Last week I went on and on about brunching and brunch season and brunch drinks and then put down the recipe for a new brunch drink Good Morning Sunshine, and all of that and you know what? Not one of you invited me to brunch. Well, my dog Ainsley did, but she’d eat all the time if it was up to her, hahaha! So, just for that, here’s another brunch drink, one from an old (but still bubbly, if I may be so bold) book of mine called, simply enough, Champagne Cocktails, said drink being called The Pensiero (which is Italian for “thought” making this drink “The Thought” which is just so deeply silly), and as you’d expect one influenced by Italy and featuring delicious Italian stalwarts Punt e’ Mes vermouth and Campari, as well as fancy frizzante ruby-esque red wine Brachetto d’Acqui (a brunch treat if ever there was one). Now, I’m just gonna sit here and wait for my invitations.
Bubbly cocktails are good all the year round. This is an incontrovertible fact. However, if you wanted to make the point that bubbly cocktails are even finer this time of the year, because of the elegant effervescence they bring to the season, well, I wouldn’t argue. Which is why today I’m sipping this Italian-inspired sparkler from Champagne Cocktails. Because I don’t like arguing. No, no, it’s because it’s a darn tasty drink, a bubbly number that’s a little different, intriguing, yummy-licious.
I’ve had a Blue Train cocktail up here on the Spiked Punch blog in the past, and it’s a good drink. There is, however, another Blue Train cocktail I like, based on one I saw called the Blue Train Special. It’s a bubbly mix, a celebratory number, an effervescent affair, one that’s sure to provide a hint of elegance for those occasions that demand such. You should try it, whether you’re on a train or not. Though really, it might be, now that I think about it, better when actually had on a train.
Hello late August! You might think in late August, where, for let’s say at least 85.4% of the readers of this blog, it’s pretty hot, that I wouldn’t dare suggest making a drink that means “thought.” But I will dare (as the song says), cause really, you don’t have to think too much about this drink when making it, and because it is rather refreshing and, if I may dare say, yummy. Just be sure your Brachetto d’Acqui (the slightly sweet Italian frizzante wine) is well chilled, or drop an ice cube into the glass. It is August, after all.
I love this bubbly-and-bitter-belle-of-the-ball. First, it’s a variation on the Negroni (which is, of course, a fav) that subs in Prosecco for gin. Second, I originally had it and heard about it when staying in Florence at a spot called the Hotel Casci (not far from the Duomo, don’t you know), and pal Jeremy was there as well (we were drinking and playing Quiddler after a day of touristing). Third, it means “wrong” due to its Negroni-less-ness, if that makes sense, and I think having a drink called “wrong” is genius. Fourth, well, it tastes great–can’t go wrong with Campari, sweet vermouth, and Prosecco. Fifth, it (like La Rana D’Oro below) was a featured drink at a recent charity event that I slung drinks at (for my ma, if you didn’t know). Sixth, it’s also featured in my book Champagne Cocktails (which, if you don’t have, please buy, cause I need to be able to buy more sparkling wine). And seventh, well, seventh just adds up all the earlier six reasons to expand my love of this drink to epic–epic–proportions.
3 ounces sweet vermouth
3 ounces Campari
2 orange twists, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vermouth and Campari. Shake well.
2. Strain the mixture equally into two flute glasses. Top with Prosecco and garnish with the orange twists.
A Variation: You could use the Italian sparkling wine Moscato d’Asti or Asti Spumante here and be happy about it.
A Second Note: I could see the rationale behind serving this in a cocktail glass in the Negroni’s honor. I could also see the rationale behind calling this a sparkling Americano. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to do either of them.
Here we are (after a little delay due to French, Italian, and Russian TV censor problems) with Episode Two of the new season of the Good Spirit Cocktail to Cocktail Hour, hosted by me. In this episode, I take over the mixing duties (and the “wearing-painful-garlands” duties) and show how to make an Eden Cocktail. The Eden is a sparkling wine drink, with rum, Campari, fruit juices, and bubbly. It’s ideal for the holiday season, so let’s call this the C2C holiday special! Oh, there’s swearing in here (it is the holidays), but it’s bleeped out. So, play the video for the kiddies as the Yule log burns and as you load up on holiday puddings. And a ho, ho, ho to you, too.
Okay, that’s the world’s longest blog title, but I just wanted to get everything in and would have even bolded it if this blogging software would let me. But it wouldn’t (even after I promised it drinks). That’s how excited I am that the first episode of the new season of A.J.’s Good Spirit Cocktail to Cocktail Hour is done! For this season, we wanted to really knock some boozy socks off, so we took the camera and crew on the road to Seattle’s Mistral Kitchen, so bar manager and boy cocktail genius Andrew Bohrer (proprietor of the Cask Strength blog, too) could get all up in his molecular mixologist for you with an updated version of the Jimmy Roosevelt. As it’s the first episode and such a big whomping deal, it’s longer than normal–but you get twice the fun, twice the laughs, and (most of all) twice the cocktailing! We are still haggling with our normal Swedish station, so the only way you can see this currently is online (thanks to AKTV). Please send it to your friends, your bartenders, your paramours, and anyone else whose email you have. Cheers!
Though it’s been orderable for a few weeks, in my mind today’s the real release date for the new bubbly book, Champagne Cocktails: 50 Cork-Popping Concoctions and Scintillating Sparklers. Why today, you ask? It’s because tonight is the effervescent evening celebrating the book’s release, with an event happening at Seattle’s rollicking-ist kitchen store, Dish It Up. If you’re in Seattle, you may even be able to still sign up (though it may be full–but hey, why not take a chance). In honor of the book and event, here’s a recipe from the book that I’ll be serving tonight at the event, a recipe for the Lavanda. Doesn’t that have a mysterious name, like a forbidden dance? The drink itself is somewhat mysterious too, or at least mysteriously delicious, thanks to the lavender simple syrup–and the gin and Prosecco of course.
4 lavender sprigs
3 ounces gin
1-1/2 ounce lavender simple syrup (see note)
1. Add the flowers from the top of two lavender sprigs, the gin, and the lavender simple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle well.
2. Fill the cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Shake like a dancer.
3. Strain equally into two flute glasses. Top each with chilled Prosecco, and garnish each with a lavender sprig.
A Note: To make lavender simple syrup, add 1/4 cup chopped fresh lavender, 2 cups sugar, and 1 1/2 cups water to a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until it reaches a low boil, stirring regularly. Once it reaches that low boil, reduce the heat to medium- low and keep the syrup at a simmer, still stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
The Man Behind the Evening's PlansA.J. Rathbun is a freelance food and entertainment writer, poet and author, a frequent guest on the Everyday Food program (Martha Stewart Living/Sirius satellite radio), and is a contributor to culinary & entertainment magazines such as Every Day with Rachael Ray, The Food Network Magazine, Real Simple, Wine Enthusiast, and many others. Of course, there's so much more to it than that...Read More