December 23, 2018
We love cocktails that give people unexpected, but pleasant surprises. Using champagne, sparkling wine or prosecco is a perfect way to set a festive tone for the holiday season, and while most folks will sip these wines all on their own, they actually make beautiful and festive cocktails. Plus, nothing says your holiday party is cooler than most like opening a bottle of bubbly with its distinctive, ‘POP’!
What’s the difference between Champagne, Prosecco, and Moscato?
If you really want to impress your guests this holiday season, or if you simply want to fully appreciate your cocktail, it’s always a good idea to know a bit about what you’re serving.
Officially speaking, Champagne is a sparkling wine that must come from Champagne, France. Sometimes, you will see bottles of sparkling wine labelled as champagne that are produced outside of Europe, but that is because it is not subject to the strict legal restrictions of the European Union.
So where do those signature bubbles come from? Champagne ferments in the bottle, instead of in tanks, making older champagnes much richer and complex.
Champagne is usually made with either Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Pinot Meunier grapes and their qualities can vary from very dry to very sweet. There is a seven-level scale for labelling champagne based on the concentration residual sugar in each.
The scale from driest to sweetest is:
Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine. Prosecco is similar to champagne in dryness, but, because it isn’t aged, it often has fruity notes; think pear, melon and green apple.
Moscato (Moscato d’Asti)
Moscato is a sparkling wine produced in the Asti region of Italy. Its name comes from the types of grapes that are used to make it – Moscato Bianco.
Compared to Champagne and Prosecco, Moscato is much lighter in alcohol and it’s quite sweet, so think about serving it after meals, paired with desert or as the base of sweeter cocktails (though we will admit it’s a delicious, lighter sipper on Christmas morning!)
How to Properly Open Bubbly
With your bubbly at the ready, the next step is opening it correctly, so you can avoid embarrassing overflows, flying corks, or spraying yourself, your dining room, or your guests.
Here’s how to open a bottle of sparkling wine in seven easy steps.
Now that you know about the different kinds of sparkling wines and how to open that bottle of bubbly, you can start having fun with these four sparkling cocktail recipes!
In a blender, combine vodka, blue curacao, lemonade and ice. Blend until combined. Run a lemon wedge around the rim of each glass then dip in sanding sugar or coconut. Pour about 1/3 of a glass full of champagne, then top up with frosties into a rimmed glasses and serve immediately.
Using a wedge of lime, wet the rim of your glasses. Dip rim in sugar until it's coated. Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl, stir together and serve.
Pour the creme de cassis into a wine glass. Drop in a couple fresh raspberries. Slowly add the sparkling wine. You can adjust the amount of liqueur to match your sweet tooth. More liqueur will make a sweeter drink.
Pomegranate Holiday Smash
Add 1 ounce of Co-op artisanal gin into a martini shaker with ice, mint leaves, lemon juice, cranberry juice and pomegranate seeds. Gently muddle the ingredients. Shake it all up and strain into a large champagne flute. Top it off with Mumm Carte Classique Champagne, or similar.
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