Little else says ‘New Year’s Eve’ than champagne. Rarely does a new year pass without a bit of bubbly here at the Firewater Lounge. So, if champagne is on your shopping list, keep these pointers in mind. First, if you are not going to drink it right away, buy it at room temperature. If you need to cool it quick, use the following method. Get a wine bucket (or any bucket), fill it with equal parts water and ice and your bottle of champagne. Salt the ice with regular table salt. Spin the bottle within the ice every four minutes. In 12 minutes you will have cold champagne.
|French 75, seen here with Spiced Blueberry Syrup|
To keep bubbles in your open bottle of champagne, forget the silver spoon in the neck. The only way to keep the bubbles is to keep the champagne cold, therefore put a stopper in the top and chuck it in the refrigerator. You have about 24 hours, so drink it.
Obviously, we rarely drink champagne straight here at the FWL, so here are a few tips to mix the stuff. Champagne is almost always used to top a mixed drink like the two recipes below. Never shake champagne in a shaker; you will lose all those great bubbles. Also the bubbles are released because of the textures (imperfections, residues, etc) in your glass. If you mix in a flute, you will concentrate your breaking bubbles on a small area at the top your drink, heightening the effervescent experience relative to using a cocktail glass or coupe. The ultimate in texture in champagne mixing is to add a sugar cube to the glass. If you do, remember to add champagne slowly or you will be licking flat champagne off your countertops.
As for our recipes, we’ll start with the inimitable, yet simple French 75. This combination of citrus, gin, sugar and champagne packs so much of a kick, it was named after the mainstay of early-twentieth-century French artillery, the 75mm M1897 field gun. This drink was invented at the New York Bar in Paris in 1915 and first recorded in the aforementioned Savoy Cocktail Book fifteen years later. Ignore the people that claim cognac belongs in this drink, because it doesn’t. The name and origin of the drink is French, not its ingredients.
2 ounces gin
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce lemon juice
Shake all except the champagne. Strain into a flute or Collins glass. Cap with champagne. For a surprising spicy kick, use some of the blueberry spice syrup instead of the simple syrup. Tasty!
…And an original from the Firewater Lounge
Santa's Jamaican Vacation
1 ounce Jamaican rum (we used Appleton)
2 ounces cranberry juice
1 tablespoon turbinado syrup (you can use simple syrup if you like)
2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
Prepare like the French 75 above. Cap with champagne and the bitters.