Big Bottles of Bubbly Make for Big Fun

This chart from Champagne Drappier illustrates wine bottle sizes from the personal sized bottle to the improbable Melchizedek, which could satisfy 200 of your closest friends.
This chart from Champagne Drappier illustrates wine bottle sizes from the personal sized bottle to the improbable Melchizedek, which could satisfy 200 of your closest friends.

As magical as it is to open any bottle of sparkling wine, opening a big bottle of bubbly when entertaining makes an even grander statement. Whether it’s a magnum which holds the equivalent of two regular bottles of wine or a massive 4-bottle Jeroboam, bigger bottles are a smart and easy way to please a crowd.

Looking back on bottles of bubbly with friends over the years, the larger format bottles seem to stand out. We celebrated wrapping up shooting for my book The Bubbly Bar with a magnum of Veuve Clicquot; I remember sharing the same wine with Tony Hawk and his friends at a party in their backyard. Krug’s rich and toasty Grande Cuvée flowed freely from magnums at an over-the-top press trip to show off the brand’s custom hot air balloon.

The cool thing about larger bottles is that ounce for ounce, they’re no more expensive than the 750. And besides their impressive size, larger format bottles win in the taste department when compared to the usual 750 ml bottles. I learned this lesson after a long and windy drive up to Mendocino County to visit Roederer Estate. The tasting room hosts pour their non vintage brut from a 750 ml bottle and a 1.5 liter magnum and letting guests taste the two side by side. The wine from the 750 was deliciously crisp and bursting with fresh green apples; the same wine from the magnum had these richer, toasty notes that usually are found in a wine that’s much older and more expensive.

Krug's Grande Cuvée tastes even better when its poured from a magnum.
Krug's Grande Cuvée tastes even better when its poured from a magnum.

Some fun larger bottles to try include Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut, the nearly organic Drusian Prosecco, Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut and Joy!, a sparkling wine from Iron Horse that’s aged for 10 to 15 years. It’s only available in magnums, to make sure there’s enough liquid happiness to go around.

Celebrate Repeal Day with a Pisco Punch

pisco punch at quinceThis time of year, most people’s holiday-related thoughts are consumed by Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve. But today, the holiday most serious bartenders and cocktail geeks are celebrating is Repeal Day. December 5, 1933 marked the end of Prohibition, the ill-conceived “Noble Experiment” with temperance that ran from 1919 to 1933.

Repeal Day events are going on tonight at classically-minded bars like The Drawing Room in Chicago. In northern California, check out the party at Elixir in the Mission. In Southern California, head to downtown LA to Seven Grand, The Edison and/or The Varnish.

Before Prohibition, a delicious golden cocktail called the Pisco Punch was the San Francisco treat – sorry Rice-a-Roni. According to David Wondrich’s fine historical cocktail book “Imbibe”, all the bars in town made the this tangy cocktail with the Peruvian grape brandy. Many patrons were prone to over-enjoying Pisco Punch; things got so bad that in 1856, police mandated that people could be served just one of the cocktails per day.
Continue reading “Celebrate Repeal Day with a Pisco Punch”