sugar together and then cover and chill for approximately 1-2 hours.

I find that taking your sweet time will result in a better tasting end product. Stir in the sugar until it is fully dissolved, and mix in your juices and spirits thoroughly.

Did you know? – Whilst traditional Sangria primarily uses red wine and brandy, you can use pretty much any type of wine and any spirit you like. Why not try rum and sparkling white wine (Prosecco/Cava/Champagne) or vodka and still white wine?

  1. Sugar and spice and everything nice

Now comes the best bit: adding your preferred flavours.

First, quickly stir your sugar/juice mixture then introduce your ready-prepared mix of fruits and/or vegetables and spices. You can use any fruit you like, so experiment and have some fun. Once the fruit has been added, cover and return to the fridge for another 2-4 hours

  1. The mid-season finale

Like any decent process, you need to check your progress half way through, so this step it designed to allow you to do just that. Remove the Sangria from the fridge, stir it extremely well to make sure the Sangria ingredients are combining well, and then cover and put back in the fridge for one final time (again for around 2-4 hours).

Did you know? – The best tasting Sangria can sometimes involve leaving the mixture in a fridge overnight to allow the fruit to settle into the alcohol, creating deeper, more meaningful flavours in the mixture.

  1. As cold as ice

By now you should have a large bowl/container/pitcher full of a very fruity and alcohol-laced chilled liquid. But it doesn’t stop there. You need to stir thoroughly before serving and have your carbonated mixer on hand (if you’re using one – you don’t have to!). If serving straight away, then ice isn’t necessary. But have a bag or two ready in case it’s a particularly hot day (or you plan on leaving it out all evening).

  1. Service with a smile

To serve, half fill a glass with ice, then top up with your chosen sparkling mixer!

Prosecco/champagne or lemonade make great mixers, but feel free to try any sparkling mixer you want.  I find orange soda works particularly well.

This 5 step guide is genuinely all you need to produce party-popping Sangria mixes every time. You can make non-alcoholic Sangria using  the same ingredients as detailed above. Whether alcoholic or not, your Sangria will be the envy of all your friends and before you know it, they’ll all be after your recipe.

Since it’s taken you nearly an entire day to create this masterpiece on your table, respect it and take every opportunity to enjoy every scent and sip. Did I mention it’ll keep, in a sealed container, for up to 24-48 hours depending on the fruit/juice used?

And, as I don my Etiquette hat for a small moment; A good host always remembers to be responsible when serving/consuming alcohol, and will check thoroughly that no one is allergic to the fruits/vegetables being used.

One Last Thought

I love to take the slower, more traveled path when creating a great cocktail.  I’ll go out and buy ingredients to make my own infused syrups rather than buying pre-prepared, lower quality products. This process scales elegantly in mixtures such as Sangria. Of course you can create a decent version in a couple of hours; but to really blow your guests away, use fresh juice, locally sourced ingredients, maybe something a little less known, and of course take your time preparing it. You should always treat Sangria like a joint of meat in a marinade – allow plenty of time for the flavour to develop.

Stay tuned for next time – I’ll have something a little seasonal once more, in the form of a very well known and historically charged topic: London Dry Gin.

Cocktails O’ Clock: Christmas with Champagne… Part 2

The alcohol fuelled cocktails…


Here, listed below, are some of the best cocktails you should be trying out this Christmas and New Year… Using French Champagne, Italian Prosecco and of course good old English Sparkling Wine these cocktails aim to add a bit of colour (and class) to your drinking experiences this festive period.

1.       Kitsch Revolt

Recipe:
1 measure absolut vodka
½ measure strawberry puree
Top up Laurent Perrier Champagne Brut
 
Method:
Combine the strawberry puree and vodka in a chilled champagne glass and then top up with well chilled champagne.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: this recipe is unusually suited for mass mixing. Combining the vodka and strawberry puree together and pouring and sharing between the required glasses really speeds things up.

Champagne: The best price you’ll find at the moment is at sainbury’s where you can save a whole £10 and nab a 75cl for only £26.99.

2.       La Siene Fizz

Food & Wine

Recipe:
1 measure Brandy
½ measure fraises de bois
½ measure fresh lemon juice
Dash of orange bitters
2 strawberries (hulled)
Sugar syrup (to taste)
Top up Marca Oro Prosecco
½ measure Grand Marnier

Method:
–          Muddle the strawberries and sugar syrup together in a cocktail shaker and then add all the other ingredients (except the champagne and Grand Marnier) and shake well.
–          Strain into a tall, ice filled Collins glass. Top up with champagne, float in the Grand Marnier and garnish with a strawberry on the glass’ rim.

Champagne: Available at Sainsbury’s for a very tempting £8.49 (75cl). A good choice for a budget sparkling wine and perfect with the fruit flavours in this cocktail.

3.       Kir Royale

kir royale

Recipe:
2 teaspoons crème de cassis
Top up Lanson Black Label Champagne Brut

Method:
Drop in the cassis and then top up with chilled champagne.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: for added sweetness, especially if you’re using a dry sparkling wine, try using a sugar cube to soak up the cassis and place that in the glass. The drink will become sweeter the more you drink. Top up as desired

Champagne:  On offer at Sainsbury’s, this champagne is £10 cheaper than normally, and for a limited time (no really, after Christmas I have a feeling they’ll be removing the offer rather quickly) it is only £23.99.

4.       Riviera Fizz

riviera fizz

Recipe:
1 ½ measures sloe gin
½ measure fresh lemon juice
½ measure sugar syrup
Top up Etienne Dumont Brut (Non-Vintage) Champagne

Method:
–          In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup and shake well.
–          Strain into a champagne flute and top up with the chilled champagne.

Champagne: This champagne, one of the bigger brands, is on offer at Sainsburys (check online to see if it’s available near you) at a very reasonable £13.49.

5.       Champino

Champino

Recipe:
1 measure Campari
1 ¼ measures Sweet Vermouth
Chilled Antoine De Clevecy Champagne
 
Method:
Combine the ingredients in a champagne glass and top up with chilled champagne.
 
Champagne: Sainsbury’s currently have this champagne on a good offer. Saving £9.99; you can grab a bottle at a fantastic £12.

6.       Cranberry Cooler (by sainsburys)

cranberry cooler

Recipe (serves 6): (build and serve)
150ml Gin
150ml Grand Marnier
330ml Orange Juice (smooth)
600ml Cranberry Juice

Method:
Combine in a large jug and mix well with a selection of fresh (appropriate) fruit. Spread among 6 ice-filled highball glasses and serve straight away.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: This drink’s recipe reads very much like a summer punch, except the flavours your end up with are very much winter-orientated.

7.       Apple & Berry Bucks Fizz (by sainsburys)

apple and berry bucks fizz

Recipe (Serves 12):
360ml Apple & Raspberry Juice
6 oranges
Sainsbury’s TTD Vintage Cava
Fresh Mint Sprigs

Method:
–          Add 30ml of the Apple & Raspberry Juice into a champagne glass and then squeeze half an orange worth of juice in as well.
–          Top up with the Vintage Cava and then garnish with the mint sprigs.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: When preparing fresh mint the best way to release the oils without damaging the leaf is to follow this simple to remember routine:
Place the mint leaves in the palm of your left hand.
Then with one swift and forceful motion clap your hands together.
This releases the oils and allows for applying the oils to the rim of the glass and also creates a fantastic fresh mint smell when you put your nose to the glass.

Champagne: This sparkling wine is a real bargain this time of year, especially seeing as, at full price, it is already a discount product. You can expect to spend around £7.49 right now (£9.99 usually).

8.       Christmas Cheer (by sainsburys)

christmas cheer

Recipe:
6 glace cherries
90ml Kirsch
Sainsbury’s TTD Prosecco Conegliano

Method:
–          Drop a cherry into a champagne flute and then add 15ml of the Kirsch.
–          Top up with the Prosecco.

Champagne: I’ve made no secret about this product being one of my favourite sparkling wines. Having used it several times for events and cocktails at home, it is perfect for both fruit flavours (such as a classic bellini) or straighter drinks such as this one. Prices can range depending on the time of year, but generally it costs around £9.99. It is available at this moment 25% off£7.49.

9.       Black Velvet (Tesco)

black velvet

Recipe:
880ml (1 ½ pints) Guinness
Top up Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Grande Reserve Champagne
 
Method:
Half fill the champagne glass with the Guinness and then top up with chilled champagne.
 
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: This cocktail is specifically built for particular taste, especially seeing as it uses Guinness. It’s a very eclectic tasting cocktail but the aesthetics of the drink is something a little different (and different is good).

Champagne: Now this champagne is one I’ve yet to try (I have a bottle unopened in my cabinet) but I’ve heard nothing but good things. Better still it is on offer at Sainsbury’s and if you’re quick enough you’ll be able to nab a free specifically designed Ice bucket. Price (if you’re quick):  £14.99!!!

10.   Raspberry Champagne

raspberry champagne

Recipe:
25ml Chambord
25ml Raspberry Puree
Top up Champagne
 
Method:
Layer the liqueur then the puree and finally top up with the chilled champagne.

Champagne: Sainsbury’s TTD Champagne is a bit of a jewel when it comes to cheaper champagnes. Supermarket wine/champagne buyers are extremely clued up when it comes to what’s good and what’s not. So you should definitely try this whilst it’s still on offer: £20.99.

Look out for Part 2 coming your way very soon… Oh and a very Merry Christmas to you all! CHEERS!

Now for the disclaimer: Let me apologise for one thing: Sainsbury’s. They seem to be the easiest supermarket whose online grocery website allows you to look at individual products in detail (as you’ll notice from the links in this post) as well as stocking the best sparkling wines (champagne or no) available. And so they are mentioned exclusively when it comes to pricing of the champagne/sparkling wine. I would like to point out that this post has not been sponsored, nor influenced by Sainsbury’s in any official capacity whatsoever.

Enjoy your Christmas and remember to drink responsibly. After all no one likes a let down…

Cocktails O’Clock: Inspired by…

Beijing, China

Brilliant by day, stunning by night: Beijing, China

I first came across this recipe a few months ago, back when I was researching champagne cocktails for my Champagne Cocktails post. This was one of the ‘best of the rest’ that, after trying again recently, I just have to share with you all…

The big difference is in the fruit chosen; Lychee in the place of peach and, as with the bulk of Cocktails that include the little alien-looking fruit, it does indeed include a garnish using the fruit…

The Beijing Bellini

Recipe:

1 measure Lychee Liqueur

1 Skinned, but whole, Lychee

Top up Sainsbury’s TTD Prosecco Conegliano

beijing bellini
Drop in the Lychee for that added oriental feel…

Method:

  1. Drop the Lychee in the Chilled Champagne Flute and cover with the Lychee Liqueur.
  2. Fill with the Prosecco.

This drink is both light and fruity, with the lychee giving an almost oriental feel to the otherwise European wine (a handy tip to make this a real oriental cocktail through and through is to try and find yourself some actual Asian sparkling wine (which might be difficult) as the taste improvement would be well worth it…

Cocktails O’ Clock: Negroni

Reacting to a classic italian cocktail…

Image
Courtesy of badassdigest.com

The Negroni, in cocktail terms, is ancient. It is one of the pillars of the cocktail world, along with the Manhattan and the old fashioned…

A staple on the menus of most cocktail bars, the Negroni works well on several levels, from the floral Gin to the sweet vermouth and the bitter Campari, this drink blends all of the individual elements together into a tasty little glass.

Recipe:

1 measure Campari

1 measure Sweet Vermouth

1 measure Gin

Orange Zest

Method:

–          Build the ingredients in a rocks glass filled with ice.

–          Garnish with a twist of Orange zest and stir well.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: to make this drink drier, try using a splash more of gin, or even substituting the sweet vermouth for dry/extra dry vermouth.

This cocktail is a classic and you should all know how to make one for your friends, especially if you’re having a cocktail party anytime soon. This is a drink is one of the rare drinks that I think are better left short and sweet. Given my preference to longer drinks I did find it a little strange to begin with, but the strength this drink provides is matched by the flavour combination.

The Negroni can be dated back to around 1910 (if you believe the stories) and was apparently used to strengthen another cocktail; the Americano. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous then why not join the trend of using the Negroni as a base, and use these rules:

Base Spirit (your preference) + Bitters + Vermouth (your preference) = Your Negroni.

Various versions of these Negronis can be found HERE. Otherwise check out these 3 rather different versions…

Tequila Negroni

Recipe:

1 measure Reposado Tequila

1 measure Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth

1 measure Aperol

A mexican style earthy-tasting version of a classic italian cocktail: The Tequila Negroni.

Method:

–          Stir over ice for 20 seconds.

–          Pour over ice in a rocks glass and enjoy.

–          Use a Lime twist should you want a fruity kick.

The use of Aperol means this drink is a little less bitter than when using Campari, but it works well and the tequila adds a real earthy taste to this version.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: As always, you should only use 100% Agave Tequila, and my preferred brand at the moment is Aqua Riva, but any 100% Agave Reposado Tequila will suffice.

Negroni Sbagliato (Wrong Negroni)

Recipe:

1 measure Campari

1 measure Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth

1 measure Spumante/Prosecco (Sparkling wine)

Sparkling and refreshing this ‘Wrong Negroni’ cocktail will help lift your spirits…

Method:

–          Build over ice and stir the first 2 ingredients.

–          Pour in the sparkling wine and then garnish with an orange twist (expel the oils over the drink before dropping it in).

This version of the Negroni keeps to its traditional Italian theme, using a Prosecco or Spumante sparkling wine. This way the tradition is still there, only this drink is a little lighter, allowing for a more refreshing longer drink-feel.

Cucumber Negroni

Recipe:

1 measure Cucumber infused Vodka

1 measure Campari

1 measure Sweet Vermouth

Sweet, Crisp and refreshing, what could be better than that?

Method:

–          Stir all the ingredients over ice and pour over ice into a rocks glass.

–          Drop in an expelled lemon zest twist and serve with a straw.

This version simply swaps the cucumber Vodka in for the gin. The cucumber flavour adds a little flavour where the removal of the gin would leave a hole and supplies a nice crisp taste to the bitter and sweet of the Campari & Vermouth.

Links:

11 Awesome Negronis

Imbibe Negroni Special

The Hooch Life

Cocktails O’ Clock: Touch of Venice

A Venetian inspired romantic cocktail, one for all the lovers…

Image
The wonderful Canal in Venezia…
Picture taken from http://www.made-in-italy.com

This cocktail is full of glamour and romance and will add a touch of class to any event where it’s served. Not holding a fancy soiree? Then why not include them whilst cooking for a loved one at home? Or better yet, serve them for friends over a late lunch?

The recipe:

90ml Dry white wine

30ml Limoncello

½ teaspoon Amaretto

½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Image
Classy drinks for a classy night… Make them for your loved one, you won’t regret it… Picture courtesy of http://www.FoodNetwork.co.uk

Method:

1)      Shake the ingredients over ice in a shaker. Shake for 5 seconds.

2)      Strain the mixture into a large wine goblet.

3)      Garnish with a Lemon zest spiral.

I don’t particularly favour wine cocktails, but as far as they go, this one is rather nice. I prefer mine to come with a bit of a fizz… If you do too, remove 30-40 ml (to your own taste) of white wine and prepare like normal, but top up with a splash of Prosecco.

The best way to serve this cocktail is obviously chilled and prepared as above, but for that added romantic touch, drop in one of the following (use the one that suits your taste and colour):

Parfait Amour: Violet flavour and purple in colour, this will inject a touch of romance into your very own touch of Venice…

Angostura Bitters: For a dash of extreme flavour and a burgundy colour flowing through the drink choose this wonderful ingredient…

Green Chartreuse: Use a ½ teaspoon of chartreuse per glass here, and you’ll witness a slither of green run through you’re drink…

Blue Curacao: Like the parfait amour addition only it’s a lovely river of blue…

Grenadine/Sloe Gin:  This is a slightly fruitier choice, and adds a shade of red to your romantic evening.

Image
Venice is the city of Romance, this cocktail is your little touch…
Picture from http://www.isango.com

The choice is yours! Simply use ½ a teaspoon of the above, or just have it originale…

recipe and cocktail picture taken from The Food Network, pictures borrows from: isango  and made in italy.

Champagne cocktails – more than just Bellini’s and Mimosa’s

A Bit About Champagne:

So you’re on your way to a party/event at your friend’s house, you’ve been looking forward to this for your entire week. It’s their 21st birthday and you know they have a cocktail party planned. But you hope they don’t expect you to drink champagne. You hate champagne.

As you walk in you are offered a flute glass full of a colourful bubbly liquid… Oh crap. You hate champagne you hear yourself say, but there is something different. You take a leap of faith and try the drink. You’re hit first off with the horrible champagne flavour you’re more than accustomed with but then something different, something floral, is it apple? No, Elderflower, and the distinct taste of raspberry. The light pink hue should have given it away, but you thought it was that novelty pink champagne. Then you notice everyone’s drinks… Greens, blues, reds and more pinks like yours.

“I hate champagne…” you hear yourself say “…But I love this”…

Before we continue… I would like to make it very clear that Champagne is a sparkling wine with a geographical protection (like stilton cheese, and those Cornish pasties) and this means that the word ‘Champagne’ is only aloud to be used by companies making sparkling wine within the ‘Champagne’ region of France and other companies that do not stick to this region are, by law, not allowed to advertise their product as a champagne. There are some fantastic products out there that are not allowed to ‘honour’ of being called champagne, but in my opinion are far better in quality. No matter your feelings on sparkling wine, find a product you like and try some of the recipes out.

Image
Champagne has a long standing reputation for the glamorous a sophisticated…

I have a friend I work with who will do almost anything for his favourite branded bottle of champagne, even more so when they are on offer (you know who you are!). In a complete contrast I stand in opposition; preferring a supermarket brands Prosecco, Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference (TTD) Prosecco Conegliano to be precise.

In my experience, the protection ’champagne’ has allows companies to charge ridiculous prices for their rather bog-standard product (with the exception of some of the more well-known brands). Reverse-wise some of the best Italian Prosecco and other worldwide sparkling wines are just as good as some of the lower scale champagnes. So for the remainder of this blog, whenever I use the word champagne I do not just mean champagne, I mean sparkling wine in general.

Champagne cocktails are as much about enjoyment as they are about flavour and appearance. No one wants to drink foul tasting cocktails, and I know a lot of people that do not appreciate champagne enough to disagree with the post’s opening scenario… However there is more to champagne than serving the bottle’s contents in a glass and forcing everyone to drink it. Champagne although not primarily made for it, is a fantastic cocktail mixer. It has a better depth of flavour than lemonade and is generally a better choice than the foul soda/tonic waters flooding the supermarket shelves.

Image
A glass of champagne is all about glitz and glamour. If you’re handed a glass of champagne at a party, socially, you know you’ve made it…

This brings us onto the cocktails themselves and there are many varied, famous cocktails. Almost all of which hold some sort of colourful back-story as to how they were invented, however for the premise of this blog I am far from interested in the stories. I’m more interested in the cocktails and their recipes. Now discarding the recipes with what I like to call ‘dangerous’ ingredients (ingredients people generally shy away from when making cocktails at home; such as egg whites), the recipes to be discussed here are generally fruity, floral drinks with a very easy-to-consume nature about them.

The Cocktails:

Image
The best thing about cocktails can be their colour and ‘WOW’ factor. Champagne cocktails have this going for them more so than any other cocktail…

We’ll start with the classics like the Kir Royale and the mimosa. Then go onwards to the lesser known and more complicated cocktails; such as the Clicquot Rico and Shanghai Fizz.

The main thing to remember with these cocktails is that they can be expensive to test at home (champagne is very expensive and even some of the cheaper cava’s can cost around £10 per 75cl bottle) so you may want to try a few out and about at first to get an idea of what flavours you prefer, then you can cut the cost a little.

“A smart drinker is a happy drinker”

Top Tips:

1)      Whilst no ice is used in champagne cocktails, you should chill the champagne in the bottle thoroughly prior to use.

2)      Unless otherwise stated these drinks are built (poured in one by one) in the serving glass.

3)      Whilst using cheaper alternatives to Champagne (Prosecco, Cava etc…) is perfectly reasonable, where necessary, champagne brands that are in the original recipe for the cocktail will be named (i.e. the Veuve Clicquot in the Clicquot Rico). Feel free to still use the cheaper alternative if you want/need to.

Mimosa

2 measures Orange Juice

1 measure Champagne

This drink is the one cocktail everyone thinks of when you mention Champagne cocktails. The Mimosa is thought of as a bit of a light cocktail – purely because of the lack of any serious amount of alcohol. This is not really a bad thing as it makes it perfect for those fancy soirees where you want to keep guests sober for the majority of the night. However the downside is that whilst it is simple, it can become rather boring rather quickly (not to mention people who have an Orange Juice allergy – it does exist and is more common than you might believe).

You may be part of the majority of people that believe a Bucks Fizz is the correct name for the above recipe but, sorry to say, you would be very wrong. If you lower your gaze all shall be explained:

Bucks Fizz

2 measures Orange Juice

¼ measure Plymouth Gin

1 small dash Cherry Brandy

Top Up Champagne

Now this is the true bucks fizz. Rumour has it this was made back in the 1920’s for a captain ‘Buck’ and named after him. Of course nobody knows for sure, but little stories like this always add something special to a drink. The Bucks fizz as you can see is similar to the Mimosa and this is why the confusion becomes popular. Whilst Supermarkets sell bottles of ‘Bucks Fizz’ you’re actually drinking a Mimosa (that’s a little quiz fact for you right there).

Shanghai Fizz

20ml Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

35ml London Dry Gin

15ml Lychee Syrup

1tbsp Sugar syrup

Top up Rose Champagne

Shake the first 4 ingredients over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Top up with chilled rose champagne, then garnish with a white orchid petal (this is a bit uppity but it really shows some class, however a white rose petal will do just fine).

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Red is the colour of passion, and none is it more so than in a Rose Champagne cooler. Enjoy the class, but enjoy the flavours more so…

Bisou Bisou

25ml Cognac

1tbsp Vanilla Sugar

1 passion fruit, you just need the seeds.

Top up Champagne.

This cocktail adds a little tropical flavour to your otherwise classic champagne cocktail. It’s surprising what a little passion fruit and a splash of vanilla sugar…

Bellini

25ml Peach Puree

Top up with Champagne

The more inventive people reading this will want to blend up their own, but it is equally as acceptable to use pre-made puree (try funkin’ white peach: http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=2490))

Top Tip: It’s best to use the shallower cocktail glasses as opposed to the traditional flutes purely because it’s easier to keep the puree mixed in with the champagne in the shallow ones.

Classic Champagne Cocktail

This is the original champagne cocktail, and is by far the most ‘old-fashioned’…

1 white sugar cube

2 dashes of Angostura bitters (or bitters in a flavour of your choice)

20-25ml Cognac

Top up with champagne.

Dab the sugar cube with the bitters and drop into the flute. Then add the cognac and then add the champagne just before serving. Fill completely.

This cocktail is a fantastic example of the classic cocktail culture, the different levels and depths of flavour help make this drink what it is. This is a cocktail you should all try. Even if you don’t like it you can say you tried one.

Kir & Kir Royale

25ml Crème de Cassis

1 sugar cube

Top up with sparkling wine (for a Kir)

Top up with Champagne (for a Kir Royale)

Pour the Cassis into the flute, drop the sugar cube in, and once it has soaked up some of the cassis (once it goes purple) add the sparkling wine/champagne.

This drink gets sweeter as you drink it and is rather popular among party goers…

Here’s a little fact for you: The Kir and Kir Royale are pretty much the same drink. The only discernible difference between them is that the Royale uses Champagne and the Kir uses sparkling wine. Obviously the Royale was used to impress guests of over pretentious party hosts, allowing them to let everyone know they had enough money for quality champagne and not just any old sparkling wine. Whilst back in the early days of sparkling wine production champagne was most certainly the best quality, these days certain sparkling wines are just as good as, if not better than, some top champagne brands…

 Prosperity

25ml Gin

1tbsp crème de cassis

2tsp Elderflower cordial

25ml Golden grapefruit juice

Top up with Champagne

This cocktail is a little more complicated but the flavours more than make up for it. You shake the 4 ingredients in a shaker over a little ice and strain into a flute glass. Top that up with champagne and you have a very floral fruity, but tart champagne cocktail.

Top tip: Try switching up the elderflower cordial for St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, and the cassis for blackcurrant cordial (Ribena is a good shout) for various, subtle flavour changes.

The last 4 cocktail recipes are more hybrids of other cocktails mixed with champagne… not all work but some, some are fantastic. These are the latter…

The Mimosa Wallbanger

50ml Orange Juice

12.5ml Vanilla Liqueur

12.5ml Vodka

Top up with Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Prosecco Conegliano

One of my own recipes, this cocktail is a perfect blend between a Mimosa and a Harvey Wallbanger. It adds a small amount of extra class to an already suave drink. The added fizz makes it a little more refreshing and tad-lighter on the palate…

Peach & Gin Champagne Fizz

12.5ml Gin

12.5ml Peach Schnapps

Top up with champagne

Whilst no the most exotic and original of names, this cocktail blends stronger alcohol with the champagne to give it a little kick, but adds the fruity peach flavour to help make it taste a little bit fantastic.

Ginger Champagne Cooler

3 Strips of pickled ginger (use fresh ginger if unavailable)

2 tbsp. Vodka

Top up with well-chilled quality champagne.

This cocktail spices things up a bit and adds a little fire into your drink. Not for the faint of heart, this drink will catch you unawares and punish you if you’re not careful. Drink it responsibly and you’ll love it.

Perfect for a cold autumn night (or a fancy summer shindig).

Bellini Blue

15ml Peach Schnapps (i.e. Archers/Teichenne)

15ml Blue Curacao

Top up with a quality sparkling wine.

This cocktail combines both the classy Bellini with that cult favourite liqueur: Blue Curacao. This drink becomes a citrusy, fruity bright blue cocktail. Serve with ice cold sparkling wine…

Clicquot Rico

25ml White Rum

50ml Pineapple Juice

Top up with Veuve Clicquot Champagne

This cocktail may seem a little old fashioned, but that’s the beauty of it. When combined with ice cold champagne, the otherwise dull rum and pineapple comes alive. It has a warming feel thanks to the rum, and a slightly exotic feel thanks to the pineapple, add in the champagne and you have pure class.

Top tip: Veuve Clicquot is rather expensive (£30+ in most supermarkets, even when on offer). Another option for those on a budget is a light and refreshing Prosecco (Try Sainsbury’s TTD Prosecco Conegliano – it works quite well).

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All the ingredients you need for a Clicquot Rico, just add rum. Try using different rums (white, gold, spiced, dark) and find your favourite…

Next time on the Fervent Shaker Blog:

“So why are supermarkets tapping into the cocktail market?”

“Is there any need for this tapping up of liqueurs by the big supermarkets or are they just out for profit?”

“Do supermarkets indirectly aid the rising popularity in cocktails across the UK?”

“What role do supermarkets play in the current state of the UK ‘cocktail scene’? And what part will they play in years to come?”

All these questions and more, coming in the near future with my blog post:

“Supermarkets & Cocktails: A bitter truth or sweet dream?”

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Asking what roles the supermarkets are playing in the UK cocktail culture. An important question for all those with an interest in the cocktail culture here in the UK…

I’ll be looking at the growing part supermarkets are playing in the cocktail culture of the UK. As well as trying to shed some light on how flexible their choices are when it comes to the products they sell… Between now and then keep an eye out for cocktail recipes; I’ll be posting individual recipes as I find/try them. Keep mixing folks!