Wine for all: Cocktail de Champagne
Where there is no wine there is no love
In Greek mythology, Dionysus, the God of Wine who lived among forests and vineyards, was very loyal to humans. One day Ámpelo, his favorite satyr, died. His death broke the heart of the Dionysus.
Inundated in sadness, Dionysus consulted The Moiras (3 ladies, considered the personifications and distributors of destiny). The Moiras granted Ámpelo a second life, but not as a satyr, rather in the form of a vine. So, when the first grapes of the vine grew and matured, Dionysus separated the fruit, and with all the love he professed for the satyr, he pressed them, and proceeded to get drunk on the liquor of the grapes. That is the Greek myth of the origin of wine.
Wine has been a source of inspiration, mysticism and romanticism, not only for the Greeks, but for philosophers, thinkers, poets, painters, sculptors and countless personalities. The finest champagnes have conquered the palate and heart of romantics for generations.
When celebrating love, many come to me and ask for help suggest a wine for a romantic dinner. My consistent answer is: Champagne!
This fun, sparkling, fresh and delicious drink is the perfect pairing for Valentine's Day!
Champagne is a type of sparkling white wine made (mostly) with 2 types of red grapes, and one white (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay). It originates from the exclusive French region of the same name, and though there is controversy concerning pairing champagne, it’s certainly possible to have a very lovely experience any time, especially on Valentine’s Day, this special day of love.
Although the world of champagne is a whole world to discover, the different "names" that you will find on the labels are determined according to its level of sweetness. It is important to know the sweetness of the drink, in order to discover what foods to pair it with. I have listed them below from driest to sweetest:
• Brut Nature (less than 3gr / lt)
• Extra Brut (3-6gr / lt)
• Brut (6-12gr / lt)
• Extra dry (12-17gr / lt)
• Sec (17-32gr / lt)
• Demi Sec (32-50gr / lt)
• Doux (more than 50gr / lt)
For drier champagnes, pair with fish (baked or roasted) and shellfish, especially lobster, caviar, prawns, oysters and smoked salmon. Also, try it with cheeses—you can try the Edam, the Brie and the Beaufort.
For the sweetest champagnes, accompany them with fruit-based desserts (especially those with acidity, like strawberries) or crème, like a mousse, or pair with your favorite milk chocolate.
The best time to serve a sparkling wine is at the beginning of a good meal, with the appetizers, that way it can be better appreciated (I recommend salty pastries).
When serving, do it between half and two-thirds of the flute or tulip glass and at an ideal temperature of between 7-10°C. Anything colder and it begins to lose its aroma and flavor.
Also, note that the bubbles of champagne pleasantly cut the greasiness of food. You will be surprised how well French fries pair with sparkling wines. So, let yourself fall in love with the bubbles. Writer Eduardo Galeano’s wrote, “We are all mortal until the first kiss and the second glass of wine.”
Finally, do you know what "The Great Gatsby," "Breakfast with Diamonds," and "Casablanca" have in common? In all these classic love stories, the second protagonist of the story is the "Champagne Cocktail." Popularized in high society celebrations in the 19th century, the combination of sweet, bitter and citrus is irresistible! (If you are one of the champagne purists, you can substitute for another dry sparkling wine).
On this Day of celebration of love and friendship, I’m happy to share my version of this cocktail with all of you. What better time to try new things than with the person you love. Happy Valentine’s Day!
1 cube or tsp. of sugar
Cognac (or Brandy)
3 drops of Bitter Angostura
1 orange peel (twist, you can substitute for yellow lemon)
1. Place the sugar in the base of a flute or tulip glass, soak with the bitter of angostura.
2. Add a splash of Cognac (about 1/3 of the glass).
3. Fill the glass with the champagne. It should be very cold and open just when serving.
4. Decorate with the orange twist.
Enjoy with snacks such as raspberries, smoked salt cream cheese tapas, strawberry macarons and butter popcorn (butter is an excellent ally of champagne).
If you liked this story, check my article on Charcuterie and wine!