I hosted a wine tasting recently with a focus on whites and sparkling wines. So I thought it might be nice to see what recipes are out there for drinks that use sparkling wines (champagne, cava, prosecco, spumante, etc. . . ) as a base. Probably most everyone knows about mimosas and bellinis. But I am looking for something a little bit different from even a sparkling sangria (which will probably be my fall back).
Now my booze cabinet isn’t the most well-stocked, but I do have a couple of mixers that I could use, plus there are some things that I have already stocked in the refrigerator. So here’s what I have:
Mixers, liqueurs, syrups, etc: Midori, raspberry liqueur, cranberry mix, sour apple mix, Angostura bitters, rhubarb syrup, mint syrup, Apple Pie liqueur (luv this stuff. it really does taste like boozy apple pie!), and sugar cubes.
Booze: Appleton VX, Appleton 12-year-old, Pisco, Cachaca (actually two types), Bison Grass vodka, Apple Jack, Yukon Jack, Bulleit Rye, and Woodford’s Reserve.
I am not using my good Appleton rum (If you are ever lucky enough to try some 30-year-old Appleton, by all means get it. Exquisite stuff! Too bad the oldest available in Michigan is the 12-year-old.), the vodka, or my bourbon. No sense in wasting those on something that may or may not work. Plus, no sense in using a bottle of Krug in making champagne cocktails. I am using prosecco from Cupcake Vineyards. Not a bad wine, especially for the price — about $8!
So for this first post I did find some recipes for a couple of traditional cocktails. I apologize for the picture; the cocktails looked a little ominous for some reason. One of them is just a Classic Champagne Cocktail. I guess it’s been around forever. The other one is called Nelson’s Blood. Now if you don’t know the story behind the name, it’s not a pretty one, but more on that later. . .
- 1 sugar cube
- 5 oz. champagne
On a plate, place the sugar cube and splash on a couple of dashes of the bitters in order to soak the cube. Now transfer the cube to a champagne flute and top off with the champagne or sparkling wine. The sugar cube has lots of nucleation points for the sparkling so this will be extra bubbly (think about sodas and Mentos, but not as violent. . . if you don’t know what I’m taking about, click on this).
For the Nelson’s Blood:
- 1 oz. Tawny Port
- 5 oz. champagne
In a champagne flute, pour in your Port. Now top it off with the champagne. I do confess though — the pic does not have port in it, but some of the Appleton VX instead. Although most recipes I found just have the port and sparkling in it, there are some which have rum. These are more complex and have better ties to the provenance of the drink. So here’s a cultural nugget and a little bit of history. . .
Picture it — Trafalgar, 1805. . . The British fleet has just scored another victory against the rival French, but the victory would cost Admiral Horatio Nelson his life. Admiral Nelson was a war hero beloved all over England and a burial at sea would just not sit well with folks back at home. The problem was that getting him home could take possibly months. So to keep his body, er. . . fresh. . . it was preserved in a casket of brandy where it was essentially pickled.
It has been reported that since he was so beloved by the people and admired by his crew, some of the sailors aboard Nelson’s ship secretly stole a sip of the pickling brandy to hopefully take in some of his qualities. So this has given life to numerous concoctions paying homage to him. Check out this one which has brandy (to symbolize his “preserves”), tawny port (to symbolize his spilt blood), rum (because he was a sailor), and blood orange juice (since he died just off the coast of Spain). Tasty!