Bubbles with a Twist

By Debbie AndersonNovember 26, 2019No Comments

By June Naylor
Photos by Aaron Dougherty

Nothing lights up a holiday party like Champagne. And the only thing more festive than a flute of sparkling wine is a colorful Champagne cocktail. For inspiration, we turned to sommelier Karen Chu, owner of Grand Cru Wine Bar & Boutique on Fort Worth’s Magnolia Avenue, who offers more than 200 wines by the bottle along with special flights and tastings. An avid traveler, Chu has researched vineyards from California to Europe for good finds, and it’s her thorough study of French wines that adds much to her stellar inventory. A big fan of Champagne, she offers three fizzy cocktails to make any gathering a festive affair.

Raspberry Rosé Sparkler

Serves 2

  • 10 raspberries, plus extra for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons simple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons coconut cream
  • 8 ounces brut rosé Champagne
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Muddle raspberries using a mortar and pestle, then place in cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes, simple syrup and coconut cream. Shake for 15 seconds. Add Champagne and strain into glasses. Grate nutmeg over the top and garnish with a skewer of fresh raspberries.

Blackberry, Sage & Thyme Fizz

Serves 2

  • 12 blackberries, plus more for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons sage-thyme simple syrup (See note)
  • 8 ounces brut Champagne
  • Thyme sprigs for garnish

Muddle blackberries using a mortar and pestle until the mixture is juicy and pulpy. Push juice and pulp through a mesh strainer into cocktail shaker, discarding seeds. Add herb simple syrup and a few ice cubes to cocktail shaker; shake vigorously for a few seconds.

Add Champagne and strain into glasses. Garnish each with a blackberry or two, and a small, pretty thyme sprig.

Note Make sage-thyme simple syrup by combining ½ cup each granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat just until boiling. Stir until sugar dissolves, remove from heat and add 3 sage leaves and 2 small sprigs of thyme. Steep for 10 to 20 minutes, strain out herbs and chill thoroughly.

Candy Apple

Serves 2

  • Caramel syrup and sweetened coconut, for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons cranberry juice, chilled • 2 tablespoons apple syrup, chilled (See note)
  • 8 ounces dry sparkling wine, chilled
  • Honeycrisp apple slice, for garnish (optional)

Rim glass with caramel syrup, then coat with coconut (can be on just one side or all the way around). Pour cranberry juice and apple syrup into glass and top off with sparkling wine. If desired, garnish with a thin slice of apple, slightly sliced to slot onto the rim.

Note Make apple syrup by simmering 2 cups of apple juice on stovetop until thickened and reduced to about ½ cup, about 20 to 30 minutes. You can use leftover syrup on waffles or pork chops.