A Toast to Bubbly
NOTHING SAYS CELEBRATION LIKE SOMETHING SPARKLING, SO RAISE A GLASS TO CHAMPAGNE WISHES AND CAVIAR DREAMS!
BLACKBERRY LAVENDER CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL
1 Tbsp. lavender flowers, dried or fresh
1 c. blackberries, fresh or frozen
½ c. maple syrup
¼ c. vodka
2 750 ml bottle champagne
Boil blackberries, maple syrup, and vodka, mashing gently until berries break down (about 5 minutes). Add lavender flowers (removing stems if fresh) and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Optional: Allow to steep from 1 hour to 2 days in the fridge. To serve: Pour 1 Tbsp. blackberry sauce into each champagne flute, add a stem of fresh lavender, and top with chilled champagne.
Recipe is adapted from THE ADVENTURE BITE.
ROYAL CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier
1 Tbsp. brandy
5 oz. chilled champagne or other sparkling wine
1 orange twist
To make the orange twist: Working from the stem end to the bottom, use a small knife to cut a ½-inch wide strip of the outer orange skin, incorporating as little of the white pith as possible (because the white pith is bitter). Now, hold the strip, pith side up, and twist the ends in opposite directions. Run the twist around the rim of the flute. Set orange strip aside for garnish. Pour the Grand Marnier and brandy into the champagne flute. Slowly add chilled champagne. Gently drop the orange twist onto the top of the cocktail for garnish. Serve immediately.
Recipe is adapted from THE KITCHEN IS MY PLAYGROUND.
BLOOD ORANGE CHAMPAGNE MULE
Juice of ½ a medium blood orange
Juice of ½ a lime
1 oz. vodka
8 leaves mint
2 oz. chilled ginger beer
Chilled champagne for topping
In a glass, combine the blood orange juice, lime juice, and vodka. Add the ginger beer and top with champagne. Garnish with blood orange slices and fresh mint. Drink!
Recipe is adapted from HALF-BAKED HARVEST.
Getting to the Good Stuff
When opening champagne, the primary goal is safety. “There’s 80 pounds of pressure behind this cork,” Miller says. Keep your hand on the cork and point it away from people. Remove the foil, rest the bottle on a solid surface for leverage and twist open the cage. “This is where you’re going to start to have some issues with pressure,” says Miller, who recommends turning the bottle rather than the cork, so it releases with more of a sigh than a bang. But what of sabrage, the technique where one uses a sharp blade to sever the neck of the bottle? “Not recommended if you do not know what you are doing,” warns Miller.