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Cheers to Champagne!

apollina baker

Champagne is my drink of choice.  I always have two or three bottles in my fridge (it literally is the only constant in my refrigerator, along with eggs - I will post more on the fridge/cupboard situation later).  I love to drink champagne at happy hour, while getting ready for an event, at the event, on a hot afternoon (usually preceding a nap) and, of course, at brunch.  It is perfect for every occasion , never the wrong choice (except, when in an Italian restaurant you should order Prosecco* instead).  I also love offering it casually to unexpected guests because it surprises them and they seem excited about it:) 

There are many ways to drink champagne and here are mine...

pic from my holiday soiree last year

At home:  I always keep Asti Spumante in my fridge.  Disclaimer:  This is a sparkling wine and not technically champagne because it was produced south of the town of Asti in Piedmont, Italy.  For the purposes of this post, however, sparkling wines will hereinafter be referred to as champagne.  The main reason I always have Asti around is because my sister Astianna who passed, was named after it and at every event where she is now absent, we toast with Asti.

Also because it is delicious!  It goes with everything, it's smooth, not too sweet but not too dry and, I promise, it has never given me a hangover.  It's like magic for me!  Plus, it's not expensive - hence the multiple bottles.  There are also many different kinds, I love Martini & Rossi of course, I also like Tosti (fruity and crisp), Santini is fun (mostly because I like the way Asti is written on the bottle:) and I love Moscato d'Asti, its pretty sweet but I like sweet champagne.

via Esquire

I LOVE ordering champagne cocktails at wine bars and lounges.  They are delicious and I find it funny when my male friends sip on mine and don't give them back.  Guys don't often order this but they sure will drink them.  Since you're a girl, embrace your ability to unabashedly order champagne cocktails!

Recipe

• 1 cube sugar • Angostura bitters • Chilled champagne

Soak sugar cube with a couple of good splashes of Angostura bitters and place in the bottom of a large champagne flute.  Fill slowly with sparkling wine  and garnish with a lemon twist.

Pink Champagne!  I've loved it ever since I saw what has become one of my absolute favorite movies, "An Affair to Remember" (I almost tear up just typing the title -  ridiculous).  In one of the very first scenes, Deborah Kerr tells Cary Grant how much she loves pink champagne an he admits that he likes it as well.  They agree that their time together should be like pink champagne - gay and bright and bubbly!

In the above scene, as they leave the bar, Deborah Kerr daintily dips her finger in the Rosé and dabs it behind each ear.  If you haven't already seen this film, you must! 

When I am out at a wine bar or while waiting for a table at a nice restaurant, I'll order a rosé champagne.  Rosés range in flavor, some are extremely dry and others that are sweet, some are fruity and others more citrusy - you'll get to know the type you like when you start trying them.  So, when you are on a first date and that inevitable "what would you like to drink" question is asked, instead of over thinking it, or asking what he is drinking or hesitating at all, just say "A glass of rosé champagne please."  I think it's a romantic thing to do for yourself.

Mimosas, we all love them at brunch.  It's also a fun replacement for coffee when you roll out of bed on Saturday - if you're feeling frisky;)  They're so easy to make and even easier to drink!  Just half champagne and half OJ, garnished with a strawberry if you like. 

For something different, use blood orange juice or grapefruit juice instead.

Another classic and delicious champagne drink is the Bellini, although, it is originally made with Prosecco instead of champagne (*this Italian sparkling wine is generally more fresh, light and simple compared to champagne. I know for the purposes of this post we are classifying sparkling wines as champagne generally but, I must distinguish here for authenticity's sake).  Invented sometime between 1934 and 1948 by Giuseppe Cipriani, the Bellini was served as a specialty at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy, one of Ernest Hemingway's favorite haunts.  A quick aside about Hemingway: his book,  A Moveable Feast, is one I recommend.   Although criticized for questionable editing since it was published posthumously, it is my favorite of the books I've read of his.  It is a compilation of his memoirs so it is in Hemingway's own voice and you learn of his character more so than in any of his fictional works.

Now, back to the Bellini!  Give it a try when you're out at a restaurant or bar with fresh ingredients and good bartenders.  Or make it yourself; the classic recipe is just puréed white peaches and prosecco (one third of a glass of white peach puree and two thirds cold sparkling wine).

You don't have to only drink champagne when you're celebrating, or, in the alternative, every drink is a celebration and should convey that feeling!  We can drink champagne any time we want to, or any way, even in a can!  How cute are these Sofia mini cans?!  Perfect for picnics, the beach or the pool:)

Tips for keeping the bubbles bubbly:

You obviously cannot re-cork champagne so when you cannot finish an entire bottle, simply place a spoon in the opening and put it back in the fridge.  I don't know why this works but it does.  The champagne will stay fizzy!  I have not tried it with a fork but it would probably work the same;)

Also, in order to keep those beautiful bubbles floating up the length of the glass and popping at the surface, place a sugar cube in the bottom of the glass.  It's a fun party trick and sugar cubes just look so pretty in a dish next to the champagne flutes.  Pick up a box of sugar cubes next time you're at the grocery store, they are really cheap and great to have around.

Oh, and another drink, which I don't think is really a thing, is champagne and red bull.  I know it sounds awful and classless but, it's not bad when you're day drinking, still a bit tired and don't want that mimosa induced want-to-take-a-nap haze.  A friend of mine introduced me to it semi-recently.  It gives you a pep and let's you down easy, in my experience that is:)

Cheers!