We recently passed our 3 year anniversary here at Booze Nerds HQ. Which puts us in the mood to celebrate! This naturally means drinking cocktails, and what else but fizzy wine cocktails? For us there’s just something joyous and sophisticated about them. With that in mind, we opened up the bar and started mixing up some new drinks with sparkling wine. Read on to find out what we came up with.
First off we tried sparkling wine with Hakushu Japanese whiskey. We recently got to try this delicious Japanese offering at Tales of the Cocktail and fell in love with it. It’s a lovely whiskey with notes of pine and forest. We thought that the earthy forest notes might pair well with the mineral flavors of the wine. We were wrong. It wasn’t awful, and it made for a very interesting flavor, but we wouldn’t call it harmonious.
With that experiment behind us, we next considered putting something together using only wine-based spirits, to concentrate the aromatic, rich, earthy, mineral-y, and oxidized flavors those ingredients can bring. We tried grappa and pisco as base spirits, and introduced some vermouth as well. After trying various combos, we settled on grappa, dry vermouth, sweet white vermouth, a little bit of brandy-based curaçao, and the sparkling wine. That worked well to create a dry, sophisticated drink that still has enough going on to keep it interesting.
- 1 1/4 oz grappa
- 1/2 oz dry white vermouth (We used the Carpanos for this and the sweet vermouth – both are lovely)
- 3/4 oz sweet white vermouth
- 1 tsp. curaçao (We used Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao)
- 2 oz sparkling wine
Stir first 4 ingredients with ice. Strain into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon twist. Cheers!
- Nose: Creamy sweet lemon, like lemon bars. Oxidized, slightly musty grape spirit. Yeasty, biscuit-y baked goods. Hint of lily and a touch of orange.
- Palate: Very similar to the nose. Sweet, lightly floral lemon and orange to start. Really nice grape spirit flavor on the mid-palate, full-bodied and lightly sweet but still a little bit mineral-y along with a very aromatic, oxidized flavor. Aftertaste is slightly herbal, slightly floral with a flourish of honey/pollen notes.
Shaun wanted to use rum for our next endeavor, so we pulled out the Belle Rose. It is aged in white wine barrels, which gives it a creamy, tangy flavor we haven’t found in other rums, and which also makes it very friendly to pairing with a wide range of other ingredients. Not surprisingly, it played well with the sparkling wine. We thought nut flavors would go well with the rich flavor profile, and after tasting several combinations, stuck with amaretto cut with a touch of Aperol to provide some bitterness and citrus notes for balance.
- 1 1/2 oz aged white rum (If you can’t find the Belle Rose, we think Prichard’s Crystal would be a good substitute, or failing that, a sweeter gold rum)
- 1/4 oz Aperol
- 1 bar spoon amaretto
- 1 1/2 oz sparkling wine
Stir first 3 ingredients with ice. Strain into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Enjoy!
- Nose: Tropical fruit, custard, baked pear. Little bit of bitter orange. Little bit of white wine with tart/fruity/resiny notes.
- Palate: Intro is French pear tart, lots of creamy almond and baked pear. Mid-palate is bitter orange, caramel, and some tart, fruity wine notes. Finish is really unexpected – dark chocolate, orange peel, tannic almond skins, and a hint of coconut.
Big surprise with the cocoa finish! We love it when the alchemy of mixology produces unexpected surprises like that.
So there you have it. A couple of sparkling wine cocktails to celebrate our 3rd anniversary. We love ’em. They’re usually lighter than your average cocktail (though we tend to make them stronger than most 😉 ) which means you can have several in an evening without getting too wasted. Here’s to another 3+ years. Cheers!