Are you ready?
Is your champagne chilled?
Are your glasses out? Rinsed? Dried? Ready to use?
I love a good glass of bubbly and I often pour myself a glass for no reason at all... Life is reason enough to celebrate, right?
But New Year's Eve is really worth celebrating... As we bid farewell to the old, we openly embrace the new and welcome all the good that will come our way. Whether you like champagne on its own or doctored up a bit, there's a way for everyone to enjoy it as we anxiously await the arrival of a New Year.
Champagne is indeed a festive and joyous beverage. The mention of the word alone brings a smile to my face. In fact, it is said that when Dom Perignon first had a taste of his own fantastic beverage, he announced to all "Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!”
There are many kinds of effervescent beverages out there and not all will break the bank. If you plan on drinking it straight up opt for a better bottle, Veuve Cliquot happens to be my favorite and is at a moderate price point. Perrier Jouet, Moet, Dom Perignon, Pol Roger are some other popular choices. There are many other wonderful boutique champagnes out there as well. Talk with your local sommelier for some suggestions.
If you plan on making or serving Champagne cocktails this New Year's you may prefer a Spanish Cava or an Italian Prosecco. Of course, which tend to be a good bit less expensive. These too are wonderful on their own, but I prefer to mix with these and save the good Champagne for drinking on its own. For those of you who find Champagne too bubbly, Prosecco is slightly less so. Rustico is my favorite Prosecco label.
A purist myself, there are times I really do enjoy a lovely Champagne cocktail.
Some lovely ideas, you'll find below. (Above image from The Glitter Guide.)
The French 75 is a simple yet cocktail made from gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar.
The drink was first created by Harry MacElhone in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris, which later became known as Harry's New York Bar. Some claim it was first made at The Savoy in New York City. Everyone seems to agree that it was created during WW1. It is said that the combination had such a kick that one felt like they were being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun. This cocktail is often referred to as a 75 Cocktail, or Soixante Quinze in French. This festive beverage was popularized in America at the Stork Club in New York. Hop on over to The Creative Culinary for the recipe. (Image via Creative Culinary)
The Kir Royale is such a simple and pretty Champagne Cocktail. In my late 20s and early 30s I served these all the time after being introduced to them by a close friend. It is said that Kir became popular in French cafes in the middle of the 19th century and was further popularized by Felix Kir after World War II. The then mayor of Dijon in Burgundy, France, served the drink often to promote his region's fine products (wine and creme de cassis). The name Kir has been associated with the drink ever since. Kir is a creme de cassis, but the modern twist is to use Chambord, a raspberry liqueur, which gives the drink a slightly deeper color. The great thing about this drink is that it can be created to taste. For those wanting a sweeter cocktail, more Chambord is added to the glass and for those wanting a dryer beverage, one needs to add just a drop for a beautiful color.
Chambord is another liqueur that comes to us from France, from the Province of the same name, at a real French château. The liqueur is made in three very simple steps. Fresh blackberries and raspberries are selected, the juices are squeezed and soaked in French spirits for four weeks at that point more spirits are then added and after two weeks the infusion is ready, the fruit is pressed allowing the natural juices and sugars to be released and what results in a delicious, sweet and fragrant liqueur. From there the syrup is blended with with black raspberries and blackcurrants. Next French cognac, sweet Madagascan vanilla and fragrant herbs are added. From there the ingredients are all blended together using a tradition that dates over 300 years. For more on Chambord, visit their website.
This recipe belongs to Martha Stewart. The image is hers as well.
The liqueur is made from elderflower, a small, white starry flower that blooms through the spring and summer. While it is by no means rare, the flowers "are maddeningly ephemeral once picked and quickly lose their delicate fragrance and flavor."
Saint Germain liqueur seems to bottles their liqueur in an artisanal manner. The flowers are gathered from the hillsides in the French Alps during a short four- to-six-week period in spring. These picked flowers are then bicycled over to a collection depot where they are macerated immediately to retain the fresh flavors of the bloom. Each bottle is individually numbered, reflecting the year in which the flowers were picked. For more information and the company's history, please do visit their website.
The image above and the recipe hail from Honest Fare.
Tangerine sorbet and bubbly make the perfect combination. Feel free to substitute lemon or raspberry sorbets. Place a scoop into a glass - wine glasses are preferable here - and add bubbles. Can it possibly get any easier? Image via Complete Recipes.
Another extremely simple and festive Champagne cocktail is a simple rock candy stick placed in a Champagne flute. Image via Hostess with the Mostess.
This recipe, via Style Me Pretty, combines three of my favorites - Champagne, pear vodka and St. Germain. it's simple, light and just slightly sweet and perfect for either New Year's Eve or a New Year's Day brunch.
How about a Gatsby-inspired Champagne Cocktail that involves, a sugar cube and Green Chartreuse, symbolic of the green light, perhaps? According to legend Chartreuse (pronounced shar-trew-z) is a French liqueur that has been made by the Carthusian Monks since 1737, according to instructions set out in a secret manuscript given to them by François Annibal d'Estrées in 1605. Made of distilled alcohol aged with 130 herbs, plants and flowers, this liqueur is named after the Monks' Grande Chartreuse monastery, located in the Chartreuse Mountains in the general region of Grenoble, France. For a much more detailed history on Chartreuse, visit their website. Chartreuse gives its name to the colour chartreuse, which was first used as a term of colour in 1884. And is one of the handful of liquors that continues to age and improve in the bottle.
The drink, according to Refinery 29 is only available at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. But they were kind enough to share the recipe. Image via Refinery 29.
Of course there are the traditional Mimosas and Bellinis, but we tend to think they're more apropos for brunch. Of course there is never a bad time to drink any sort of bubbly, and if you're awake long after the ball drops, we do encourage you to transition seamlessly into the daytime hours!
We wish you all a wonderful, safe and happy New Year's Celebration!