“Three be the things I shall never attain: Envy, content and sufficient champagne”
Like no other product, Champagne epitomises a collective celebration. Weddings, success and life’s little highlights, the bubbly amalgamation of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier is seen by many as the perfect accompaniment to good old times. What happens however, if you’re lucky enough to have a glut? There are certainly many out there who would believe that there is no such thing.
Regardless, here are a few options to get you underway. These will work just as well, and in some cases greatly improve the product if you’ve got Methode Traditionelle or something else that bubbles.
Perhaps the greatest aspect of the now quasi-religious holiday is that drinking becomes socially acceptable or even expected before the traditional 11 o’clock start point. Hitting the heavier stuff might not be such a grand idea, especially if you’re entertaining an older crew. Cut back the booze with some fruity goodness and get the day started right.
Mimosas & Bellinis
Mimosas mix bubbles and juice together. At the most traditional, use orange juice. I’m always astonished by the number of people who will mix a fifty dollar bottle of bubbles with a two dollar tetrapak of OJ. Show your guests a little bit of love and squeeze the juice fresh. The results will be better than you’ve ever imagined.
1/2 glass Fresh OJ, top with Champagne. For something a little brighter combine 10mls Grand Marnier with 20mls Fresh OJ.
Bellinis call for a puree of fruit. The Italian who came up with the drink used fresh white peaches, if you’d like to do the same, be aware that if you try and make the puree ahead of time it will oxidise and turn a funky brown colour. You could try adding an anti-oxidising agent, like lemon juice, but you’re best just to do it the laborious old fashioned way, to order as they are needed.
1/3 glass White Peach puree, top with Champagne
With both of these, there is huge room for experimentation, use whatever local, ripe, amazing fruit you can get your hands on. The Tokyo Strawberry Bellini is worth a crack too.
Personally, i think lunch is the absolute perfect time for a sparkling glass. But if you must have something that’s been adulterated, let me suggest the Imperial Mojito, The French 75 or perhaps a delicious punch.
While the classic Champagne cocktail is a great way to start any night, I’d also recommend changing the Gin for Cognac in your French 75. Alternatively, try this:
22.5mls ounce Cognac (Hennessy), 15mls Cointreau, 15mls Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, 15mls Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice, Champagne (approximately 90mls) stir all but the Champagne over ice, strain up and top with champagne. Garnish with a flamed orange peel