Jay and I belong to a wine club and we get shipments of wine every few months. We love it because we get to try all kinds of wine and don’t have to carry them up to our 9th floor apartment. (We have an elevator — but still!) I still need to figure out when we will be hosting a wine tasting party. But in the meanwhile — my wine guru friend, Wendy Crispell, put this list together for us for the summer!
List for Sparkling Wine Cocktails, Refreshing Summer Sippers
by Wendy Crispell
In the extreme heat we often just want to relax at the end of the day or on the weekend with a refreshing cocktail. I find in the dog days of summer I like a lighter style that is a bit lower in alcohol and also uses the best of summer’s fresh fruits and berries available at your local farm market. Experimenting with flavors can be fun with a few friends. Using these basic ingredients, add your own touches or use my favorite recipes.
1. No need for an expensive Champagne here! Pick up a bottle of either a Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco or a French Cremant. You may also use a local NY or American sparkling if you have a favorite. For a more berry flavor try a rose, there are many alternatives available from dry and crisp to a more fruit-forward style.
2. See what fruits are in season at your local farmers market. I like to use peaches, apricots, raspberries as well as lemons, limes and oranges.
3. Try different fresh herbs including basil, mint, tarragon and thyme. Don’t over do it — a little goes a long way and experiment with one at a time to build flavor profiles.
4. Consider stocking up on a few flavored bitters! There are many different types available with exotic flavors including rhubarb, blood orange and key lime online.
5. Make a simple syrup: Bring two cups of cold tap water to a boil. Stir in two cups of granulated sugar. Turn the heat to low and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves completely.
To test if the sugar is completely dissolved, use a metal spoon to scoop up a small bit of the syrup. Tilt it over the pan and watch carefully. You shouldn’t be able to see any crystals in the liquid.
At this point you can add flavorings; add about a tablespoon of any liquid extract. You can also stir in one tablespoon corn syrup to help ensure the syrup stays smooth.
Let the syrup cool to room temperature, then pour into a clean glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
Consider having a few flavor-infused liquors on hand such as vodka, limoncello or gin.
Try these delicious recipes or experiment with your own!
Ginger Lime Tarragon Sparkletini- Add 1 sprig tarragon and 2 slices of fresh ginger to simple syrup while cooling. Fill a large flute with 2 ounces of syrup, squeeze 2 pieces fresh lime wedges in glass, top with chilled dry sparkling wine and garnish with a slice of candied ginger and a sprig of fresh tarragon.
Limoncello Basil Peach Sparkletini- Add 2 ounces simple syrup, ½ ounce Limoncello, 2 slices fresh peach to flute glass. Top with chilled dry sparkling wine and garnish with fresh basil leaf. You may add a dash of lemon bitters for a more intense flavor.
Raspberry Mint Rose Sparkletini- Add 1 ounce simple syrup, ½ ounce raspberry vodka to a flute glass. Top with chilled sparkling rose wine and garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Have fun experimenting with different styles of wine and flavors!
Wendy Crispell, CSW, WSET Advanced, is a wine and cheese event specialist/consultant in NYC. She has designed and hosted many corporate and private events for NY celebrities, top business leaders and industry clients. She has studied in both the US and Europe making stops in the world’s creameries, farm markets and fine restaurants. She always carries a list of culinary must visits wherever she goes! For more information go to her website wendycrispellwine.com and to check out wine tasting classes she’s teaching click here. Mention “List Producer” and get $10 off all classes.