The Bubbly Bar: A book launch and a sparkling sangria recipe

the-bubbly-bar-small-cover

It’s hard to believe it’s finally happening, but after three years of work and waiting, my book “The Bubbly Bar: Champagne & Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion” is on sale today!!

It’s a beautiful, fun and useful book, filled with great classic and original drinks that mix international sparkling wines like brut champagne, prosecco, cava with fine spirits, seasonal fruits and herbs and homemade syrups. Plus there’s a great guide to visiting California sparkling wineries and buying great bubbly in any price range. But don’t take my word for it; Washington Post spirits writer Jason Wilson wrote a great review on it and San Francisco based cocktail expert Camper English is featuring a Bubbly Bar book give-away on Alcademics.

In case you’re in San Diego on Wednesday Aug. 26, there’s a book launch party  and farm-to-bar cocktails mixer hosted by Hotel Solamar and Slow Food Urban San Diego from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is free; the $20 Bubbly Special includes a signed copy of the book and three cocktails from the book featuring Domaine Chandon sparkling wine.

One of the drinks we’ll be serving on Wednesday is Tisana, a fruity, golden punch  — very much like sangria — that features passionfruit, pineapple, pink grapefruit and orange juices  spiked with brandy and brut sparkling wine. I’ll also be making this drink on CW6 on Wednesday; here’s the recipe in case you’d like to try it at home.

tisana-1-smaller2

Tisana Punch

Inspired by a fruit punch commonly served in Venezuela, this golden concoction is always appreciated. Try my version of this classic and then feel free to  vary the ingredients with the fruits and juices you might have on hand, taking care to balance the sweet and tart flavors. A good dark rum can also be substituted for the brandy.

2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups orange juice
2 cups pink grapefruit juice
1-1/2 cups passion fruit juice
1 ripe mango, diced
1 green apple, diced
pulp from one passion fruit
6 ounces brandy
2 teaspoons Angostura bitters
2 bottles cava, chilled
10 fresh shavings of nutmeg

Combine the juices and fruits in a punch bowl or large pitcher and then add the brandy and bitters. Pour in the cava. Top with the  freshly grated nutmeg and serve with ice if you like.

Makes 12 servings

From:  “The Bubbly Bar: Champagne & Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion” by Maria C. Hunt (Clarkson Potter $16.99)

Come to The Bubbly Girl’s sparkling San Diego book launch parties Aug. 23 & 26

the-bubbly-bar-cover-smallI hope you can come share a glass of something sparkling with me as I launch my new cocktail book The Bubbly Bar: Champagne & Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion from Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House.

Recently featured in The Washington Post, The Bubbly Bar shares recipes for classic and original cocktails that mix sparkling wines and champagne with seasonal fruits, fine spirits and home-made syrups and infusions.

Enjoy a civilized afternoon at a Croquet & Champagne Party hosted by The American Institute of Wine & Food on Aug. 23 at The Grand Del Mar. Put on your whites and play croquet, sip champagne and feast on tea sandwiches, strawberries and cream. The fun goes from 2 to 4 p.m. on the Aria Lawn, the tickets are $60 ($50 for AIWF members) and include a signed copy of The Bubbly Bar. To RSVP with the AIWF by Friday Aug. 21, call (619) 297-0951.

The next bash is a Slow Food Metro Mixer Aug. 26 at Hotel Solamar at 6th and J downtown. Taste bubbly cocktails featuring Domaine Chandon and fresh seasonal fruits, enjoy Chef Christian Graves’ delicious farm-to-table cuisine on the sunny patio of LOUNGEsix. The party lasts from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is free; the $20 Bubbly Special includes a signed book, three bubbly cocktails and a donation to Slow Food Urban San Diego. Stay after the party for the chef’s special three-course Bubbles & Nibbles menu for $26 served in Jsix starting at 7 p.m.  To RSVP, visit Slow Food Urban San Diego.

The Rose Guava Pinky for MxMo August 2009

Pinky vodka was the inspiration for the Rose Guava Pinky cocktail. (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)
Pinky vodka was the inspiration for the Rose Guava Pinky cocktail. (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)

I rarely drink vodka and so I don’t usually think about making cocktails with it either. But I was intrigued when a liquor rep friend gave me a bottle of Pinky. It’s a pink vodka that’s infused with violets, petals and other botanicals, making it sound more gin-like. On it’s own, Pinky vodka has a hint of sweetness to it since it’s distilled from winter wheat. It also comes in a very pretty package.
And then when it I learned that vodka was the theme for Mixology Monday hosted by Felicia’s Speakeasy, it spurred me to see what I could create with it.

One of my favorite pink mixers is fragrant guava juice and with summer being a great season for so many herbs I I’ve been using herbs in lots of cocktails. The Rose Guava Pinky is what I came up with for MxMo August 2009.
mxmologo

The Rose Guava Pinky
2 ounces Pinky vodka
2 ounces guava juice (canned, from Mexican product aisle)
1/2 ounce housemade sour mix
3 fresh raspberries
1 inch sprig fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish

Add the Pinky vodka, guava juice, sour mix, raspberries and rosemary to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a small martini glass or coupe champagne glass. Garnish with the rosemary.

Bubbly Girl Drink of the Week: Sangria de Cava at Columbia Restaurant in Tampa

Sangria de cava, made from the sparkling wine from Spain, is a house specialty at the historic Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Fla. (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)
Sangria de cava, made from the sparkling wine from Spain, is a house specialty at the historic Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Fla. (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)

If you find yourself in Tampa, Fla. for a few days, chances are you’ll end up at the restaurant Columbia. A Spanish/Cuban restaurant in the Ybor City area, Columbia has been in business since 1905, making it the oldest restaurant in the state of Florida.

It’s a vast space with curved arches over the bar, indoor fountains and an extensive glass-walled wine room that showcases many wines from Spain and California. The restaurant is famous for its 1905 salad made from a trademarked recipe, deviled crab croquettes, paella and simple Cuban style dishes like ropa vieja served with perfectly sweet fried plantains and rice.

Scanning the drink menu, I wanted to order the pitcher of Sangria de Cava — and my adventurous friend Melonyce agreed to split it with me. I love white sangria and I created my own version in my book The Bubbly Bar: Champagne & Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion that’s available now on Amazon.com. Cava is the sparkling wine from Spain, typically crafted from the local grapes xarel-lo, macabeo and parellada using the same methods as champagne. Columbia uses Cristalino Brut Cava, which is crisp with lemon and apple flavors, a hint of minerality and nice bubbles. Made in Spain’s Penedes region by Jaume Serra winery, Cristalino is very easy to find in your local wine shop and a favorite of many for its quality and affordable price – usually under $10.

Our waiter brought out all the ingredients including a half bottle of Cristalino Brut Cava and then mixed the white sparkling sangria table-side. As he worked, I jotted down the recipe for Columbia’s Sangria de Cava.

Columbia’s Sangria de Cava

2 flat wheels of orange, cut in half
4 flat wheels of lime, cut in half
2 flat wheels of lemon, cut in half
1 shot orange liqueur
1 shot brandy
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lemon and lime juice combined
1 shot simple syrup (see note)
1/2 bottle brut cava
2 maraschino cherries

Add orange, lime and lemon slices to a sturdy glass pitcher. Using a wooden spoon or a muddler, smash the fruit to release its juices. Add the orange liqueur, brandy, juices and simple syrup to the pitcher. Stir and then top off with the chilled cava. Garnish each glass with a maraschino cherry.
Note: To make simple syrup, mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 cup water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Let cool and store in a clean bottle for up to two weeks. It’s an easy way to sweeten tea and lemonade without any pesky sugar crystals.
Serves 2 people.

The Bubbly Girl Drink of the Week: Mango Ginger Fizz at Twenty/20 in Carlsbad

The Mango Ginger Fizz and a Blood Orange Mimosa are two of the cocktails featured at Sparkling Sundays at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa. (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)
The Mango Ginger Fizz (recipe below) and a Blood Orange Mimosa are two of the cocktails featured at Sparkling Sundays at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa. (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)

I have to admit I’m not much of a brunch person. But a bubbly brunch like the one at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa is a different story.

Most places that do brunch offer a few de riguer sparkling cocktails like Mimosa or Bellini, because they know diners expect it along with their eggs Benedict. At Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar, however, they go all out, creating a Sparkling Sundays menu from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays that features 10 drinks with sparkling wine or champagne.

We walked through the modern lobby to the neo-classic style Twenty/20 restaurant which offers great ocean views on a clear day. Brunch is served on a sunny patio where guitarist played jazzy modern music and chefs cooked in plein aire.

We started with the Mango Ginger Fizz, a tangy golden mix of Domaine de Canton Ginger liqueur, mango nectar and bubbly a Twenty/20 Mimosa that was tangy with the taste of blood orange juice. Other sparkling drinks include a French 75, a lemony gin cocktail; The Fraise with strawberries and champagne and the Au Pear with Hangar One Spiced Pear vodka and St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur. All are priced from $7 to $10.

The vineyard style pork sandwich is served open-faced and drizzled in pinot noir sauce. (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)
The vineyard style pork sandwich is served open-faced and drizzled in pinot noir sauce and colorful cherry tomatoes. (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)

The brunch menu created by resort chef Steven Patrick is unconventional too, offering wine friendly, California style tapas created with local ingredients in season. Offerings priced from $2 to 6 include small golden sweet peppers stuffed with herbed goat cheese, a delicious mini Kobe slider crowned in maple cured bacon and an open-faced pork loin grilled cheese sandwich drizzled with pinot noir sauce and sliced summer cherry tomatoes.

One of our favorite choices was a giant sweet prawn grilled with a bay leaf and paired with citrus aioli and black sea salt. And if you want a taste of something sweet, try the mini pancakes with Carlsbad strawberries.

A giant prawn is served seared with a bay laurel leaf, citrus aioli and black salt.(Photo by Maria C. Hunt)
A giant prawn is served in a deliciously simple way at Twenty/20 Grill: seared with a bay laurel leaf, citrus aioli and black salt. (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)

The tapas menu is so popular that it’s also offered on Thursday nights. For reservations or for more information, visit The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa web site or call 760-827-2500. The resort is located at 5480 Grand Pacific Drive, Carlsbad, Calif. 92008

Mango Ginger Fizz

2 ounces fresh mango nectar (see note)

1 oz Domaine de Canton ginger liquor

3 ounces brut sparkling wine, chilled

lime slice, for garnish

Add the mango nectar ( available at Trader Joe’s) and Domaine de Canton to a champagne flute. Top with the chilled sparkling wine. Garnish with a lime.

From Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar at the Sheraton Resort Carlsbad & Spa