At any good New Year’s Eve party, there’s usually enough bubbly to fill a bathtub. While we enjoy a nice glass of chilled sparkling wine, whether it be Champagne, prosecco or cava, we also like to mix it with a liqueur. The effervescence of the wine balances the complex flavors of the spirit, making for a simple and elegant cocktail.
While this combination might seem strange, it’s not without precedent. The classic Kir Royale is just Champagne topped with a bit of crème de cassis or Chambord. And now there’s a wide range of liqueurs available that also pair well with bubbly. We like the elderflower-flavored St-Germain, the gingery Domaine de Canton and the historic Dubonnet Rouge. It’s generally best to use a drier sparkling wine and start with a quarter-ounce of your favorite liqueur. But depending upon the spirit, you may need to add more, says Allen Katz, a Liquor.com advisor and director of mixology and spirits education for Southern Wine & Spirits of New York.
For a more flavorful cocktail, Katz suggests adding a complementary fruit juice as well. A good recipe to try is the Grand Mimosa, which combines a Mimosa (Champagne and OJ) with the orange-flavored Grand Marnier.
But why limit yourself to just one cocktail? Ring in the new year by mixing up a whole bunch of different sparkling concoctions. Not only will your fellow revelers be impressed, but you’ll also ensure that your first drink of 2011 is delicious.