Sure, you could drink champagne on Valentine’s day or for any other special occasion. But somehow with all the trends in food and drink like artsinal crafting, molecular gastronomy and mixologists, simply pouring a glass of champagne or sparkling wine seems boring and perhaps even….gasp!…lazy.
I am a big fan of the champagne cocktail in cases like this. With the addition of some simple ingredients, your bubbles come (even more) alive and take on a festive and decadent feel.
Here are 3 of my favourites – we are not talking your average mimosas here.
Peach Semifreddo Bellini
1 cup peeled, chopped peaches, frozen until hardened
1/4 cup peach schnapps
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled Champagne or sparkling white wine
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 cup small ice cubes
Peach slices, for garnish
Directions: Blend peaches, schnapps, 2 tablespoons Champagne, the sugar and ice in a blender until smooth. Divide mixture between 2 glasses and then fill the rest of the glass with Champagne. This serves 2, but of course you can double the recipe (or triple) as needed.
6 fresh mint leaves
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
(Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Let cool completely and you have a simple syrup!)
1 1/2 ounces rum, preferably Cruzan
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 ounces Champagne or Prosecco, chilled
Directions: Muddle mint, lime juice and syrup to combine the flavours and release the oils in the mint. Pour into a shake and add rum and bitters, shake over ice. Then strain into a Champagne flute and top up with Champagne
Death in the Afternoon
This is the simplest recipe, but with perhaps the most dramatic name. It starts with Absinthe, but if you cannot find Absinthe, you can use Pastis or any other anise-flavoured liquer.
Directions: Simply combine in a 0.5:5 ratio to Champagne, and voila!
Cheers! And Happy Valentine’s Day Eve.