Spirits: Celebrate the new year with mimosas, bloody Marys
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This has been an anxious year. With the end of such a challenging year, I would like to offer a toast with a simple glass of Champagne.
Now I would be remiss if I didn’t specify that, in order to be called Champagne, it must come from the Champagne region of France. Outside of that region, it is called French sparkling wine. Prosecco is from Italy, cava from Spain, sekt from Germany, and in the United States it is simply called American sparkling wine. No matter your preference, all are made in a method that gives you that “pop” at midnight.
Along with a New Year’s toast, many of you will use sparkling wines to make the classic breakfast/brunch cocktail, the mimosa. Originating in the early 1920’s at the Ritz Carlton in Paris, this drink is a great way to start off the new year. Although a mimosa is a simple drink to make, where I see most people struggle is on the style of sparkling wine that they will need. Look for a “brut” (French for “dry or “raw”) style sparkling wine for your mimosa. This drier style of sparkling will balance the sweet orange juice in your drink. Fun fact: Extra dry will actually contain more residual sugar than brut. I like to say the best ingredients make the best drink, and I would love for you to splurge on a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal for $280. But in this case, a bottle of brut sparkling wine under $15 is perfect. Look for Tutela Prosecco 750ml at $11.99 or Torre Oria Brut Cava 750ml for $9.99. If you are looking for inexpensive mass quantities, then the Cooks Brut 750ml at $7.99 is the perfect choice.
3 parts brut sparkling wine
1 part orange juice
Red grapes and orange slices
Gently pour your bubbly of choice into a champagne flute. The slower the pour, the more carbonation will stay in your drink. Add orange juice. Garnish the rim of your glass with a single red grape and an orange slice. Simple!
If you like your New Year’s Eve to be a little more on the wild side, then a mimosa just isn’t going to cut through that morning fog the next day. What you need is a bloody Mary. For sure the drink originated in New York during the ’20s and ’30s. Harry’s and the 21 Club both claim to have invented the drink. Even famed comedian George Jessel has an anecdote of how he invented the bloody Mary. No matter the story, there are many recipes out there for the bloody Mary. I know a few mixologists that will take the time to make their own mix from scratch. Some look like mad scientists with beakers of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. If simplicity is what you are after, reach for Lawrence’s own Wick’s Bloody Mary mix. A 32oz bottle is only $8.99. You can always dress this mix up however you want, but all you will really need is a 750ml of Tito’s Vodka for $19.49.
1 part Tito’s Vodka
3 parts Wick’s Bloody Mary
2 green olives
1 rib of celery
1 slice of thick-cut bacon
1 buffalo wing
1 lime wedge
Salt the rim of your glass — a standard pint glass will work the best — and then fill halfway with ice. Add your mix and vodka until the glass fills just past the ice, and stir. Fill the rest of the glass with as many garnishes as you can until the liquid rises to the rim. Eat, drink and enjoy.
– Jon Smiley is the owner of Lawrence’s Cork & Barrel liquor stores. Look for his Spirits column to appear monthly in Crave, with advice and recipes on how to responsibly enjoy a variety of cocktails and beverages.