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Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes

The Bubbly Girl Drink of the Week: Spicy Sparkling Cider Recipe

December 28, 2009

spicy sparkling cider 3
I get lots of questions about sparkling wine and champagne at my web site The Bubbly Girl. Some times they’re asking my opinion of a certain wine, or whether it’s alright to drink an old bottle of champagne they’ve been saving – I always say yes to that one; you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised. Other times they want me to help divine the name of a wine they liked from a few flavor clues.

I got one of those questions the other day from a woman who had been served champagne at wedding that tasted just like apple cider. Since champagne is made from grapes and many people are trying to save money at a wedding, it’s very likely what was served as “champagne” at this nuptial was closer to a sparkling cider like Martinelli’s than Moët.

But the question got me thinking about the delicious bright and sweet taste of fresh apple cider made from fall apples. If you have a juicer, try making your own apple juice sometime – it’s nothing like the flat and sugary golden liquid that comes in glass jugs and juice boxes. The closest thing to making your own is getting fresh apple cider in a soft plastic jug.

The season and the cider inspired this cocktail I call Spicy Sparkling Cider, which is a mixture of fresh cider and sparkling wine. I used the Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut, though an extra dry style of bubbly would work if you like a sweeter drink. It’s spiked with Navan, a natural vanilla cognac by Grand Marnier and warm spices like cinnamon, star anise and ginger. Spicy Sparkling Cider is a fun individual drink – we had it before Christmas Eve dinner- but would make a delicious punch as well garnished with whole crab apples bobbing on the surface.

Spicy Sparkling Cider

2 ounces fresh apple cider (don’t use anything from a glass jug)
1.5 ounces Navan Vanilla Cognac
1 sliver cinnamon stick
1 sliver candied ginger
1 star anise (optional)
3 to 4 ounces brut or extra dry sparkling wine, chilled
slice crab apple, cut crosswise to show the star
Add the cold apple cider and Navan to a rocks glass or small stemless wine glass. Add the cinnamon stick, ginger and star anise, if you’re using it to the cider-cognac mixture. Let the spices rest in the cider-cognac mixture for a 5 to 10 minutes to give them time to release their flavor. Top with the sparkling wine, garnish with the apple sliced and serve right away.
By Maria Hunt, author of The Bubbly Bar: Champagne & Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion (Clarkson Potter, $16.99)

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Celebrities & Champagne

Bubbly Girl Drink of the Week: The Rich Girl

September 5, 2009
John Oates and me before they performed at the Rock the Cure benefit in La Jolla.

John Oates and me before they performed at the Rock the Cure benefit in La Jolla.

It’s been a busy week since The Bubbly Bar launched last week with an awesome bash for 400 who sipped Domaine Chandon sparkling wine cocktails at the Hotel Solamar. The fun continued this week when I was the guest mixologist at Rock the Cure, a benefit to raise money for juvenile diabetes research through JDRF.org.

Grand Marnier and Navan Cognac make a delicious version of The Stiletto from The Bubbly Bar. (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)

Grand Marnier and Navan Cognac make a delicious version of The Stiletto from The Bubbly Bar. (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)

My signature event cocktail  was The Rich Girl named in honor of the event headliners Hall & Oates. A deliciously potent blend of brut sparkling wine, Grand Marnier and Navan Cognac, the Rich Girl was a revinvention of The Stiletto cocktail from the book. I wish Navan had been around when I was writing The Bubbly Bar; the fine French cognac is infused with Madagascar vanilla and has a wonderfully warm and complex flavor. It blends perfectly with the natural curacao orange in Grand Marnier, which is also a cognac based liqueur.

To make it a more luxurious cocktail, I soaked the orange peel garnish in the Navan and then added a touch of 24K edible gold leaf to the drink. It was a hit with both men and women who liked the blend of crisp Gloria Ferrer bubbles, sweetness and potency.Thanks to Steve and Lisa Altman for inviting The Bubbly Girl to be a part of the benefit and Steve Slater and Sara Southern of Southern Wine and Spirits; and Anne Walraven of Moet Hennessy for making the cocktail possible.

The flavors of vanilla and orange liqueurs mixed with bubbly appealed to men and women alike. Both of these guests came back for seconds! (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)

The flavors of vanilla and orange liqueurs mixed with bubbly appealed to men and women alike. Both of these guests came back for seconds! (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)

John Oates of H & O got a kick out of the fact that the drink was named The Rich Girl and was kind enough to pose for a picture! And the evening was a success, raising $500,000 to help combat juvenile diabetes!