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Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Drink a Desert Rose Margarita for Cinco de Mayo

May 5, 2012

The Desert Rose cocktail — with guava, passion fruit, lime and of course tequila — makes a great sparkling alternative to a classic margarita for Cinco de Mayo.

Who doesn’t love a margarita, especially on an important drinking holiday like Cinco de Mayo? As you’re probably aware, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s equivalent of the Fourth of July. May 5 was the date of an important battle near the city of Puebla where the Mexican army defeated French forces.

Here in the US, it makes a great time to enjoy Mexican beer, tequila and margaritas. There are so many great twists on the classic lime and tequila cocktail (Pink Cadillac anyone?), so I thought of a way to add some of my favorite tropical fruits to the drink while I was writing my champagne cocktail book The Bubbly Bar. A few drops of rose water, guava and passion fruit make my Desert Rose one of the most fragrant margaritas you’ll ever enjoy.

Desert Rose

In this sultry sparkling version of a margarita, guava nectar and passion fruit juice add the sweet-tart flavor that would ordinarily come from sour mix.

1 ounce guava nectar

1 ounce passion fruit juice

½ ounce tequila

½ ounce Grand Marnier

Juice of ½ lime

3 drops rose water (optional)

3 ounces dry sparkling wine

1 key lime slice for garnish

Add guava and passion fruit juices, tequila, Grand Marnier, lime juice and rose water if using to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a margarita style glass. Garnish with the lime.

Makes 1 cocktail

From: The Bubbly Bar: Champagne & Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion (Clarkson Potter, 2009)


Drinks, Sparkling Wine

Sparkling Moscato from Moldova – Who Knew?

August 3, 2011

Sunday afternoon brought a wine tasting party with the lovely ladies and a couple gentlemen from Cuisine Noir to celebrate the launch of the first print issue in September. As our publisher Sheree Williams finished some last minute cooking, I made tasting sheets for the guests to write down their comments.

I shouldn’t have been surprised — but I was — to come across a pretty pink bottle of Moscato from Moldova. The aromatic Moscato grape is most famously made into aromatic, fruity, sweet-tart wines in Italy, but it gets around. It’s not unusual to see Moscatos from all over the world such as the organic Makulu Moscato from South Africa and the memorable Two Hands Brilliant Disguise Moscato from Australia.

And if you like your moscato to be refreshingly fruity, then you’ll enjoy the Exclusiv Rosé Moscato that was  just released in the U.S. in June. It’s bursting with peach and berry aromas and flavors, but the sweetness is balanced by enough acid to make you want to take another sip.

According to the Moldova Wine Guild’s website, wine has been produced in Moldova — a boot shaped country between Romania and Ukraine — for more than 4,000 years. The Greeks and Romans helped the Moldovan wine industry along, but things really took off in the 15th century. That’s when the ruler Stefan the Great established a government position of chief wine steward or cupbearer (paharnic in Moldovan) whose job it was to make sure the vines were flourishing and winemakers were keeping quality up.

Moldova experienced a Prohibition in the 16th century when the Ottomans took over and forbade wine-making. The industry bounced back when Moldova became part of the Russian empire. Affluent Russians established winemaking estates growing native varietals like Rara Neagrā and Feteascā Albā, a white grape. Later, French experts brought in many noble grape varieties like merlot, cabernet sauvignon and aligoté. By 1837, Moldova produced 1.1 million cases of wine a year. While part of the former Soviet Union, Moldova made a third of all the sparkling wine and half of all still wine consumed in Russia.

Moldova’s wine industry had other setbacks in a phylloxera outbreak, both world wars and the Gorbachev era when many vineyards were ripped out. But each time, the industry has rebounded and now they’re producing a range of dry and sweet wines that use indigenous and international grape varietals.

And judging from the quality of the Exclusiv Moscato, Moldova will be sending plenty of well-made and affordable wines our way.




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)