Katie Mcelveen 2017-12-06 05:24:49
With its exuberant pop, froth of bubbles and tingling effervescence, no drink heralds a celebration better than Champagne, especially during the holidays. France may have perfected Champagne, but many give credit for inventing the process—transforming still wine into sparkling— to Christopher Merrett, a 17th century Englishman who, more than 30 years prior to Dom Perignon, supposedly uttering the words “Come quickly! I’m drinking the stars,” documented how to put the fizz into sparkling wine. Still, it was the French who transformed what we now know as Champagne into a celebratory beverage closely associated with New Year’s Eve. The drink first gained status as a trendy spritz for royals and, hundreds of years later, it maintains an elevated position in the libation world. Today, opening a bottle of Champagne transforms any event—from dinner with friends to a New Year’s Eve soirée—into a celebratory party. More than a drink, Champagne is also a region in France; by law, any sparkling wine called Champagne must have been produced there. But that doesn’t give Champagne an exclusive on being the life of the party. Spanish cava, Italian prosecco and French Crémant, as well as American sparklers are all as palatable as they are festive. Although Champagne is delicious on its own (or with classic accompaniments like caviar, oysters and strawberries), these sparkling wines are also surprisingly versatile, pairing well with foods ranging from fried chicken to barbecue. “Sun, surf and sand plus Champagne and barbecue equals island paradise,” says Kenneth Kwok, director of restaurants at Montage Kapalua Bay, who counts Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label Brut Champagne as his favorite. Dave Wallace, beverage manager at Montage Deer Valley, sips Champagne—Bollinger, Ruinart and Billecart-Salmon are his prefered selections—with buttery popcorn. “I also like to take the popcorn to the next level with a drizzle of truffle oil and pinch of Maldon sea salt,” Wallace says. Another way to enjoy Champagne’s sparkle is as a base for special-event cocktails. Beyond the classic mimosa, consider the Champagne cocktail, a 19thcentury creation that involves dousing a sugar cube with bitters (and often a tad of cognac), before filling the glass with sparkling wine and, if you like, a slender twist of lemon peel. Add a Bit of Bubbly Montage has created a few festive cocktails featuring Champagne and sparkling wine. Here are some of their favorites. MONTAGE PALMETTO BLUFF THE PINK VELVET When he’s drinking Champagne, Jesse Rodriguez, director of wine at Montage Palmetto Bluff, sips Bérêche et Fils Champagne Brut Réserve. For a sparkling cocktail, Rodriguez suggests this light drink is perfect for evenings in coastal Carolina. To make it, he blends a peach and brown sugar to taste then adds Campari and finishes it with two large ice cubes and prosecco, preferably Montefresco or, for better color, a sparkling rosé. MONTAGE LAGUNA BEACH THE HONEYSUCKLE Parties at this beachfront property often begin with the Honeysuckle, a sweet cocktail that mixes Grey Goose La Poire Vodka with lime juice, honey syrup and, of course, sparkling wine. The addition of a lemon twist garnish is the perfect final touch for this aperitif during a sunset near the ocean. MONTAGE KAPALUA BAY TROPICAL BELLINI Sitting on a beach, looking out over the vast Pacific, sipping on a tropical flavor with a bit of tingle—it’s difficult to imagine a better way to enjoy a refreshing flute of sparkling wine. Montage Kapalua Bay’s Director of Restaurants Kenneth Kwok blends fresh Maui mango, peach (puree and fruit) and Big Island Bees Organic Ohia Lehua Honey, then tops it with sparkling wine to taste for a delightful libation ideal for any time of the day. MONTAGE DEER VALLEY SUNRISE MIMOSA If Champagne is the ultimate celebrationstarting drink, then tequila is its wild cousin. Combined, they make a dynamic beverage that scintillates the palate and offers a unique take on the sparkling cocktail. Montage Deer Valley Bar Manager Dave Wallace created this riff on the classic libation, mixing Herradura Reposada Tequila, grenadine and orange juice, topped with a pour of sparking wine.
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