Sparkling Wine Cocktails

It’s the holidays here in the States. And as such, many people turn to sparkling wine for it’s celebratory nature. However, we here at Booze Nerds are never happy to just drink something without fiddling with it. 🙂 So this week, we decided to focus on some delicious sparkling wine cocktails. Why serve just plain old sparkling wine when you can enhance it and really give your guests something to rave about? Each of these are easy to make, and will leave a lasting impression with your guests.

We used Prosecco (Christa being of Italian extraction) in all of these, but any sparkling wine will do.

SaturdaySun-finalSaturday Sun – A Booze Nerds original.

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz tangerine juice
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz honey
  • 2 oz sparkling wine

Combine first four ingredients, shake with ice and strain into a flute. Be sure to heat the honey in the microwave (about 5-10 seconds) so you don’t end up with lumps of honey in the bottom of the mixer. Top with sparkling wine.

We chose the Greenbrier from Smooth Ambler. It’s a nice herbal gin without any particular forward note that we felt would blend well.

Honey, tangerine, and lime juice to start. Hint of herbal flavors and a touch of alcohol from the gin, then the acidity of the sparkling wine, leading into a caramel-y honey finish. These go down very easily. A very nice replacement for a brunch mimosa, or would make a great starter cocktail for the evening. Even though there’s a decent amount of sweetness, the acidity balances it well, making this nice for pairing with food.

French125-finalFrench 125

  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup (1:1)
  • Sparkling wine

Combine all ingredients except sparkling wine, shake with ice and pour into a flute. Then top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon wedge, orange slice and a cherry. We recommend Maraschino cherries at all times. Unless you’re making your own of course. 🙂

Here we chose the Pierre Ferrand 1840. It’s a nice complex cognac that we felt would add interest to the drink without over powering the other ingredients.

Fairly brandy forward. It starts out with the rich brandy spiciness, followed by lemon brightness, then a drier and more acidic finish with some of the barrel notes from the brandy. Toast, caramel , vanilla. Goes down very easily as well. This has a bit more substance than the Saturday Sun. Better pared with rich foods like pate, deviled eggs, or a mild creamy cheese like chevre.

OldCuban-finalOld Cuban (Audrey Saunders)

  • 1 1/2 oz gold rum
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup (1:1)
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 oz sparkling wine

Combine first 5 ingredients in a shaker, gently muddle the mint, and shake with ice. Strain into a flute (you might want to double strain to eliminate any mint fragments) and top with sparkling wine.

We love the Smith & Cross Jamaican because it’s adds a really unique funk to every drink we use it in. There are a number of components in this drink, using any good gold rum will work well, but the Smith & Cross adds more character. If you’re looking for a little less character, try a non-Jamaican rum.

Mint at the front, then the acidity of the sparkling wine on the mid-palate mixed with the funkiness of the rum. This is followed by the acidity of the lime plus the acidity of the wine. Finishes with the enduring funk from the rum and another appearance from the mint. There’s a little bit of bitterness at the front and at the end which rounds out the drink nicely. A prime example of what bitters should do in a cocktail. Will pair nicely with spicier, more tropical food  that will stand up to the character of the drink.

SeelbachSeelbach

  • 1 oz bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Triple Sec
  • 7 dashes Angostura bitters (yes 7)
  • 7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 5 oz sparkling wine.

Stir first four ingredients with ice. Pour into a flute and top with sparkling wine.

We used Angel’s Envy bourbon because we thought a sweeter bourbon would work better. However, after tasting we think a more complex bourbon (think Willetts) would also work quite well.  The interplay of the Peychaud’s and bourbon is really key to this drink. We sampled just the bourbon and the Peychaud’s together, and discovered that that was the flavor we were tasting on the mid-palate.

Lovely spicy nose on this one. Hard cherry candy on the open with some notes of the triple sec. Sweeter than expected, given that there’s no added simple syrup or other sweeteners. The sweetness merges into flavors from the bourbon and the Peychaud’s bitters, warm and rich with an overlay of bitter cherry. Really bitter bite with lots of clove notes on the mid-palate, then a chestnut-y finish. Unexpected, but there you are. The acidity of the wine is really muted in this one.

Definitely a finisher cocktail. Given the amount of bitters and complexity in this cocktail, it probably won’t pair well with most foods. However it might work with a spicier, not too sweet desert.

The first three will pair well with food but are also lovely on their own. The Seelbach is a conversation piece 🙂 Rather than just serving sparkling wine this holiday season, we hope we’ve given you a few ideas for spicing things up.

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