Browsing Tag

brut

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Sparkling Wine

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

August 8, 2009
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.

Sparkling Wine

Meet Winemaker Eileen Crane of Domaine Carneros in San Diego

March 29, 2009
Eileen Crane, CEO and winemaker of Domaine Carneros in the Napa Valley, has been crafting French style sparkling wines longer than anyone else in America.

Eileen Crane, CEO and winemaker of Domaine Carneros in the Napa Valley, has been crafting French style sparkling wines longer than anyone else in America.

Winemakers come and go, but few are as worth meeting as Eileen Crane, the winemaker and CEO of Domaine Carneros in the Napa Valley. She’s in San Diego on Tuesday March 31, for a Bubbly Night Out cocktail party and dinner showcasing her sparkling and still wines at The Winesellar & Brasserie.

She’s a font of fascinating historical and cultural information on champagne; she also crafts some of  the most distinctive and satisfying sparkling wines made in America. Whether the Brut Cuvée, the dreamy Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs (my favorite), or the Brut Rosé Cuvée de la Pompadour (my other favorite), all the Domaine Carneros sparkling wines share a French toastiness and structure balanced with the ripe juiciness of California fruit. It’s quite something to visit the gorgeous chateau style winery, which recalls the Louis XV style Chateau La Marquetterie near Epernay, France where Domaine Carneros parent company Taittinger hosts its Maison de Champagne receptions.

Whether the Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs or the Brut Rosé Cuvée de la Pompadour, all Domaine Carneros sparkling wines share a French toastiness and structure balanced by juicy California fruit.

Whether the Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs or the Brut Rosé Cuvée de la Pompadour, all Domaine Carneros sparkling wines share a French toastiness and structure balanced by juicy California fruit.

Crane has been blending fine sparkling wine for 30 years — longer than anyone in the country. She studied nutrition and attended the Culinary Institute of America when she became fascinated with winemaking. So she picked up an enology degree at UC Davis and then made wine at Domaine Chandon and Gloria Ferrer before Claude Taittinger selected Crane to lead Domaine Carneros.

As much as I’m looking forward to tasting her wines, I can’t wait to ask her about the organic cultivation at their estate vineyards. As Crane explains in this Q & A in The Organic Wine Journal, they’ve been quietly working towards the organic certification that their four Carneros vineyards received in late 2007 from the California Certified Organic Farmers.  Domaine Carneros sparkling wine made from organic grapes can’t be far behind!

Champagne, Drinks

Adieu White Star

January 23, 2009

Moet White StarIf you love champagne, you’ve probably sipped your share of Moët et Chandon’s White Star. With its crisp, slightly sweet flavor, it’s been the top-selling champagne in the U.S. for years.

Now’s the time to go stock up on your favorite fizz because Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton recently decided to replace White Star with a new blend they’re calling Imperial. The new Imperial, which isn’t quite as sweet as White Star, is already showing up at bars and stores across the country.

Moet & Chandon Imperial champagne

It might seem strange to tamper with such a successful brand, but it does help clarify the Moet range; now in order of dry to sweet it’s Brut Imperial, Imperial and Nectar Imperial.

I tasted Imperial last week at Apotheke in NYC; the head of the magnum had been sabered, but sadly I missed that part. I liked it — perhaps a little too much — I decided the next morning.