Deep breath in: the holidays have come and mostly gone. Deep breath out.
I took advantage of an extended work break and spent a few days in the San Francisco area with my dad’s side of the family. With one exception, all of the cousins are grown up now, in college or later. It was the first time in years that we’ve all been together in one place at the same time. We got close at my wedding, but one of the others got a job offer riiiight before and couldn’t come (her sister glued a photo of her face on a stick and held it up for all the pictures instead).
We had four generations in one room this Christmas. My grandparents are elderly now–I think my grandfather is 91?–and the youngest ones, my cousin’s kids, are about five and two. They added a level of excitement for sure. The five year old tried so hard, divvying up the gifts beforehand so we’d get to them faster, before he couldn’t take the anticipation and ripped into his pile. It sort of devolved from there into a wrapping paper snowstorm.
But it was really good. I took a red eye home on Christmas Eve, Robby picked me up on Christmas morning–with flowers!–and we’ve been catching up on sleep for a couple of days. Thankfully I have the rest of the week off, because it’s going to take that long to put my holiday-travel-addled brain back into gear.
There is, of course, one more holiday to celebrate: New Year’s Eve! Whether you’re more excited about setting resolutions, dressing up fancy and drinking Champagne, watching college football, or kicking 2016 on its way out (you know who you are, and no one blames you), there’s no time more appropriate to try a new sparkling cocktail.
For this post, Robby and I made one each. Characteristically, Robby made a twist on a classic cocktail, and I made a two-ingredient one that includes both fruit and sugar.
Here’s one easy tip for making fizzy drinks: Add the bubbly last! This keeps the drink from fizzing over, causing a sticky, bubble-losing mess.
Here’s a second tip: You don’t need to use actual Champagne (which is either from Champagne, France, or from grape vines originally from that location). You can use pretty much any bubbly you want–prosecco, cava, or my favorite, sweet moscato d’asti. The one caveat is to take note of whether the recipe calls for dry or sweet fizz. Try to stay within those to most closely recreate the cocktail. We used Scharffenberger Brut Excellence today, which is drier, since both our cocktails had other sugary ingredients. (We also used St. Augustine New World Gin, which comes from an awesome craft distillery a couple hours north of us. They do fabulous tours, with tastings!)
One word of caution: the French 77 is a take on the French 75, which was named after a powerful WWII gun. Gin is deceptively smooth, but a couple of these and you’ll know exactly why this drink was named for a weapon!
In case you’re feeling adventurous, or are looking for something specific, I’ve put together a list of ten other cocktail recipes that includes everything from the most classic Champagne Cocktail to island-inspired drinks with rum.
- Classic Champagne Cocktail with a sugar cube and bitters
- Champagne Margaritas for those living in–or craving–the sun
- Blackberry Thyme Sparklers
- Apricot Fizz for those who appreciate vodka
- Aristocrat Sparkling Punch, combining champagne and red wine
- Barbotage, if you like a little liqueur in your fizz
- Orange Sparklers
- Sparkling Mint Julep
- Christmosas, combining bubbly with grape juice and wintery fruit
- Airmail, a rum cocktail
How was your holiday season? Are you ready for it to be over, or already anticipating the next one?
2 oz gin
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz elderflower liqueur
.5 oz simple syrup
Champagne or sparkling wine
Lemon slice for garnish
1 tablespoon raspberry sorbet
Raspberries and lemon twist for garnish
Combine gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a tumbler over ice and stir.
Strain into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne and garnish with a lemon slice.
Place sorbet into a champagne flute. Top with Champagne and garnish with raspberries and a lemon twist.
French 77: For a cleaner, less juniper-y flavor, use a cucumber-infused gin (such as Hendricks or Botanica Spiritvs).
Raspberry "Bellini": A true bellini is made with peach, but they can be made with any fruit you like.