December 31, 2008

Mix It Up This New Year

No New Year's Eve party is complete without champagne. Mix it up a bit this year by serving one of these creative champagne cocktails in addition to your bubbly:

Pomegranate Bellini
Cooking Light Magazine

  • 4 cups crushed ice
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup ginger ale
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle Champagne or sparkling wine
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a pitcher. Pour about 1 cup of the Champagne mixture into each of 8 glasses. Garnish with seeds, if desired.

The Wintergreen
Serious Eats

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mint simple syrup (recipe follows)
  • 1 tablespoon cold clear crème de menthe
  • Champagne, chilled
  • Mint sugar for garnish (recipe follows)
  • 1 mint leaf, for garnish
Ingredients for the Mint Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 stems fresh mint (each has about 6-10 leaves on it)
  • Ingredients for the Mint Sugar Garnish
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 stems mint, leaves plucked from the stalk
  • 1 slice lemon

Begin by making the mint simple syrup. Put the sugar, water, and mint in a saucepot, and bring to a boil, stirring the sugar so it dissolves. Shut off the heat, and allow the syrup to come to room temperature. Remove the mint.

While the syrup is cooling, make the mint sugar by combining the sugar and fresh mint in a mini food processor. Blitz the two until completely combined into a mint-green sugar. Place the mint sugar on a salad plate.

Rub the slice of lemon around the rims of the champagne flutes. Dip the wet rims into the mint sugar. It should stick and form a sparkling crown on the glass.

Trying to avoid disturbing the sugared rim, pour 1 1/2 tablespoons mint simple syrup and 1 tablespoon clear crème de menthe into the each champagne flute.

Top with champagne; be careful not to pour too quickly, or the fizz will ruin the sugar rim. Float a single mint leaf in each glass.

Celebration Fizz

  • 1/4 cup halved seedless white grapes
  • 1 1/2 ounces mandarin vodka
  • 1/4 cup white grape juice
  • 6 ounces chilled Champagne

Freeze the grapes ahead of time. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Pour the vodka and grape juice over the ice and shake well. Place the frozen grapes in a Champagne flute and strain in the vodka and grape juice. Top with Champagne.