March 20th. The first day of a brand new season. Winter's death knell. A beacon of sunshine cutting through the months of dark gloom.
Some days are still on the cool side and some days are warm enough to hint at flip flops and suntans. If we're lucky, all of the snow is behind us now. Like spring, this drink is a breath of fresh air in tall, chilled, sparkling form.
Mint, lime, bubbles, and citrus notes – how much fresher can it get? It's my belief that there should be a cocktail specially designed to welcome the first day of spring. And so, here it is.
This recipe came about as the result of a cocktail competition. The requirements: use Veuve Ambal sparkling white wine and Hella Bitter's bitters. We were thrilled to participate in this thirst-quenching contest. Recipe testing with high quality sparkling wine and bitters? Any day. The flavors of both the Veuve and the Hella Bitters blew us away.
Have you ever noticed a pounding headache after a night of sipping champagne? It doesn't always mean you've had too much of it. After a recent run-in with the aforementioned champagne headache, I was curious as to why just one glass – can sometimes make me want to swear off bubbly forever.
As it turns out, the cheaper the champagne or sparkling wine, the worse the effects. Higher sugar content, poor quality grapes, and cost-effective production leads to a sub-par product that doesn't settle well. Now you know what's to blame for the throbbing, persistent, New Year's Day-ruining hangover. It's not all champagne's fault!
As with anything else, you get what you pay for. Being honest here – in the past, we didn't usually go above $8 for a bottle of bubbly. But after trying Veuve Ambal's Blanc de Blancs, I don't think I can go back down that road. A couple more dollars make a world of difference. [And it will save you a lot of money on ibuprofen.]
I might be biased, being a former Brooklyn resident and all, but I fell in love with Hella Bitter while making this recipe. They tasted more "small-batch," if you will, less muddled and mass-produced. The clear, distinct, complementary flavors in both the aromatic and the citrus bitters were outstanding – we're dying to have an Old Fashioned night soon. Really, the possibilities are endless because they mesh so well with so many ingredients. In this cocktail, the citrus bitters were a shoo-in.
Veuve Ambal's Blanc de Blanc has a delicate hint of citrus and is only slightly sweet – perfect for sipping. Combined with citrus bitters, Grand Marnier, mint, and fresh lime, the Veuve gets to shine through in all its glory. Cheers to this, and spring, and summer, too!