Raise a glass – it’s the holidays!
However you deck the halls, here are someholidays tips & recipes that will make everything brighter.
Pop those corks! It’s always a nice touch to serve bubbly when your guests arrive. We do this at every Savvy Event. The sound of popping corks sets the mood and the rush of bubbly wine overflowing the flute glasses brings on a smile. Sparkling wine is fun and you don’t need to break the bank by serving French Champagne. Here are some Ontario sparkling wines to have in the fridge for any occasion during the holidays:
Palatine Hills Estates Prestige Sparkling $23 – a crisp, dry bubbly from Niagara-on-the- Lake that won gold at this year’s Ottawa Wine Challenge – the wine competition associated to the Ottawa Wine & Food Festival. Look for it in Vintages at the LCBO.
SOMMELIER TIP: Serve bowls of potato or vegetable chips laced with sea salt. The salt magically reacts with the bubbles of the sparkling wine making it feel like fireworks in your mouth.
Here are a few bubbly cocktail ideas if you want to add some zing.
Sparkling Red Poinsettia Cocktail
Makes 8-10 glasses
– 1 bottle of chilled sparkling wine – either white or rosé
– ½ cup (125 mL) of either Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec, chilled
– 1 cup (500mL) cranberry juice, chilled
Mix all ingredients together in a jug and pour into champagne flutes. Garnish with fresh cranberry or sugared rim.
Makes 8 – 10 glasses
– 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
– ½ cup sugar
– 1 bottle of chilled sparkling wine – white is preferred
In a small saucepan, boil ginger, sugar and ¼ cup of water until syrupy (about 2 minutes). Place a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl. Pour syrup through sieve, discarding solids. (You can store syrup in an airtight container in fridge for a week.) When ready to make cocktails, pour 1 tablespoon of ginger syrup into champagne flute glasses. Top with sparkling wine. Gently stir and garnish with a festive swizzle stick or curl of citrus rind.
Shaking it up with craft beer and gin
Cocktails made with craft beer & gin are trending high this year. There are over 12 craft breweries in Ottawa and small distilleries are popping up in Prince Edward County & Niagara too.
Makes 1 cocktail
2 ounces of gin (try Dillon’s Unfiltered Gin 22, available at the LCBO or direct from the distillery www.dillons.ca) 1 package fresh blueberries Squirt of simple syrup to taste (or use blueberry syrup/ juice) Juice & rind from lemon wedge
Tonic Water Stem of fresh rosemary Ice, place a handful of ice in a tumbler glass. Pour in gin, lemon (juice & peel), a few blueberries (feel free to gently mash the blueberries), syrup and top with tonic. Stir with a rosemary stem & serve.
Makes 1 cocktail
– 1 part gin
– 1 part grapefruit juice
– 2 parts craft beer (try Perth Brewery Hopside IPA, Covered Bridge Brewery Dirty Blonde or Dominion City Brewery Earl Grey & Marmalade Saison)
– 1 teaspoon simple syrup (adjust to taste)
– Sprig of mint
– Wedge of grapefruit
Shake gin, juice and syrop with ice. Pour into glass and top with beer. Add sprig of mint and wedge of grapefruit to the glass.
With less than a month to go until Christmas hopefully these drink ideas will help soften the stresses of the season and make your guests smile.
Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew are ready to design a one-of-a-kind wine, craft beer and artisan cheese event for your family, clients & friends. Savvy Selections wine-of-the-month club is the largest in Ontario and Savvy Hip Hops is the only club featuring craft beers brewed in Ontario. The Savvy Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926).
Debbie Trenholm is a sommelier and the founder of Savvy Company