A great friend recently told us that her daughter doesn’t like the term “Brunch”. Instead she chooses to use the word “Blunch” to describe the weekend meal, that no matter what you call it, is something between breakfast and lunch and in many cases involves a rejuvenating and/or inspiring alcoholic beverage (when we’re of age to legally indulge, of course). The Mimosa is one of these fantastic cocktails that is innocently consumed before noon, but the incarnations are endless…and it’s another reminder that sparkling wine of any kind shouldn’t be relegated to celebratory toasts whether accompanied by poached eggs or a 40th anniversary.
Sparkling wine is made around the world, generally in cooler climates where grapes aren’t given the chance to ripen fully because, well, it’s just not going to happen. Ever try to grow tomatoes in Alaska? Didn’t think so. The key to good “bubbles” (as they are often referred to in wine circles) is that the wine has solid crisp acidity to complement and enhance the delicate bubbles, fruit, minerality and depth…things that you should look for in any wine. Although there is a ton of great inexpensive sparkling wine that is perfectly drinkable on it’s own (please don’t consume out of a flute!), one of the best ways to make sure that an open bottle doesn’t lose it’s freshness is to incorporate those bubbles into a cocktail. Mimosas are just the beginning.
Simply referred to as a “Spritz”, the combination of a red bitter aperitif such as Aperol or Cappelletti’s Aperitivo Speciliano, and dry sparkling wine is not only a great way to start a meal or break the afternoon monotony, but it’s incredibly easy to make. Two ingredients, three cubes of ice, one glass, and there you have it. The cocktail’s origins are undoubtedly from the area surrounding the border between Austria and Italy. Legend has it that the Austrians couldn’t stand the bitter qualities of the Italian aperitif, so they cut it with sparkling wine…the other side of the story is quite the same, but centers on the fact that the Austrian sparkling wine was so thin that it needed some flavor. You get the idea; either way it makes for an excellent libation. We have a ton of favorite cocktails than include sparkling wine, you?
Stay tuned…and Cheers to smarter drinking!