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TIP OF THE DAY: A Perfect Christmas Cocktail (& A Chanukah Cocktail, Too)

For your holiday celebrations, we propose a perfect Christmas cocktail:

  • It’s sparkling.
  • I can be red and green.
  • It’s easy to make.
  • There’s a mocktail variation.
  •  
    A conventional Mimosa combines sparkling wine and orange juice (see the Mimosa history, below). Substitute cranberry juice and you’ve got the holiday version.

    (For a Chanukah version, use sparkling wine and blue Curaçao, with blue sparkling sugar. Here’s the recipe; photo below.).

    You need only two ingredients—wine and cranberry juice. But you can create a more complex flavor and glamorous look recipe by adding:

  • Liqueur: cranberry or orange.
  • Rose or red sparkling wine.
  • A glass rimmer.
  • A festive garnish.
  •  
    RECIPE #1: CRANBERRY MIMOSA

    You can make the drink sweeter with a sweeter sparkling wine, by adding liqueur, and/or by increasing the percentage of cranberry juice (which also makes a less potent drink).

  • For a sweeter cocktail, use a 1:1 proportion of wine to juice.
  • For a less sweet cocktail, use a 2:1 proportion of wine to juice.
  • For a dry cocktail, use a tablespoon or two of juice and fill the glass with wine.
     
    FOR THE WINE: There’s no need to spring for Champagne; its toasty flavors get covered up by the juice. Instead, use a well-priced ($10-$15/bottle) sparkling wine such as Asti Spumante or Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain, Crémant from France, or our favorite Yellow Tail Rosé Bubbles from Australia.
     
    TO SERVE: Champagne flutes are ideal, but you can use a conventional wine glass, preferably a white wine glass, which has a smaller and narrower mouth (a wide mouth lets the bubbles escape quickly, which is why champagne flutes are so narrow).

     
    Ingredients

  • Sparkling wine (see our recommendations)
  • Cranberry juice (cranberry cocktail and cranberry drink products are sweeter)
  • Optional liqueur
  • Garnish (see ideas below)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CHILL the wine and juice in advance.

    2. RIM the glasses in advance. Moisten the glass rims and twist them in a plate of sugar at the beginning of the event.

    3. ADD the juice and optional liqueur to the glass. Stir briefly.

    4. TOP off with the sparkling wine. Garnish as desired and serve.
     
    Garnishes

  • “Evergreen”: rosemary sprig with cranberries or small red grapes.
  • Frozen grapes on a pick (recipe #3, below).
  • Red & Green: green sparkling sugar rim on the red drink.
  • “Santa hat”: a white sugar rim on the red drink.
  • Strawberry with green top, notched to sit on the rim.
  •  
    RECIPE #2: MOCKTAIL VERSION

    Ingredients

  • Ocean spray sparkling juice drink or plain cranberry juice
  • Lemon-lime soda or (for a drier drink) club soda, plain or citrus-flavored
  •  
    RECIPE #3: FROZEN GRAPE PICKS

    Increase the ingredients as needed for the size of your gathering. You can mix the colors or use just one color of grapes.

  • 1 cup seedless green grapes
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes
  • 1/4 cup white granulated or sparkling sugar
  • Cocktail picks
  •  
    Preparation

    1. REMOVE from the stems and wash the grapes.

    2. PLACE 3-4 grapes on each pick and roll in a plate of sugar. The coating does not need to be even or heavy; a smaller amount makes for better eating. If the grapes have dried, you can lightly spray them with water. Let them sit for 15 minutes for the sugar to adhere.

    3. FREEZE the skewers until ready to use.
     
    THE HISTORY OF THE MIMOSA COCKTAIL

      Cranberry Mimosa

    Sparkling Christmas Cocktail

    Sparkling Christmas Cocktail

    Sparkling Christmas Cocktail

    Brachetto d'Acqui

    Chanukah Champagne Cocktail
    [1] Cranberry Mimosa with a conventional garnish (photo courtesy Ocean Spray). [2] With an “evergreen” garnish: a rosemary sprig and red grapes (photo courtesy Delish). [3] Like a Santa hat with a rim of sparkling sugar (photo courtesy Stress Baking). [4] With frozen sugared grapes (photo courtesy The Cookie Rookie). [5] For a deeper red cocktail: Brachetto d’Aqui sparkling Italian wine (photo courtesy Banfi). [6] The Chanukah version. Here’s the recipe from Announcing It, plus more Chanukah cocktails.

     
    The Mimosa, a cocktail composed of equal parts of orange juice and Champagne or other dry, white sparkling wine, was invented circa 1925 in the Hôtel Ritz in Paris, by bartender Frank Meier.

    Served in a Champagne flute, it is believed to be named after the the mimosa evergreen shrub (Acacia dealbata), which bears flowers of a similar light orange color as the drink.

    Because of the juice component, the Mimosa is often served at brunch. A Grapefruit Mimosa is a popular variation.

    A related drink, the Buck’s Fizz, has two parts Champagne to one part juice—and sometimes a splash of grenadine. Created at London’s Buck’s Club by bartender Pat McGarryhe, the Buck’s Fizz predates the Mimosa by about four years.
      




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