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cocktail

Restaurants

Here’s What You’re Missing at CDP, the Sexy Bar by Commis

March 26, 2018
popcorn and sparkling wine

When I first heard about the expansion plans for the Michelin-starred restaurant Commis, my reaction was mixed. Sure, it would be cool to have a chic bar by chef James Syhabout right next door to my place in Oakland. But it also meant saying goodbye to my favorite designer second-hand store, since they lost their lease to make room.

But after just a few visits to CDP, I’m very happy with the swap.

If you haven’t made it over to Piedmont Avenue to try  CDP (short for chef de partie) yet, you’re missing out on an exquisite cocktail and dining experience where every detail has been considered carefully. considered. The first thing to catch my eye in the space designed by Gensler was a wardrobe fronted by coppery chain curtain — what an unexpected and sexy way to store coats. A gleaming Carrara marble waterfall bar is the focal point of the dimly lit room framed by potted palms starburst chandeliers and sinuous pendant lights.

oakland 09 cocktail commis bar cdp oakland

CDP’s Oakland 09 is a play on the classic French 75.

CDP specializes in brandy and bubbly — two of my favorite things. The signature cocktail is the Oakland 09, named for the year that Commis first opened. Their riff on the French 75 is all kinds of extra: it stars Pineau des Charentes and housemade demi-sec bubbly (seriously, who else does that??)  The final touch: A spritz of jasmine essence, one of the aromas Syhabout associates with his Oakland neighborhood.

Brandy lovers will want the Blood Orange Side Car, a juicy twist on the classic. It’s spiritous enough to relax you, but I like the way the blood orange juice rounds out the flavors.

But for me, the big draw at CDP is the exquisite bar food that shows Syhabout’s creativity and chops.

brussels sprouts with chervil CDP

CDP’s brussels sprouts just might be the best in the Bay Area.

I know Brussels sprouts are on every menu in town, but trust me — you won’t find any as good as these. They’re crisped in a pan, then crispy cook sprouts and raw leaves are bathed in a luxurious, tangy vinaigrette that gets a lift from the under-appreciated herb chervil. That distinct licorice flavor surfaces again in the steak tartare with chervil creme. Syhabout deftly evokes the satisfying flavors of a rib-eye steak with bearnaise, with none of the heft.

And yes, you do need to try the warm boule of bread and chicken skin butter — it’s a nearly life-changing experience and the butter, topped in delicate flower petal and herb design, is downright beautiful.

butter decorated with flowers

Tweezer food alert: CDP’s schmaltzy butter topped with flower petals and herbs.

There’s even a happy hour menu (early from 5 to 6 and late from 9:30 p.m.to close) that starts at $3 for fine nibbles like Marcona almonds dusted in pink peppercorn and rose sugar, a funky little ham sandwich sweetened with honey or my favorite — the popcorn in seaweed brown butter. Try it with a flute of the Gramona Brut Cava or — maybe the Thienot champagne. And then repeat.

The team at CDP knows the way to a bubbly girl’s heart.

 

 

 

 

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Make My Bittersweet Naughty Negroni

February 1, 2018

Anyone who loves classic cocktails or things Italian knows the Negroni. It’s a bracing and bittersweet cocktail that stars Campari, sweet vermouth and gin.

Lately, I’ve noticed that riffs on this traditional Florentine cocktail have been making the rounds.

count-camillo-negroni

From camillonegroni.com

Just the other day, GQ Magazine penned a love letter to the Negroni Sbagliato, a version that adds a sparkling wine, such as Prosecco, to the mix. The name “sbagliato” roughly means broken or incorrect, as if adding Prosecco is a bad thing.

The original Negroni is named for Count Camillo Negroni, an esteemed patron of Caffè Cassoni in Florence. He usually drank Americanos (Campari, sweet vermouth and club soda), but one day in 1919, he asked barman Fosco Scarselli to swap the soda for gin!

What may have started as libation to erase a bad day has become an Italian contribution to the classic cocktail pantheon.  The Count even has his own tribute site and inspired a couple books.

Judging from the drink, I bet he liked other bitter elixirs like Italian espresso. I found my first Negronis a bit too bitter and viscous for my palate. So while I was developing recipes for my book The Bubbly Bar back in 2007, I made a softer version.

My Naughty Negroni includes a splash of Moscato d’Asti. This refreshing sparkling wine from Piedmont adds freshness and lightens. But it’s still a perfectly bittersweet aperitif  and a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

The Naughty Negroni 

1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce gin
3-4 ounces Moscato d’Asti, chilled
1 orange peel spiral, for garnish

Add the Campari, vermouth and gin to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until your hands are cold, then strain into a champagne flute. Top with Moscato and garnish with the orange peel.

Makes 1 cocktail

© By Maria C. Hunt – Author of The Bubbly Bar. All rights reserved.

Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Five Fabulous New Year’s Eve Cocktails from Pinterest

December 28, 2013
kismet_cocktail_flutes

It seems I have thousands of pictures of champagne and sparkling wine cocktails on my poor overworked MacBook. But that’s part of why I love Pinterest, because it collects all sorts of inspiration, and so beautifully. Here are five fabulous cocktails from my Bubbly Cocktails board on Pinterest, along with links to the recipes. Be sure to follow me for more!

 

1. Sloe Motion

This cocktail from The Continental Midtown in Philadelphia was featured in Saveur. Though the recipe is just three ingredients, quite often simple things have the most impact. Love the licorice garnish!

Plymouth's Sloe Gin gives this cocktail its name. Photo credit: Christopher Gabello.

Plymouth Sloe Gin lends this cocktail its name. Photo credit: Christopher Gabello.

 

2. Campari and Orange Sparkling Cocktail

I find Campari’s bitterness tough to take on its own. But when I tasted a cocktail by Paul Mant at Quo Vadis, which mixed the  Italian aperitif with orange, lemon and champagne, it started a whole new chapter. This easy drink from Cooking Light will show you just what I mean.

Campari, orange juice and sparkling wine make for a complex cocktail. Photo credit: Oxmoor House.

The Italian aperitif Campari, orange juice and sparkling wine make a deliciously complex drink. Photo credit: Oxmoor House.

 

3. The Kismet Cocktail

The combination of pomegranate and brut sparkling wine is a winner — just look at all the pins for my cocktail called the Lava Lamp. The Kismet, which means “fate” takes a sophisticated twist on that flavor combination by adding ginger and passion fruit. Pomegranate, ginger and passion fruit are all supposed to be aphrodisiacs… and in my opinion, champagne is too.

Pomegranate, passion fruit and ginger make for a thrilling winter cocktail. Photo credit: Maria Hunt.

The pomegranate, passion fruit and ginger Kismet cocktail. Photo credit: Maria Hunt.

 

4. The Antoinette

This cocktail from Saveur‘s article called Bubblicious is a bubbly take on the Bramble with prosecco mixed with blackberries, lemon, vodka and Cointreau. It’s poured at Oak restaurant in Dallas.

The Antoinette from Oak in Dallas. Photo Credit: Helen Rosner

The Antoinette from Oak in Dallas. Photo credit: Helen Rosner.

 

5. Christmas Cranberry Mojito

This gorgeous pin lead me to a blog called Style Celebration – Style Celeb for short – which shares all sorts of info on fashion, shopping, cosmetic trends, runway reports. A Tastemaker post shared this seasonal cranberry mojito, with cranberry juice, light rum and mint. It would be even more sublime if you sub some brut bubbly or prosecco for the sparkling water.

The Christmas Cranberry Mojito from Style Celeb. Photo credit: Roya Mirgoli of Style Celeb.

The Christmas Cranberry Mojito from Style Celeb.
Photo credit: Roya Mirgoli of Style Celeb.

 

 

 

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Pumpkin Pie Parfait Cocktail Recipe for Autumn

October 31, 2012

 

My Pumpkin Pie Parfait is like dessert in a glass.

Well, now that Halloween is here, the leaves are turning red and gold and it’s getting chilly, it’s officially fall. Things are changing at the market too, with autumn produce like pears, pomegranates, persimmons and pumpkins taking the place of summer berries and peaches.

As much as I like making drinks with summer fruit, I think the texture and deeper flavors in fall fruits can be just as appealing. The Pumpkin Pie Parfait cocktail recipe was inspired by the Thanksgiving dessert, but it actually has no pumpkin in it. I didn’t want to deal with the stringy texture in a drink, so I used Torani’s Pumpkin Spice Syrup instead. I like the syrups by the San Francisco company because they really capture the flavor of the natural fruit.

Garnish it with a lot of whipped cream or just a little depending on your taste. I like freshly grated nutmeg best for this drink because it has such a subtle flavor.

Pumpkin Pie Parfait

3/4 ounce Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup
2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce Domaine de Canton Ginger liqueur
1 ounce fresh orange juice
Juice from 1/4 lemon
pinch fresh nutmeg
3 drops Angostura bitters
whipped cream

Add pumpkin spice syrup, bourbon, ginger liqueur,
orange and lemon juices, nutmeg and bitters to a
cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a deep champagne coupe or a martini glass.
Garnish with whipped cream and another pinch of nutmeg
on top.
Makes 1 cocktail

© Recipe by Maria C. Hunt aka The Bubbly Girl. All rights reserved.

Bubbly Events, Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Celebrate Summer with A New Strawberry Cocktail

June 20, 2012

It’s officially here: the start of summer 2012! But the weather has been so gorgeous for the past few weeks that I already initiated it by creating some new summer drinks starring strawberries.

Even though strawberries make their first appearance in spring, it’s this time of year when they start to get really sweet, plentiful and affordable, which makes them perfect for cocktails.

The Pink Berry Punch, shown above, is a non-alcoholic drink that I made with organic Driscoll’s strawberries, pineapple and pink grapefruit juice along with Perrier Mineral Water.

It was easy, since I fed everything into my juicer. And I showed a crowd of 50 guests how easy it was to use the Breville Juice Fountain to make drinks last Saturday at Bloomingdale’s San Francisco Centre during the Cuisine Noir Magazine Summer Celebration. The demo, which included two delicious recipes by Chef Berlin Lillard II (for a crispy glazed shrimp and a spicy cucumber mint granita), wouldn’t have gone so smoothly without our fabulous hostess: Chef Candi Austin, the culinary specialist at Bloomingdale’s.

In the Bloomingdale’s demo kitchen, with the ingredients for the strawberry and Perrier Pink Berry Punch we served the crowd.

Here’s the recipe if you want to try making the Pink Berry Punch at home. You’ve probably noticed that these flavors would work well with a splash of gin or rum as well. But one in a while, it’s nice to make a drink that everyone at the party can enjoy.

Pink Berry Punch

1/2 cup organic strawberries, hulled

1 pink grapefruit, peeled

4 sprigs fresh mint

1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1/4 cup Perrier Mineral Water

small strawberry and sprig mint, for garnish

Feed the strawberries, grapefruit, mint and pineapple through your juicer. Let the juice settle and then strain into a cocktail glass. Add the chilled Perrier water. Garnish with the small strawberry and the sprig of mint.

Makes one drink

By Maria Hunt aka The Bubbly Girl. All rights reserved.

We had a great crowd of 50 guests for the Summer Celebration at Bloomingdale’s San Francisco Centre.