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Celebrities & Champagne

Bubbly Events, Celebrities & Champagne

Sparkling Ideas for Your Summer Vacation: Mumm Napa’s Photo Exhibit

June 1, 2009
Mumm Napa exhibit of work by LA Times photograher George Rose.

A mature Cary Grant (sigh) is one of the Hollywood photos included in a Mumm Napa exhibit of work by LA Times photograher George Rose.The exhibit is on display through Aug. 21.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit some of my favorite sparkling wine houses in Napa and Sonoma counties. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be highlighting special events at some of the picturesque sparkling wine houses in northern California in case you’re looking or a delicious and fun drive-cation (is that a word?) this summer.

Mumm Napa is presenting a special photo exhibit called “Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Other Perversities” in their Fine Art Photography Gallery through Aug. 21. The black and white exhibit features the work of George Rose, a photographer with the LA Times who chronicled Hollywood life and pop culture in the 1970s and 80s.

The photographs, which are taken from Rose’s new book that shows everything from movie premieres to mud wrestling matches, includes photos of celebs including Jack Nicholson, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Keith Richards, Ronald Reagan, Mary Tyler Moore, and Bill Cosby.

Rose’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Time, Newsweek and USA Today, and he was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize while at the Los Angeles Times. Rose is also a recipient of a World Press Award for one of the few still photos ever taken of an earthquake as it was actually occurring.

While you’re at Mumm, you might also want to stop for a glass of bubbly in their beautiful tasting room or go for a stroll in the garden. One of my favorites is their Blanc de Noirs, which was recently rechristened as a Brut Rosé. The wine has lots of black cherry and strawberry notes from the pinot noir and is delicious with grilled meats of any kind.

Celebrities & Champagne, Pop Culture

Champagne & Charity

May 30, 2009
Eva Longoria and Tony Parker were among the celebrities at Cannes 2009 who signed a 15 liter bottle of champagne to be auctioned for charity. (Courtesy photo)

Eva Longoria and Tony Parker were among the celebrities at Cannes 2009 who signed a 15 liter bottle of Moet et Chandon Brut Imperial champagne to be auctioned for charity. (Courtesy photo)

Champagne is one of the ultimate luxury goods and it’s associated with celebrities and rich people living the good life. But the large champagne houses also do a lot to bring attention and dollars to deserving charities.

At the 62nd film festival recently, Moet & Chandon carried on a tradition of having celebrities sign a massive bottle of champagne. The 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar (named after the famed kind of Babylon) was signed by celebs including Scarlett Johansson, Diane Kruger and Eva Longoria as they stopped on the red carpet.It will be auctioned off for charity later this year.

And just this weekend, the Veuve Clicquot Manhattan Polo Classic on Governor’s Island in New York City drew a star-studded crowd that included special guest player of Prince Harry of England. The Prince was there to help support Sentabale, a charity that Prince Harry co-founded with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to help African orphans and vulnerable children. Lesotho has about 200,000 orphans and the third highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Africa. After a successful documentary that showed much of the unfunded volunteer work being done in Lesotho to help children, the princes decided to form the professionally-run charity called Sentabale, which means “Forget Me Not.”

Prince Harry said he was pleased to be able to carry on his mother Diana’s work to help people affected by AIDS and to do so in a city that she loved.

Prince Harry during a visit to Lesotho Africa to support Sentebale, the charity he co-founded with Prince Seeiso. (Courtesty photo)

Prince Harry during a visit to Lesotho Africa to support Sentebale, the charity he co-founded with Prince Seeiso. (Courtesty photo)

“The prince and I both lost our mothers when we were very young,” Harry told a pre-match VIP gathering, according to an account on the Associated Press. “We set up Sentebale in their memory, and because my mother loved this city, it makes this occasion all the more poignant for me.”

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Celebrities & Champagne, Drinks

Perfect Beauty — My Custom Cocktail for Preston Bailey

March 17, 2009

Sooo sorry for the long wait for the actual Perfect Beauty cocktail recipe, but I have been having such a good time soaking up with culinary and wine culture of the Salentino in southern Puglia, Italy for the past 10 days — more on that soon. Plus, I was waiting for the professional photo from my good friend Bob Stefanko of Ranch & Coast Magazine.

Preston Bailey, the world-renowned floral and event designer, was fêted at the home of Susie Spanos when he flew to California in early March to speak at a benefit for the Village Garden Club of La Jolla. I designed a custom floral cocktail called Perfect Beauty with fresh California strawberry juice and rose geranium syrup for the party.

During the evening, the bartenders made the cocktail with sparkling water and a variety of champagnes from the Spanos’ cellar including Dom Perignon, Bollinger’s Special Cuvee, Roeder’s Cristal and Perrier-Jouet Fleur de Champagne decorated with anemones shown above. The garnish was a beautiful pinch of edible flower petals called Confetti from San Diego Specialty Produce.

Since I created a rose geranium cocktail for floral guru Preston Bailey, I couldn’t think of a better time to wear my geranium pink suit from Max Mara.

I was really thrilled to see that most of the guests were sipping my cocktail when I arrived at the party just after sunset. But I was ecstatic when Bailey raved “Delicious, delicious, delicious!” when he tasted a Perfect Beauty made with sparkling water. He then insisted on getting some of my rose geranium syrup, which I promised to send as soon as I get home.

Perfect Beauty
Makes 1 drink

1/2 ounce fresh pressed strawberry juice, seeds removed
1/2 ounce rose geranium syrup (From The Bubbly Bar)
4 to 5 ounces chilled champagne or sparkling water
pink and gold edible flower petals

Add strawberry juice and rose geranium syrup to a champagne flute. Top with chilled champagne or sparkling water. Garnish with edible flower petals and serve.

Celebrities & Champagne

Perfect Beauty: My Champagne Cocktail for Preston Bailey

March 3, 2009
Preston Bailey with one of his floral dogs. Photo Courtesy Brides Magazine.

Preston Bailey with one of his floral dogs. Photo Courtesy Brides Magazine.

When I heard that Preston Bailey, the famous New York City floral and event designer, was coming to San Diego for a benefit and private party at Susie Spanos’ home, I knew I had to create a signature sparkling cocktail in his honor.

His web site calls him the world’s preeminent designer and it’s no exaggeration: he does parties for celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, the royal family in Abu Dhabi and one secret client who dropped $25 million on a soiree.

Bailey’s speaking before the The Village Garden Club of La Jolla as a part of the high powered group’s Meet the Masters series. He’s appearing at 1:30 Thursday; proceeds from the $65 tickets benefit the Club’s Schoolyard Garden Project. He’s also offering a sneak peek at his gorgeous new book Celebrations that’s being released by Rizzoli in the fall.

I adore flowers so much there’s a whole chapter of floral drinks in my new cocktail book The Bubbly Bar. I knew I had to design a floral drink for Bailey since he’s synonymous with lush and fabulous floral designs. He’s also famous for the whimsical sculptured floral dogs like the ones above. And I knew I wanted it to be pink.

First I created a delicious drink named Vintage Rose with a rose petal syrup I creation, but decided it wasn’t quite original enough.

Scented rose geranium leaves grow easily and are prized for adding a lemony, floral flavor to cakes and syrups, especially in England.

Rose geranium leaves grow easily and are prized for adding a lemony, floral flavor to cakes and syrups, especially in England.

Then I thought of my syrup made from rose geranium leaves, which offers a tantalizing floral note along with a lemony freshness. Since the menu focuses on great regional foods like spiny lobster, upscale fish tacos and Chino farm vegetables, I decided to pair it with the new season’s fresh strawberries that are so delicious.

Check back for pictures from the party and the recipe to make your own Perfect Beauty.

Celebrities & Champagne, Celebrity Chefs, Food + Recipes

Wolfgang Puck’s House Champagne…is Krug

February 5, 2009
Krug Rosé 375 ml

Krug Rosé 375 ml

What kind of champagne does a celebrity chef like Wolfgang Puck who has a restaurant empire that includes the famous Spago in Beverly Hills drink? I had never given it much thought or for that matter eaten at Spago in Beverly Hills. Until Monday.  And the experience didn’t disappoint in the least.

It was the kind of scene  that one might imagine goes on every day at Spago. I walked in, looked to my right and there was actor Dennis Farina holding court at a prominent table on the patio. The hostess saw me to the table where friends Lana and Barbara aka The Luscious Ladies Who Lunch were ensconced; I look up and there’s Skeet Ulrich sitting opposite. And in the quiet booths in back along the kitchen, chef Wolfgang Puck sat eating with a friend.

After we polish off celery root agnolotti in black truffle sauce, lobster Cobb salad and Asian style flat-iron steak from Chef de Cuisine Lee Hefter’s menu and wonderful lemon sabayon and cheese cake by Sherry Yard, Chef Puck comes over to say hello. We talk about the neighborhood, his latest projects; I told him about my new champagne cocktail book The Bubbly Bar that comes out in August.

“I love champagne,” Puck says with his characteristic grin.”My house champagne is Krug.” When I politely point out that I didn’t notice it on the Spago menu, he clarifies, “No, at my house!”

Puck explains that he stocks his home cellar with both Krug and the Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé — also one of my favorites. But now that his wife Gelila Assefa Puck has developed a taste for Krug, that’s all she drinks.

I wonder if the Pucks will be splurging this Valentine’s Day on the Krug Rosé half bottle, which comes in a gorgeous pearlized pink box with an interior embossed with curling silver vines. Like the Krug Grande Cuvée, the rosé has a unique richness that’s offset by notes of wild strawberry and spices. It’s just the sort of luxurious drink that romance deserves.