Raspberries, Chambord and a splash of cream make for a deliciously dreamy cocktail sure to please any Valentine..
It’s that season when people start thinking about red and pink drinks — the two staple colors of Valentine’s season entertaining. I love working with red fruits like raspberries because the color is so inviting and the sweet-tart berries add such a bright flavor.
I was thinking about a grown-up raspberry milkshake when I came up with this Raspberry Dream cocktail that mixes the fruit with the black raspberry liqueur Chambord, vanilla-infused vodka and a splash of half-and-half.
If you need another reason besides deliciousness to drink your raspberries, it turns out they’re really good for you. Raspberries are high in ellagic acid which helps prevent free radical damage and the flavonoid compounds quercetin and kaempferol, which play a role in fighting a number of diseases, according to World’s Healthiest Foods. Black raspberries may help ward off colon cancer, according to this study from the University of Illinois at Chicago reported on Science Daily.com.
Sounds good to me!
4 fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon half-and-half
2 ounces Chambord
1 ounce vanilla-infused vodka, see note
Muddle the raspberries in a cocktail shaker glass. Add the half-and-half, Chambord,
simple syrup, vodka and ice. Shake until well-chilled. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish
with a raspberry.
Note: Making your own vanilla vodka is easy, just slit a vanilla bean, slide it into your favorite vodka and wait a few days.
© The Bubbly Girl, 2011
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)
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)
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)
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!