It’s the most effervescent time of the year—for drinks, that is (though I think we could use an infusion of better Champagne and sparkling wine cocktails year-round, honestly). But don’t get caught drinking just regular Champagne. Not that it’s bad, or that I’d turn down a glass, but the season I think deserves more celebratory mixes, while still maintaining the sparkle.
With that, here are four stellar choices for bubbly cocktails to have at local bars and restaurants, and one to make at home if you’re having a party.
Khaleesi’s Reign, Heartwood Provisions. With pear-infused vodka, locally-made broVo “Pretty” Vermouth Blanc, chamomile, lemon and sparkling wine, this shimmery fruit-and-flowers number is a great way to start your evening—or end it—with class and taste. They’re also having a 5-course menu with Champagne pairings New Year's Eve, if you want to make sure you balance out eating and drinking, which is never a bad idea.
Two's a Crowd, The Dunbar Room. This cocktail has been featured all month, and combines gin, Italian sparkling wine Prosecco, maraschino liqueur and Créme de Violette. The drink is not only delicious and light on its feet, but has heart, too: Through the end of the month, the Dunbar Room will donate $2 from every purchase to local charities Northwest Harvest, Farestart, Art with Heart and the Seattle Humane Society. Toast up and support good causes!
Silver Hilton, RockCreek. As this Fremont spot is a haven for seafood lovers, it’s not surprising that they’d have a cocktail that seems to swim around Europe, with a mixture of vodka, Italian aperitif Aperol, Spanish sparkler Cava, and orange and lemon. If that doesn’t tempt you, try their other Cava drink, the Daisy De Caddis, which has a heady mingling of tequila, Yellow Chartreuse, lime, piloncillo pineapple syrup and that sparkling wine.
New Jersey Connection, Sun Liquor Lounge. A Capitol Hill classic, this bar is a swell spot to tuck into throughout the holiday season, getting off those busy streets and into some good cocktails. The New Jersey Connection falls nicely into that latter group, with applejack (the apple brandy that was a favorite of our colonial ancestors), herbally Cio Ciaro amaro, celery bitters and sparkling wine, all capped off by a lemon twist.
The Lamb’s Wool
from Champagne Cocktails: 50 Cork-Popping Concoctions and Scintillating Sparklers
Here’s a memorable drink to serve if you’re having an end-of-year shindig at home. It uses red Italian frizzante favorite Lambrusco, which keeps a low level of bubbling while adding a sweet rich taste, and which pairs nicely with gin, dry vermouth and triple sec (feel free to try with your favorite orange liqueur, too).
1-1/2 ounces gin (go local with Kur gin)
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1/2 ounce triple sec Chilled Lambrusco
Orange slice, for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, dry vermouth and triple sec. Stir well.
Strain into a flute glass, and top with the Lambrusco. Garnish with an orange slice.