Thursday, April 26, 2018
Cooking

Five Champagne cocktail recipes to drink on New Year’s Eve

Anything that sparkles. That is what your beverage of choice should be for New Year’s Eve, a night when the drinks should glitter as much as that giant ball in Times Square.

To toast to 2018, we’ve assembled five cocktail recipes using sparkling wine. A splurge on Champagne feels right for this occasion, but these would work well with cava or prosecco or any sparkling wine. (This is your annual reminder that "Champagne" gets its name from the region of France in which it is produced, so technically, if it’s a sparkling wine that is not produced in Champagne, it can’t be called "Champagne.")

Some of these celebratory clinkers can also work as non-alcoholic libations. Try substituting plain sparkling water or tonic water for the alcohol in the Cranberry Rosemary Cocktail, French 75 and Semifreddo Bellini.

These are light and fizzy drinks that will have you feeling the same way come midnight.

Kindness Cocktail

This recipe for the Kindness sparkling wine cocktail mixes botanical gin, lightly spiced Drambuie and the complex sweetness of honey. If you’re hosting a party, you can make the cocktail in a pitcher ahead of time — just leave out the sparkling wine. Guests can add that to their glass at 11:55.

¾ ounce Drambuie

½ ounce gin

½ ounce lemon juice

½ ounce Honey Simple Syrup (recipe below)

4 ounces sparkling wine

In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine the Drambuie, gin, lemon juice and simple syrup, and stir to combine. Strain into a wine glass and top with sparkling wine just before serving.

Serves 1.

Source: Culinary Institute of America

Champagne Cocktail

So simple, yet so festive. Sugar cubes make for a fun adornment to your New Year’s Eve spread, so set them out in a fancy dish next to a couple bottles of bitters and have guests make their own drinks. Feel free to branch out beyond the classic Angostura bitters if you have happen upon some other flavors.

1 sugar cube

2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters

Brut Champagne

Place a sugar cube in a chilled Champagne flute, lash it with 2 or 3 dashes of bitters, fill the glass with brut Champagne, and squeeze a lemon twist on top.

Serves 1.

Source: Esquire

Cranberry Rosemary Cocktail

This cocktail is a real stunner, garnished with candied cranberries and a cinnamon stick. You can also throw a sprig of fresh rosemary for maximum holiday cheer.

4 candied cranberries

2 tablespoons Rosemary Simple Syrup (recipe below)

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

6 ounces Champagne

Place cranberries in a cocktail shaker and lightly press down on them with the back of a spoon to release juices. Add Rosemary Simple Syrup and orange juice. Shake with a handful of ice, then strain into a Champagne class. Top with Champagne.

Garnish with a cinnamon stick and two more candied cranberries.

Serves 1.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times

French 75

The lemony cocktail is a true classic. Feeling like mixing things up? Try swapping out the gin for cognac.

2 ounces dry gin

1 teaspoon superfine sugar

½ ounce lemon juice

5 ounces brut Champagne

Shake gin, lemon juice and sugar well with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker.

Strain into as glass half-full of cracked ice and top off with Champagne.

Serves 1.

Source: Esquire

Semifreddo Bellini

"Semifreddo" is the Italian way of indicating that something is sort of frozen, which is a great way to describe this cocktail. Frozen peaches get blended with some schnapps and Champagne to create a cocktail suitable for Florida’s December temperatures. This works really well with strawberries and raspberries, too. In fact, you can’t really go wrong with freezing pieces of fruit and using them to garnish a simple glass of even plain Champagne.

1 cup peeled, chopped peaches, frozen until hardened

¼ cup peach schnapps

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled Champagne

2 tablespoons superfine sugar

Blend peaches, peach schnapps, 2 tablespoons Champagne, the sugar and ice in a blender until smooth.

Divide mixture between 2 glasses. Top off with remaining Champagne evenly between the glasses, and serve.

Serves 2.

Source: Martha Stewart

Versatile and vibrant accoutrements

Assemble some easy accoutrements ahead of time and pull them out on Dec. 31 for quick cocktail making. Here are two versatile syrups and a vibrant garnish that will up your sparkling wine game.

Honey Simple Syrup

Honey Simple Syrup is an easy make-ahead recipe that you’ll enjoy for more than one cocktail. Use it to lightly sweeten lemonade for young guests (add a splash of sparkling water for bubbles) or as a sweetener for mulled apple cider. Choose your favorite honey, but keep in mind that some varieties, like orange blossom, are more flavorful than others.

½ cup honey

½ cup water

Combine the honey and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until the honey dissolves. Cool completely before use.

Makes about ¾ cups (enough for 24 cocktails).

Source: Culinary Institute of America

Rosemary Simple Syrup

Same deal with this flavored syrup, which lends a subtle herby flair to your cocktails. We’re pairing it with cranberries in the Cranberry Rosemary Cocktail recipe above.

1 cup water

1 cup white sugar

? cup fresh rosemary leaves

Add water, sugar and rosemary leaves to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook until sugar has dissolved. Let mixture simmer for about 2 minutes, then remove saucepan and let it sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature. Strain syrup to remove rosemary leaves, and let cool.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times

Candied Cranberries

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

½ cup cranberries

Cook ½ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Transfer to top of double boiler. Add cranberries. Cover berry mixture and place over simmering water. Cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from over water. Let cranberry mixture stand at room temperature overnight.

Place remaining ½ cup sugar on plate. Drain cranberries well. Add to sugar and turn to coat. Let dry at least 30 minutes. Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Source: Epicurious

Comments
Seared tuna salad is quite a catch

Seared tuna salad is quite a catch

A satisfying salad of tuna and beans is a Mediterranean favorite, often served as a meal in warm weather. In my favorite version, the main ingredients — rich tuna and creamy beans — are accented with red wine vinegar, tomato and onion, finished with ...
Published: 04/25/18
Drunk in love with banana bread

Drunk in love with banana bread

I have a thing about bananas. They have to be perfectly yellow, with a light hint of green. And they absolutely cannot have a spot of brown on them. At all. Brown bananas make me gag. My window of tasty opportunity is small, so I love to bake with ov...
Published: 04/24/18
Cooking Challenge: Making a stovetop steak for the first time

Cooking Challenge: Making a stovetop steak for the first time

Raw meat terrifies me. Growing up, I was the kid who avoided cookie dough because it could give me salmonella poisoning. Just imagine how I feel about a slab of bloody steak. So for my latest cooking challenge, I’m diving into the deep end and making...
Published: 04/24/18
Taste test: vanilla wafers

Taste test: vanilla wafers

When it comes to cookies, our judges are all in. When it comes to vanilla wafers, most of them admitted to reaching for the familiar Nilla Wafers in the bright yellow box. Surprisingly, they liked the well-known brand least of the seven wafers sample...
Published: 04/23/18
A taste test for drinking water? They can be surprisingly different

A taste test for drinking water? They can be surprisingly different

BROOKSVILLEThey brought it in glass carboys, in jars, in 2-liter bottles. It stacked up at the entrance to the auditorium, some of it just slightly murky but most of it crystal clear.Water. For more than 15 years the members of Region IV Florida Sect...
Published: 04/18/18
Five ideas for travel-friendly snacks

Five ideas for travel-friendly snacks

Whenever I fly, I pay way too much for food. I’ve stumbled jet-lagged into fancy wine booths and nearly bankrupted myself with cheese plates. I’ve purchased granola bars that cost more than my plane ticket (okay, maybe it just felt that way). If you’...
Published: 04/18/18
Enjoy a slice of sunshine with Tangerine, Ginger and Chocolate Tart

Enjoy a slice of sunshine with Tangerine, Ginger and Chocolate Tart

There are chocolate people, and there are vanilla people. I am a lemon person.Show me a dessert menu, and I’ll choose whatever is flavored with puckery lemon or any of her citrus sisters — lime, tangerine, kumquat, yuzu. Even as a kid, I went for lem...
Published: 04/17/18
Recipe for 30-Minute Spaghetti and Meatballs

Recipe for 30-Minute Spaghetti and Meatballs

As the name suggests, 30-Minute Spaghetti and Meatballs is no substitute for the kind of meatballs simmered for hours in your nonna’s Sunday gravy. Strangely enough, the recipe doesn’t even include oregano or basil or a dry Chianti. And yet I think t...
Published: 04/17/18
Re-create that fancy spa water at home

Re-create that fancy spa water at home

It was lunchtime in the middle of the workday, so although I sat at the bar at downtown St. Petersburg’s Asie Pan-Asian, I opted for a water. The bartender poured a glass and I took an unknowing sip.Cucumber. It was definitely cucumber. I’m not the b...
Published: 04/17/18
Taste test: citrus-flavored sparkling water

Taste test: citrus-flavored sparkling water

Many years ago, I took a trip to Rome and learned enough Italian to find directions and order dinner from menus. I learned very quickly that if I didn’t make it clear, I would get sparkling water rather than still water at every restaurant. My husban...
Published: 04/16/18