Champagne, Drinks, Pop Culture

White Stars, Anemones & Black Currants: Bubbly Questions Answered

October 20, 2009
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I’ve gotten a few questions lately at my site The Bubbly Girl so I thought I’d answer a few of them in one post. If you have a question about bubbly or cocktails, feel free to ask!

Q: Mal wrote to ask how long the Perrier-Jouët bottle has worn its fabulous cloak of white and gold anemone flowers?

A: The Perrier-Jouët family has always had an artistic flair, shown most notably in the Chateau Perrier and their home that has been converted into the Maison Belle Epoque on the Rue de Champagne in Epernay. In 1902 Henri Gallice commissioned famed artist Emile Gallé to create a special design for the Perrier-Jouët bottle that captured the artistry and spirit of the art nouveau movement. Gallé painted white and pink anemones outlined in gold with tendrils that hug the curves of the bottle. Apparently, with wars and other drama affecting the maison, the Gallé design sat unused for 60 years. It was unearthed in 1964 when a wonderful vintage inspired Perrier-Jouët to create a special cuvée called Fleur de Champagne, aka Belle Epoque in Europe. It was unveiled at Maxim’s and  Cabaret l’Alcazar  in Paris to mark Duke Ellington’s 70th birthday.

Q: James, a recent transplant to San Diego, asked where he could find crème de cassis? In Japan, there’s a popular drink called Orange Cassis that’s a blend of crème de cassis and OJ that he wants to recreate stateside.

A: Luckily for James, crème de cassis — which is black currant liqueur — is somewhat popular in the U.S. and Europe. It’s an ingredient in the classic champagne cocktail the Kir Royale or the white wine cocktail called a Kir. It should be available at most well stocked liquor stores — especially the old-school ones. The thing I like about creme de cassis is that its kind of sweet balanced by a tang on the back end. There’s a wide variety of styles of crème de cassis out there — some are more commercial and cost about $10; others like Massenez and L’Heritier Guyot are more artisanal and can cost about $20 to $30. For more brands, check out this crème de cassis discussion on Chowhound.

Q: Valerie wrote wondering what champagne to drink now that Moët & Chandon isn’t making White Star any more?

A: I wrote this post about the demise of White Star earlier this year, though I’ve been seeing it around for much of the year. You might try the new Imperial, the cuvée that Moët created to replace the top-selling White Star. Imperial isn’t quite as sweet, but it’s very tasty. If you loved the slight sweetness of White Star, then why not give Nectar Imperial, Moët’s demi-sec style champagne a try.

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