Monday, August 30, 2010

Champagne Cocktails

Yesterday, Heather and I attended the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island, an event at which the attendees are encouraged to dress up in period clothing--1920s or so--and enjoy live jazz music and dancing as well as some vendors and various planned events such as a tug of war.  They had all sorts of food, beer, and other refreshments, but only one type of cocktail.

One of the event's sponsors was a liqueur called St-Germain.  If you are unfamiliar with St-Germain, it is a sweet liqueur that is made from elderflowers.  The literature that was available at the table said that the drink was aptly named The St-Germain Cocktail and it lists the recipe as follows:

The St-Germain Cocktail
-2 parts Brut Champagne or Dry Sparkling White
-1 1/2 parts St-Germain
-2 parts Club Soda

Fill a tall Collins Glass with ice.  Add Champagne first, then St-Germain, then Club Soda.  Stir completely.  Garnish with a lemon twist, making sure to squeeze the essential oils into the glass.

The cocktail was good.  A little sweet for my taste but good.  It reminded me that I had been meaning to try some champagne cocktails of my own.  It's a subject I've dabbled with in the past.  There was a time just after college when we were knocking back Hpnotiq and champagne.  We were doing a lot with Hpnotiq back then; it was a good way to sweeten up whatever you were drinking, but ultimately we grew out of it and stopped buying it.

I enjoy a good mimosa from time to time.  Heather loves them.  For her, it's the most exciting part about getting champagne.  "This is really good, but don't kill it.  I want mimosas tomorrow morning."

-3 parts champagne
-1 part orange juice

Combine in a champagne flute and enjoy.  If you're feeling really ambitious, add a dash or two of peach liqueur.

This past New Years Eve, we rang in 2010 in our apartment watching Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest while enjoying a drink called the Benediction.  We discovered it in a New York Times article about Benedictine.

The Benediction
-3/4 oz. Benedictine
-dash orange bitters
-Champagne to top

Add Benedictine to a Champagne flute, add the bitters, then fill with Champagne.

In doing research for my absinthe post, I found a recipe on the Wikipedia page for a drink called the Death in the Afternoon Cocktail.  It was created by Ernest Hemingway and calls for you to "Pour on jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass.  Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness.  Drink three to five of these slowly."  A jigger is a measurement that I took to mean one ounce, but I think I may have overdone it a little bit.  The absinthe overpowered the cocktail a little bit.  For next time, I would use about 1/2 to 3/4 oz.

When I purchased my bottle of absinthe, I also picked up a bottle of pear brandy.  It was the kind with the pear inside the bottle.  I was researching some of the things I could do with it and one that kept popping up was adding Champagne directly to the brandy.  Simple, easy, basic.  Lately, these Champagne cocktails have been finding me.  Heather really liked this one.  It packs a punch but it has a nice syrupy sweetness.  It would serve really well as a dessert cocktail.

Pear Brandy Champagne Cocktail
-1 oz. pear brandy

Add ingredients to a Champagne flute and garnish with a pear wedge.

I love Champagne, but there are a few people in my life who don't like it as much as I do.  And for those people, it's nice to have a few ideas like this in my back pocket to supplement the dryness and fortify the Champagne with a little more kick.

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