We are now officially into the thick of the holiday season, so it’s time to break out the sparkling wine cocktails. OK, we’re actually fans of having sparkling wine cocktails at any time, but now they’re especially nice. For this post, we decided to experiment with rose sparkling wine, since that’s a fun change of pace. Besides, the only thing more festive than fizzy wine cocktails is *pink* fizzy wine cocktails.
Christa picked up a fairly dry, fruit-forward rose cava. After popping the cork, we gave it a taste. This one had some lush summer fruit notes and a nice touch of biscuity yeast while still being quite dry. It seemed like a great choice for mixing.
With the rose sparkling wine in hand, we started by trying it with several base spirits: grappa, pisco, cognac, and pear eau de vie. The grappa version had an unpleasant aftertaste. The pisco was interesting but a little muddled, might work with the right additional ingredients. The cognac was quite nice but then we’d probably just end up with a French 125. The pear eau de vie was also nice but overwhelmed the more delicate fruit flavors of the rose. Finally, we pulled out some kirschwasser from Clear Creek. That was a winner, with clean fruit flavors that worked with the wine without overwhelming it.
Next, we needed to figure out what to add to round out the cocktail. We tried some Carpano Bianco, but much like the grappa that seemed to create off flavors in combination with this wine. Orange seemed like a good candidate, so we tried some orange curacao but the orange overpowered the other fruit flavors. A small splash of Aperol instead worked nicely, adding a touch of sweet orange as well as some bitterness for balance. However, it was still a little dry so we added just a touch of good old simple syrup.
- 1 oz kirschwasser
- 1/4 oz Aperol
- 1 barspoon simple
- 3 oz pink sparkling wine
Stir first 3 ingredients with ice. Strain into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with an orange twist.
- Nose: Strong orange, faint raspberry and peach. Tiny touch of bitter herbal notes.
- Palate: Summer fruit like raspberry, cherry and peach to start, followed by sweet grape and yeast flavors from the wine. Sweet orange and intense orange peel on the mid-palate. Finish really dries out, with bitter herbal and bitter orange pith and peel flavors.
We decided to go with a light, justifiably classic Champagne Cocktail next, switching up the traditional Angostura bitters for Peychaud’s, to build on the fruit flavor of the wine. We both love these because they are another cocktail that changes between start and finish (if you want). Some people like to dissolve the sugar cube straight off and have a sweeter drink overall, some swirl the sugar in as it starts to dissolve, starting with a dry drink and ending with a sweeter one, and some people like to leave the sugar sludge in the bottom glass and eat it at the end, a la the sugar sludge in your cereal when you were a kid (or at least, that’s what we both did ;)).
Douse a sugar cube in bitters, place in the bottom of a champagne flute. Fill flute with sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon twist.
- Nose: Summer fruit like raspberry and peach (seems to be the nose of this particular wine). Hint of lemon. Hint of spices like black pepper and anise.
- Palate: Opens with quite dry, slightly acidic fruit flavors, creamy yeast notes on the mid-palate, with the lemon coming in at the finish. Sweetens up and yields more bitter cherry and anise flavors from the bitters as you drink the cocktail down.
We hope everyone is getting ready for the holidays, and as part of that, don’t forget to grab a couple bottles of pink sparkling wine next time you run by the store. Delicious, fizzy, seasonal drinks await!