Happy New Year!
Hopefully, you toasted the end of the "uh-ohs" with a nice sparkling wine or champers, but now that we're caught in that semi-awkward period between Christmas and the AFC Playoffs (GO RAVENS!), it's time to talk cocktails.
Specifically vintage cocktails. Mostly because January is Vintage Cocktail Month, but partially because thanks to the folks from AMC's Mad Men, everything old is new again. From the clothes to the music, men everywhere are dreaming of being Don Draper with his three martini lunches (and we're not talking about drinks here, people) and women are identifying themselves as a Joan, a Betty, or a Peggy.
But what if you're not hip to the lingo or worse, broke up with gin in college? Can you really enjoy the next swinging sixties shindig to which you find yourself invited?
Of course you can!! Because the good news is, there are several delicious vintage-themed cocktails that can be made with sparkling wines (The recipes I found all say champagne, but I prefer prosecco. Really, it's all a matter of taste). We covered the Kirs in a previous column, and the Kir Royale certainly is one of my personal favorites. Any of these would be a welcome addition. Some more great ones include:
No, this isn't a Michael Jackson reference. The Moonwalk was created by legendary mixologist Joe Gilmore in 1969 to commemorate the first moon landing and was the first drink served to the astronauts when they returned to Earth. Neil Armstrong even sent Gilmore a thank you note.
- 1 part fresh Grapefruit Juice
- 1 part Grand Marnier
- 2 dashes Rosewater
Shake it up, strain it into a wine glass and top off with champagne.
The Prince of Wales
Another Joe Gilmore 1969 creation, this one was done to mark the Investiture of HRH Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales. Interestingly enough, if HM The Queen survives until May 7 of this year, it will be 100 years since a Prince of Wales inherited the monarchy. Impress your friends with that bit of trivia, and then impress them with this drink!
- 1 part Lemon Juice
- 1 part Cherry Brandy
- 1 Strawberry
- 1 tsp sugar
Blend without ice and then pour into a champagne glass. Top it off with champagne.
The French 75
According to the bastion of all things knowledgeable (Wikipedia), this was the only cocktail invited in the United States during Prohibition to become a "classic." It was invented by WWI Flying Ace Raoul Lufbery. Legend holds that he liked his champagne with a kick, so he tossed in a little cognac (or gin, according to another story) and made history.
- 2 oz Cognac (or dry Gin, OR if you like Vodka toss that in and make a French 76)
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1 oz lemon juice (optional)
- Brut champagne or other dry sparkling wine
Combine liquor, syrup, and lemon juice (if desired) in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into two iced champagne flutes. Fill with champagne. Share with a friend.
And the simplest of all: The Champagne Cocktail
Place a single cube of sugar in a champagne glass. Cover with a dash or two of Angostura bitters for taste, and carefully fill with champagne. Garnish with a cherry.