I couldn’t leave you pining away for a weekend cocktail recipe now could I? That would just be rude. So I asked my friend Greg, from SippitySup, if he would put together one of his creative libations…and he didn’t disappoint. Greg and I share an affinity for classic cocktails, along with farmer’s markets, vintage stuff and parties. So I thought it was particularly appropriate that he shared this classic libation and party favorite – champagne punch.
In Gigi they sing merrily about the night they invented it, and there is a wonderful operatic tribute to its properties in Die Fledermaus. It is ubiquitous at weddings. Brunch would just be lunch without it and true wine geeks often turn their nose up at it.
I am talking about Champagne. The bubbly wine.
Now I am no wine geek, I would never turn my nose up at a glass of Champagne. But I will admit sparkling wine is often a disappointment. Partly because of the expectations we place on it and partly because if you really stop and taste it, Champagne is too often merely superficially attractive. The attraction of course is the bubbles. But most of the bubbly stuff may look great in the glass, yet in the mouth it is dull. The worst of it leaves a metallic aftertaste, and can frequently leads to heartburn and indigestion.
Before I step on too many toes here, let me clear things up. When I say Champagne, that’s not necessarily what I mean. Real Champagne is made exclusively from a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes. It comes from the North Eastern area of France with the same name. The rest of the bubbly is more properly referred to as sparkling wine. Still there are plenty of sparkling wines that are delicious, well crafted and a pleasure to drink, and some Champagne can be too acidic and disappointing. So the key is not necessarily in the name.
However, a good bottle of sparkling wine or Champagne can be a bit pricey– too pricey for casual parties or everyday celebrations. This is when we reach to the second or third shelf in the liquor store and come home hoping we scored that elusive deal. Which is possible and with a little research you can get your hands on plenty of highly drinkable sparkling wines under $20.00 a bottle.
But for every bottle of bubbly that gets it right there are 10 bottles that do not. A true wine geek would have nothing to do with the bottles that do not get it right. But I am not a wine geek.
Enter Champagne Punch. This is a terrific warm weather party drink. It feels celebratory and special. It’s colorful, fragrant and downright tasty. But best of all it adds just the right bit of panache summertime parties by the pool.
I am in a long-term relationship– 20 plus years and still going strong. Which doesn’t make me an expert on relationships, but it does make me an expert on what works for my partner and me.
Beginning a relationship is generally the easy part; it’s maintaining the connection that gets a little tricky. The best advice I ever heard about relationships is this. Celebrate the little things and celebrate them in unexpected ways.
This is indeed good advice because the most difficult thing about staying in a long-term relationship is taking note of the simple fact that you enjoy being together. Small celebrations help you focus on what’s good about your life together. So the next time he does a particularly good job parallel parking or you’re having a particularly good hair day, note the occasion together and break open a bottle of bubbly and get snuggly.
Recipe: Champagne Punch
- 3 Teaspoons Grenadine
- 3 Tablespoons Cointreau
- 2 Tablespoons Brandy
- 1 3⁄4 Cups Champagne or Sparkling Wine
- Seasonal fruit of choice as garnish
- Fill a small ice bucket halfway with ice. Pour grenadine, Cointreau, brandy, and champagne over ice. Stir gently, and ladle punch into 2 wide-mouthed stemmed glasses.
- Garnish punch with orange slice, raspberries, apples, or any other fruit in season.
Preparation time: 15 Minutes
Number of servings (yield): 2
Meal type: cocktail
Culinary tradition: USA (General)