The Aristocrat, from Will Thompson of Miami’s Jaguar Sun restaurant, is an unorthodox drink. It’s most closely related to a Champagne Cocktail or French 75, in that it’s topped with French bubbly; however, rather than brandy, gin or another spirit as its base, it’s a mix of red Burgundy and a strawberry syrup.
The pinot noir from France’s Burgundy region is some of the most famous and celebrated wine in the world; it also has a commensurate price tag. Older vintages can easily break into the triple digits, and even the more affordable ones are often around the $40 and $50 mark. You can substitute it using pinot noir from another part of the world, such as Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley. However, they have noticeably different flavor profiles and tend to also be pricey. Luckily, you’ll be using less than two ounces of the red wine in the drink, so you won’t have to be an aristocrat to make one. You may consider making this for an appetizer or for dessert, and have the rest of the bottle of wine to drink with dinner.
Dessert may be a better option of the two, as the Aristocrat is on the sweet side of things thanks to the strawberry syrup and the Pimm’s No. 1, a gin-based, fruit-infused liqueur. Besides its most famous application in a Pimm’s Cup, you can also use the liqueur in drinks like the Pimm’s Coupe and Pimm’s Fizz. The strawberry syrup, too, has plenty of applications—try using it in place of simple syrup for a fruitier Strawberry Daiquiri or punching up a Strawberry Margarita with even more berry flavor.
- 1 1/2 ounces red Burgundy
- 1/2 ounce Pimm’s No. 1
- 1 ounce strawberry syrup*
- Champagne to top
- Garnish: lemon twirl or grated nutmeg
Combine the red Burgundy, Pimm’s and strawberry syrup ahead of time and chill in refrigerator.
Pour into a flute and top with the Champagne.
Garnish with a lemon twirl or dusting of nutmeg.
*Strawberry syrup: Coat 2 pounds of halved, de-stemmed strawberries with 2 pounds of white sugar in a vodka-rinsed cambro. Cover with lid and refrigerate overnight, then dissolve the strawberry sugar in a liter of spiced water**. Strain the strawberry syrup through a chinois and refrigerate for up to a week.
**Spiced water: Bring 1 liter water to boil with 4 ground allspice berries, 3/4 ounce of mace and 3 cinnamon sticks. Add 4 black tea bags, take it off the heat and let cool. Remove teabags.