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Loveable Bubbles 

by Sheila Swerling-Puritt

Bubbly wine is the classic festive drink for my celebrations. March is a month full of birthdays and anniversaries in my family. My personal favourite is Krug Champagne, the fizz of intelligent millionaires who know that it's so good you savour it by itself.

For those of you who didn't buy gold at $35 an ounce (which includes me), there are many lovely sparkling wines priced under $20 that you can drink on their own or blend into lively mixed drinks. France's "Crémant" wines (from Burgundy, Alsace, Limoux and other regions), Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain and a clutch of impressive Canadian entries are all widely available. Truth to tell, these can offer much better value for money than certain popular "grandes marques."

The bubbles of carbon dioxide in sparkling wine do more than tickle your nose. They carry aromas and flavours to your smell and taste receptors, enhancing the wine's impact. They also help get alcohol into your bloodstream faster than still wines, so tipple with care!

The best fizz acquires its bubbles from the fermentation in the bottle of sugar and yeast added to a still base wine. Such wines will have sweet decadent "autolytic" aromas from the yeast that drives that second fermentation and long-lasting tiny bubbles. A second fermentation can also be carried out in large tanks from which the bubbly wine is transferred into bottles. Tank fermentation, also called the Charmat method, produces good but not great bubbly. The cheapest sparkling wines are simply pumped full of carbon dioxide. Some refer to them as "bicycle pump" wines, best served diluted with lots of other flavourful liquids.

One 750 mL bottle of sparkling wine will pour five generous flutes. Large-format bottles are popular for larger parties.

 

 

Champagne Charlie

  • 2 oz. apricot brandy
  • Chilled Sparkling wine
  1. Place apricot brandy in a flute.
  2. Top up with sparkling wine or Champagne.

 

Seven Swans

  • 1 oz. Chambord
  • ½ oz. pear vodka
  • 2 oz. pear juice
  • 2 oz. cran-raspberry juice
  • Slice of pear for garnish
  1. In a highball glass, fill half way with ice.
  2. Add ingredients.
  3. Stir to mix and garnish.

 

For the designated driver:

Cran-Apple Chiller

  • 2 oz. apple juice
  • 3 oz. iced tea
  • 2 oz. cranberry juice
  • Apple slice dusted in cinnamon sugar for garnish
  1. Fill cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add all the ingredients.
  3. Shake well and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish.
     

 

For more information, you can contact Sheila at spuritt@hotmail.com.

 

 

 

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