I recently received samples to make the most delicious cocktail - think champagne, but with a colorful and flavorful twist. With all the engagements that happened over the holiday season, it's time to toast congrats as well as ring in the new year with something bubbly - a festive sparking wine.
[yellow tail] bubbles is the affordable go-to sparkling wine. You can enjoy the bubbly on its own or with Chambord Liqueur in this Chambord & Champagne cocktail recipe. The drink is divine and looks like the color of passion - this is definitely my choice going forward when toasting instead of the traditional champagne - which for me has always been a bit hard to swallow. Oh, and the bubbles bottles have a special resealable cork known as the “Zork”. How awesome is that? As Yellow Tail explains, you will have the classic experience of popping a cork but with the convenience of being able to save what hasn’t been consumed. By re-sealing the bottle you will maintain gas pressure.
Chambord & Champagne
1/2 oz Chambord
[yellow tail] bubbles
Add Chambord to bottom of flute glass and top with [yellow tail] bubbles. Garnish with a raspberry.
And, if you have any left over bubbly you can make the Blackberry Fizz, a nice, sparkling cocktail created by Jonathan Pogash of The Cocktail Guru. Like Chambord & Champagne, the Blackberry Fizz is a wonderful drink to serve at parties celebrating the newly engaged couple or any other special occasion. Spiked chocolate truffles are another nice touch for engagement parties. You can put the sweet treats out as small desserts, or beautifully package them for party favors. Use Chambord to make the Chocolate Truffles from The Joy of Cooking (recipe below).
Blackberry Fizz (served at Madison & Vine, NYC)
2 large fresh blackberries (or 1 oz. blackberry puree)
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. Yellowtail sparkling wine
1 oz. Lillet Blanc
1 oz. Gin
Directions: In a mixing glass muddle the blackberries (or add the puree), along with the lemon, simple, Lillet, and Gin. Then add ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled champagne flute and top off with the sparkling wine. Garnish with a blackberry on the rim of glass.
Chocolate Truffles by The Joy of Baking
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons alcohol *Chambord, Tuaca, Four Roses or Conjure Cognac
Coatings for Truffles: Dutch-Processed Cocoa powder, sifted / Melted or tempered chocolate / Confectioners sugar, sifted / Toasted / Chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts) / Toasted coconut / Shaved chocolate
For Chocolate Truffles: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for a minute or two. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. (If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, place in the microwave for about 20 seconds, or over a saucepan of simmering water, just until melted.) If desired, add the liqueur. Cover and place in the refrigerator until the truffle mixture is firm (this will take several hours or overnight).
Place your coatings for the truffles on a plate. Remove the truffle mixture from the refrigerator. With your hands, a small ice cream scoop, a melon baller, or with a small spoon form the chocolate into round or mis-shaped bite-sized balls. Immediately roll the truffle in the coating and place on a parchment lined baking sheet or tray. Cover and place in the refrigerator until firm. Truffles can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or else frozen for a couple of months.
To Toast Nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and bake nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds) about 8 - 10 minutes or until brown and fragrant. For hazelnuts toast about 15 minutes or until the skins start to blister. Remove from oven and roll in a clean dish towel. Let the nuts 'steam' for about 5 minutes and then remove the skins. Once the nuts have cooled, chop coarsely.