foodie

Champagne And Pizza!

Italy champagne jean

Jean Vesselle Oeil de Perdrix Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne.  A lovely sparkly to begin our weekend before we delved into the serious business of eating pizza.  Just a kiss of pink color in this rosé bubbly.  Notes of tangerine and red berry fruits.   $47 range.

pizza pepperoni

National Pizza Day was on Friday, February 9, 2018 so that gave us the perfect excuse to eat pizza all weekend!

One of my favorite bloggers Talk-A-Vino shared a new concept from Wines Til Sold Out (WTSO) that we’ve been enjoying at our house too ~ theme box of wine.  This month we chose the pizza pairing box to celebrate National Pizza Day. Here’s the link to Talk-A-Vino’s post that explains the theme box concept:

How To Expand Your Wine Horizon – With Wine Til Sold Out Weekly Tasting

Pippin Hill Vineyard Wood-Fired Pizza ~ red sauced thin crust topped with Tasso Ham, Artichokes, Bell Peppers, Cabbage, Arugula and Parmesan.

We recently visited Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards in North Garden near Charlottesville, Virginia.  http://www.pippinhillfarm.com

italy entrance pippin hillitaly pippin hill outside

italy pippin hill vineyard

pippin hill wine bottle

This bottle of the Pippin Hill Viognier wine has a painting of their vineyard inside.

pippin hill menupippin hill red wine

The Pippin Hill Petite Verdot with notes of plum, black cherry and tobacco was the perfect accompaniment to the wood-fired pizza.

pizza-final

italian wine tasting

italy wine red wine

One of the wines from our WTSO pizza theme box:

Virna Barbera D’Alba San Giovanni 2013 Virna Barbera comes from the Piedmont region of Italy.  Red and garnet in color with a deeper hue and notes of red berries, cranberries, black plums, truffles, mushrooms, forest floor and black earth (think the same char flavor as when your pizza dough gets those little black spots and tastes so good). Medium body, fresh, bright acidity and subtle but fine tannins, this is a wine to pair alongside pizza with cheese, truffles, and mushrooms. Also enjoy with speck or prosciutto. 

pippinhill meats

We enjoyed a Charcuterie Board at Pippin Hill Vineyard. The grainy mustard and arugula pesto were delightful accompaniments to local and internationally cured meats. Tasso ham was my favorite…a south Louisiana favorite hot-smoked with cayenne pepper and garlic.

mostardo cookingmostardo

That delicious treat inspired me to create my own Charcuterie Board at home.  I love serving fun variations of condiments with cured meats.  I found this recipe for Mostarda ~ Northern Italian condiment made of candied fruit and a mustard-flavored syrup ~ in Food and Wine Magazine.  This recipe has crystallized ginger in it which gives it a little “zing”.  Locally crystallized ginger can be found at Tinnell’s Finer Foods on Crystal Spring Avenue in Roanoke, Virginia.  (Keep any leftover ginger in the freezer to use in other recipes.)  Don’t expect the Mostarda to be sweet, it most definitely has a mustard taste to it with fruity undertones.  Spicy Capicola Ham and Italian Soppressata Salami are two of my favorites on a Charcuterie Board.

Yield : makes 1 1/4 cups

How to Make It

In a small saucepan, combine the apricots, cherries, shallot, ginger, wine, vinegar, water and sugar and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the liquid is absorbed and the fruit is softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the dry mustard, Dijon mustard and butter. Simmer until the mostarda is jamlike, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Serve the mostardawarm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead

The mostarda can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Notes

Best Uses Serve the mostarda alongside charcuterie or cheese, or spread on a sandwich. The mostarda is also delicious with grilled chicken, steak, pork, lamb and sausages.

 

Italy champagne sign beer

Love the signs outside my favorite local wine shop… Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar http://mrbillswinecellar.com

italy champagne sign

Heart in sand

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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10 Helpful Hints For Pairing Wine and Food

“Have you thrown up your hands in despair and confusion with too many choices? In that case, just remember one word: champagne.  It’s refreshing, relatively low in alcohol and sufficiently neutral to go with a myriad of foods.One minor tweak might be to have  a more full-bodied vintage champagne with red meats and non-vintage champagne with everything else.  That’s a lot easier to remember than what wine goes with yak.” ~ Sam Gugino, contributing editor to Wine Spectator and author of Cooking to Beat the Clock.

Be adventurous and have fun with wine/champagne and food pairings using these helpful hints:

1.Purchase the book “WHAT to DRINK with WHAT you EAT”, by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. 

This easy to use reference book is our “Pairing Bible”. Our local wine shop keeps a copy so that we can refer to it when deciding which wine and food to purchase at their shop. Just look up the wine you want to pair and the book will tell you the foods to serve with that wine (includes other libations as well such as liquor and beer)  or look up the food you want to serve and it will suggest the wine/libation to serve. This book makes a thoughtful gift for your wine loving friends too.

pumpkin-pie-with-whipped-cream-on-top

2. Surprise your taste buds and experiment with the unexpected.  One of the best food and libation pairings I’ve tasted was single malt scotch and pumpkin pie.  If you are in the mood to splurge pair  Macallan 18 Year – Single Malt Scotch Whiskey with pumpkin pie. Otherwise Macallan 12 year old is a very nice pairing.    Notes of spice, dried apricots  and wood smoke enhance the autumn spice flavors in the pie.

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3.  Don’t force it.  If you truly do not like a food or wine ~  pairing it will not necessarily make it better.  I recently read in Milk Street Magazine that licorice and champagne make a delicious pairing.  Problem in that I can’t stand licorice. It might just be an old wives tale but I’ve heard that if you are born with a certain gene then you like licorice, if you don’t have that gene then you don’t like licorice. I definitely don’t have that gene.  But, I am a good sport so I tried this pairing a few weeks ago. My mouth is still puckering whenever I think about it…ick!

3. Start a conversation with someone you respect in the wine world.

One of my favorite wine blogs is Talkavino.com.  Anatoli is the author of this blog that chronicles his explorations in wine, food and life.  I recently asked Anatoli about his approach to wine and food pairing, especially champagne:

Overall, I find Champagne to be one of the most versatile pairing wines available, as there are plenty of different Champagne types which will support any kind of dinner. My typical approach to pairing is – let me know what the menu is, and I will come up with the pairing. If the occasion even a little bit formal, I always like to open with sparkling wine – it sets the mood. I find that Rosé sparklers perfectly compliment most of the appetizers and salad courses – the Rosé is typically playful enough with just a touch of a fruit to complement the widest array of flavors, and the acidity helps to cut through a variety of textures, from oysters to mushroom beignets to foie gras.

The vintage Champagne would typically work very well with the variety of entrée – I can perfectly see steak and vintage Champagne as a combination, as the mature flavors of Champagne would meld very well with the steak. I’m sure that there is a Champagne for every type of food you want to serve, and the inherent acidity, which is in Champagne’s DNA, makes it ultimately food friendly.

My only challenge would be with the dessert, as I’m not familiar with sweet Champagnes, so to be entirely honest, my typical choice for a dessert sparkler is Moscato d’Asti or Brachetto  d’Acqui, depending on the food. But – if my main course Champagne was Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill or Piper-Heidsieck Rare, you can keep the dessert, I will stay with Champagne.”

thewineraconteur.wordpress.com writes engaging and entertaining stories about wine.  One of my favorites posts about wine pairing is on his blog:  https://thewineraconteur.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/mwwc-21-pairing/

Here’s the wineaconteur’s thoughts on champagne and food pairing:

I usually like my bubbles at the beginning of the meal, and it doesn’t always have to be Champagne. Sparkling wines from Alsace, the Loire, California and even Michigan all work for me, it is more the moment, as I tend to shoot from the hip and not much of a control freak. I am honored that you asked my opinion. I find that Champagne makes any meal more festive and if I could have a steady diet of any one Champagne, I guess it would be Dom, as it seems to be the one that I have had the most, and the one I write about the most often.

Tonya, author of the blog Fourth Generation Farm Girl loves bubbly as much as I do…she is currently pursuing the WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust based in London) with her husband Scot, affectionately known on her blog as “Farmguy”.  She has lovely memories about champagne and food pairing:

fourthgenerationfarmgirl.com

As far as pairing food and Champagne goes, in my opinion, Champagne is incredibly versatile with food—that’s why I love it.  So, when in doubt, drink bubbly!  Ideally, the best pairings happen when the Champagne is chosen first, then paired with food.  This is because a recipe can be altered to perfectly match the characteristics of a wine. However, unless you’re a chef, that’s not always realistic. The wonderful thing about Champagne is it goes well with so many foods.  It’s excellent with Asian food, braised foods, eggs and egg dishes, all kinds of seafood (e.g. lobster, monkfish, salmon, oysters, shrimp, turbot, cod) chicken, turkey, quail, rabbit, pork, vegetarian dishes, truffles, cheeses, especially ones that are creamy and salty, pizza, French fries, popcorn, gingerbread, and the list goes on and on.  Basically, if your food has butter, cream, or salt in it or is fried, then Champagne is the answer. Think:  fried chicken, buttery popcorn, or triple cream brie cheese. My personal favorite Champagne pairing is with truffle popcorn.  I first had it while dining at The Inn at Little Washington.   Farmguy and I were celebrating an anniversary, and our amuse- bouche was truffle popcorn paired with Ruinart Blanc de Blancs.  It was heavenly! 🙂

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4. Do  not limit yourself to pairing only wine and champagne with food.  Include beer and hard cider on your menu.

per se

Meeting Thomas Keller and touring the Per Se kitchen was one of the highlights of our trip to New York City.

A favorite pairing at Per Se ~ Thomas Keller’s restaurant in New York City is: Olive oil ice cream with chocolate and sea salt; and Thyme ice cream with drizzle of warm extra virgin olive oil topped with a chocolate wafer disc.

Paired with Ale: La Choulette Blonde (a beautiful surprise — this traditional French ale is toasty, nutty, and creamy — yum)

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5. Get to know your local wine merchant and ask their opinion on wine and food pairings.  One of my favorite local wine shops in Roanoke, Virginia is Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar, owner Bill Phillips. We recently had a conversation about pairing and he recommends choosing the wine first.  “The chefs I’ve worked with always suggest identifying the wines first and then choosing foods to go with the wines.  You can always tweak the food selections but once you’ve chosen the wines you’ve made an investment and you won’t necessarily want to change them.”

6. Keep it simple.

prosecco and nuts pairing

Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Cava pairs perfectly with simple roasted lightly salted almonds and walnuts.

EF Brie Cheese with bread

A triple creme cheese with a crusty baguette is always a good pairing with many sparkling wines and champagne. Quick and easy to serve last minute guests.

7. Find on-line resources you trust and read about pairings. Here’s a good one from Epicurious:

https://www.epicurious.com/archive/drinking/wine/champagne-sparkling-wine-food-pairings

And I always enjoy reading the advice of Ray Isle, Food and Wine Magazine’s Wine Editor:

http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/an-experts-pairing-advice

8. Practice makes perfect pairings.  You may find that some pairings do not work well for you and that’s OK.  Just keep pairing and keeping notes and soon you will have a wine and food pairing repertoire to share with family and friends.

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9.  Look to the experts:

“The Scent of Champagne,” by champagne expert Richard Juhlin is one of my favorite books. It addresses the thorny issue of pairing champagne with food. He explains what pairs well with champagne and what foods to avoid serving with champagne. He’s done all the “heavy lifting” for us in search of the perfect champagne and food pairings.

I encourage you to learn  more about champagne pairings and Juhlin’s fascinating background:
10.  Brown bag it.  A fun way to taste wine and champagne is to serve it in a brown bag without anyone knowing what’s in the bottle.  Your taste buds will begin to recognize flavors such as the citrus in champagne that is primarily chardonnay grapes, the peppery notes in Shiraz, grapefruit flavor in Pinot Grigio.  Using this method it is a good idea, at least at first, to taste wines/champagnes that have only one predominant grape so not to confuse your taste buds.
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Readers, what is your favorite wine/champagne food pairing? I would love to hear from you!

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Fun Recipe Contest ~ Applesauce + Champagne

I was writing an e-mail this morning (entering a recipe contest) and our landline phone rang, so I got up to answer it in the other room.  When I returned to the computer this is what I found on the screen:

eeeeeeeeeeeeeee521111111111111111111111111111110pppppppppppppppppppppppppppp——————————————————————–jmn

And this is what was sitting on my computer chair:

kitty

Apparently Ziggy the kitty had been walking on the computer keyboard for the few seconds that I was out of the room. Little rascal!

I love to enter recipe contests. The Simply Wholesome Foods Applesauce contest recently caught my eye. Simply Wholesome is based in Russell, Massachusetts.

They sent me a case of the most delicious applesauce to use while I create recipes to submit to their contest. The case included unsweetened applesauce ~ made of local apples and lemon juice (which could pass for sweetened applesauce it is so delectable), touch of honey applesauce and touch of cinnamon applesauce.  Their brand is still very young – they’ve only been producing applesauce for slightly more than one year – so their brand is evolving.  The applesauce has a limited availability at this time and I will keep you posted as they expand their market presence.

Today I entered this yummy recipe in the contest. Very little effort needed to put together this flavorful fun appetizer:

Apple Honey Puffs

How we ladies say it in the South,  “This is pure heaven in a biscuit!”

Makes 12 puffs

Preheat oven 400 degrees Fahrenheit

1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed

Roll out puff pastry sheet on a cutting board. Using a 2 1/8 inch biscuit cutter cut pastry dough into 12 rounds.

Spray baking sheet lightly with vegetable oil spray.

Place puff pastry rounds on baking sheet. Poke a couple of holes in the rounds with a fork.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.

Remove puff pastry rounds from the oven and allow to cool.

Peel one half of a small Honey Crisp Apple.

Cut the apple half into 12 thin slices.  Cut the slices to make 24 thin pieces.

¼ cup Honey Roasted Cashews, chopped fine

6 teaspoons Simply Wholesome Touch of Honey Applesauce

12 small slices ripe Brie Cheese

Ground Pink Peppercorns

Honey for drizzling

Separate tops and bottoms of the puff pastry puffs.  Place brie cheese on bottom of each puff. Top the brie with ½ teaspoon applesauce on each puff,  two thin apple pieces and 1 teaspoon honey roasted cashew pieces on each puff.  Grind pink peppercorns over the cashew pieces.  Drizzle with a little honey before putting the top back on the puff.

If nothing else please purchase a grinder jar of pink peppercorns. They have wonderful pepper flavor with a little punch (and they are pretty too!). I find myself grinding pink peppercorns on almost everything I cook these days.  I found my pink peppercorn grinder at Earth Fare grocery and the grinders are also available on-line. 

January champagne

Apple Honey Puffs are a perfect accompaniment to champagne.  We enjoyed a glass of Jean Vesselle Reserve with our puffs.  80% pinot noir, 20% chardonnay. Notes of peach, crisp apple and toast. Perfection!  $40 range.

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Champagne + Truffles = Amazing Evening With Friends

This winter has been extraordinarily cold in Southwest Virginia so a warm fire in a cozy kitchen surrounded by good friends, truffles and champagne was especially welcoming. andre-champagne-and-bag

We toasted the evening with…

NV André Clouet Champagne 1911

Only 1911 bottles of this Champagne are made each year.

Each bottle is numbered by hand. My bottle number 224 and it was disgorged on April 4, 2016.

Produced in the Bouzy village in the Champagne region (the village name is pronounced “Boozy” which tickles me!) with 100% Grand Cru  Bouzy and Ambonnay Pinot Noir grapes by winemaker Jean-Francois Clouet.

Cuvée 1911 commemorates the year riots broke out in the Champagne region as the local farmers rebelled against the larger houses.  The bottle is wrapped in straw, the same way Jean-Francois Clouet’s great grandfather delivered the champagne to Maxim’s in Paris, France in 1911.

Bottle wrapped in straw makes for a fun conversation piece. We found this bubbly to be an “upside surprise”.  Consistent tiny bubbles that danced around my flute.   Elegant and smooth with a fine mousse.  Notes of hazelnuts, lightly toasted brioche and just a touch of ripe pear. This champagne is reminiscent of the Bollinger style.  André Clouet uses an old Champagne tradition which blends multiple vintages together, in this case 2005, 2002, 2000 vintages were blended together to create this fabulous champagne.  $100 range.

1911 champagne

…accompanied by Beef Tenderloin and Gratin Dauphinois Appetizer Spoons. (topped with horseradish cream sauce and fresh thyme sprigs) Gratin Dauphinois are classic French Potatoes Baked in  whipping cream with grated gruyere cheese. These fabulous potatoes remind me of a very rich variation of scalloped potatoes.  Here’s a link to Julia Child’s recipe for Gratin Dauphinois:

http://www.recipetineats.com/julia-childs-potato-dauphinois-gratin-potato-bake/

beef

White Truffle Imported From Italy

pasta truffle shaver

Truffle Shaver

pasta with truffles

pasta truffles and porcini mushroomspasta

Perfect Pasta ~  Porcini Mushroom And White Truffle Fettucine

pasta wine

Azelia Barolo Bricco Fiasco 2004. Italian Barolo.   Earthy spices, smoky tobacco, chocolate, orange peel, black cherries, sweet prunes, slight vanilla oak.  Great balance and terrific acidity that paired perfectly with the pasta.

And to top off the evening…

champagne top 1-18champagne turgy

Michel Turgy Champagne ~ Blanc de Blancs ~ 100% Chardonnay from the Grand Cru of Mesnil, the same village that brought us Salon, Krug Clos de Mesnil and Launois. Well balanced with citrus and pastry aromas.

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Champagne Cocktails To Celebrate National Freshly Squeezed Juice Day!

January 15, 2018 is National Freshly Squeezed Juice Day.  My favorite juice this time of year is Blood Orange Juice.

Blood Oranges are in season (December through March). Blood orange juice brightens up even the most dreary winter day with it’s POP! of red-orange color.

Blood Orange Champagne Cocktail

For each cocktail:

2 ounces fresh blood orange juice

1 ounce triple sec

1 ounce blood orange liqueur (I like Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur)

Champagne

Frozen fresh clementine segments to use as ice cubes (Separate clementine segments, remove all white pith and any seeds and place in flat freezer container. Poke a couple of holes in each segment with a fork.  Pour blood orange juice liqueur over the segments, just to cover. Place in freezer for 24 hours.  Turn the container over after 12 hours.  The frozen clementine segments can be kept in the freezer for two weeks.)

Pour blood orange juice, triple sec and blood orange juice into a champagne flute. Stir gently.  Top with champagne.  Add two frozen blood orange soaked clementine segments.
chili oil on red carpet cocktailchili oil on red carpet cocktailchili oil on red carpet cocktail

Link to The London Bar, NYC: http://www.thelondonnyc.com/photos-en.html

Jean Carlos Parra, Bartender, The London Bar, NYC creates this fanciful cocktail: The Red CarpetI was intrigued by the Thai Chili Pepper-Infused Oil drizzled on the top of this fabulous raspberry blood orange cocktail. Here’s the original recipe and a couple of my twists – very easy to make and very sippable!

The Red Carpet

10 fresh raspberries (I did not have fresh raspberries so I used 4 tablespoons frozen raspberry puree that I had in the freezer – I made the raspberry puree by placing fresh raspberries in a saute pan, heating and smashing them with a fork until they are mushy and juicy. Strain the puree through a fine sieve. Discard seeds from sieve. Place juice in a freezer container and freeze until ready to use. )

2 ounces blood orange puree (I did not have blood oranges so I substituted 2 ounces of blood orange European soda – the soda has a little carbonation in it – this soda is sold locally at Fresh Market.)

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 ounce agave nectar

3 ounces vodka (I used 1 ounce of Sunset Hills Virginia Gin…I did not want a strong drink so I used less than the 3 ounces the original recipe called for and I wanted to make a gin drink so I used the Sunset Hills. I like this particular gin because it does not have a strong juniper berry flavor or aroma.  https://sipologyblog.com/2012/04/24/sunset-hills-virginia-gin/ (Other types of gin may be too strong in juniper berry flavor for this drink.)

5 – 10 drops of Thai chili-infused oil (optional) (I found this oil at our local Asian market.)

In a cocktail shaker, muddle approximately 10 raspberries (if using raspberry puree place puree in cocktail shaker). Add blood orange puree (or blood orange soda), lime juice, agave nectar, and vodka (or gin) and shake vigorously. (I added a few ice cubes to the cocktail shaker to make sure the cocktail was icy cold.) Strain into a chilled martini glass. For an added kick, top with Thai chili-infused oil.

Here’s lots of fun blood orange cocktails to enjoy this winter:

http://chilledmagazine.com/drinks-detail/solerno-blood-orange-liqueur-cocktails

champagne sign

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Fresh Strawberries Frangelico And Cream + Champagne!

Fresh Strawberries Filled With Frangelico And Cream

Easy and fun to make and eat! Choose large juicy strawberries for this delicious dessert. Cut bottoms off of fresh strawberries so they will sit upright on a plate.  Cap the strawberries. Using the small end of a melon baller, scoop some of the pulp out of the stem end of each berry to make a little “bowl”.  Pour Frangelico into a spoon and drizzle the Frangelico from the spoon into the little bowls you created in the strawberries.  Top each berry with freshly whipped cream.  Chill until ready for service. (You can substitute your favorite liqueur for the Frangelico.)

champagne perrier

PERRIER-JOUËT

Grand Brut

…a lovely pairing with the Strawberries Filled With Frangelico and Cream.  Notes of lemon,  notes of butter, madeleine cakes and vanilla sugar enhance the fresh berries and hazelnut flavors in the dessert.

Artie with blue birdZiggy heat vent

Our kittens are continuing to grow by leaps and bounds!  On these cold winter days they like to curl up close to the heat vents. One of their favorite heat vents is under the cabinets in the kitchen.

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Make Your Holidays Sparkle With These Cocktails ~ Pear Prosecco Cocktail+ Raspberry Prosecco Christmas Punch

During the holidays I spend an inordinate amount of time in the grocery stores…Most of that time is spent wrestling with plastic bags ~ trying to open them ~ in the fresh produce section!   Today I asked the lady that was working in the produce section how to open the bag. She told me a little trick. She said “Rub your fingers on a cucumber or some produce that has wax on it and then the wax on your fingers will help you open the bag easily.” I tried it and it works. Of course I would end up purchasing the cucumber,  but until I find a better solution…please let me know any tricks you all have up your sleeve to open these tenacious bags.

cork

blog cocktail

Pear and Prosecco Cocktail

My bubbly friend Cindy treated me to lunch to celebrate the holidays. She served this lovely cocktail which was absolutely fabulous!  Instead of using the traditional Barlett pears, she substituted Asian pears. The fun thing about Asian pears is that they are always ripe. They are picked at the perfect stage of ripeness so they are ready to enjoy as soon as you pluck them from the market.

Cindy purchases Asian Pears from Virginia Gold Orchard which is a fun day trip from Roanoke, Virginia:  http://www.virginiagoldorchard.com

The original recipe for the Pear and Prosecco Cocktail is a Southern Living Christmas Cookbook recipe.

Serves 6

Pear simple syrup:

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup finely chopped peeled pear (or Asian Pear)

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup (2 ounces) pear liqueur

Ingredients to finish the cocktail:

6 thin pear slices (or Asian pear slices) Cindy put the pear slices in the pear simple syrup to keep them from turning brown while she prepared our cocktails.

1 (750-milliliter) bottle prosecco, chilled

Combine water, chopped pear, and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.  Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a measuring cup; discard solids.  Stir in liqueur. Divide evenly among 6 champagne flutes. Place 1 pear slice in each glass, and top with prosecco.

december pear

water

Cindy also served sparkling water with fresh cranberries and rosemary ~ refreshing and delicious!

Prosecco Raspberry Christmas Punch

Serves 4

The citrus spice sugar mixture requires it to sit overnight to infuse the citrus spice flavors into the sugar.

6 tablespoons fine sugar

Peel of one Meyer lemon

Peel of two Mandarin oranges

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

6 ounces fresh raspberries + (reserve a few of the raspberries to use for garnish)

1/2 cup gin

1.5  ounces blood orange liqueur

1.5  ounces Cointreau

1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice

1 bottle Prosecco

Citrus peel twists for garnish

Ice

In a small container with a tight-fitting lid combine the sugar, lemon and Mandarin orange peels, cinnamon stick and star anise.  Seal the container and refrigerate overnight. Turn the container over several times while it is in the refrigerator to mix the sugar, spice and citrus.

Place raspberries in cocktail shaker. Muddle raspberries with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add gin and stir gently.  Add citrus sugar mixture, lemon juice, Cointreau and blood orange liqueur. Fill shaker with ice and shake to combine all ingredients.  Pour mixture through fine mesh strainer into a pitcher. Add prosecco and stir gently.  Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve in champagne flutes garnished with raspberries and citrus peel twists.

Christmas kittyChristmas kitty maxineChristmas kitty ziggy

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays And Best Wishes For A Bright New Year!

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