Spare Champagne After the New Year? Try This Cocktail

I’m not sure why we thought to buy six bottles of Champagne for New Year’s Eve…maybe there was some sort of six-pack discount at the local Vons, or perhaps my wife thought each guest at our year-end soiree needed their own bottle. Regardless, the two spare bottles hogging precious fridge space need to go. Not being a big wine/bubbly drinker, I decided to whip up a quick and easy home cocktail, which for me means a quick dive into my favorite cocktail book, “Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails by David Kaplan.

Under the “sparkling cocktails section,” a tequila-based drink called Seda de Naranja (orange silk), caught my eye. The ingredients are similar to a basic margarita. Although the thought of blending dry sparkling wine, tequila, Grand Marnier, and orange bitters didn’t add up in my head as a particularly great flavor combination, I popped the cork, mixed it up, and took a sip. What came out in the glass was simply stunning.

Phil Ward’s 2007 Seda De Naranja

  • 3/4 ounce El Tesoro Reposado Tequila (any 100 percent blue agave tequila will work fine)
  • 3/4 ounce Grand Marnier (I used Ferrand Dry Orange Curacao)
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Stir ingredients over ice, strain into a coupe glass, then top with dry sparkling wine. No garnish (I like to garnish).

What’s great about this drink: The blend of citrus, grape, and agave is a perfect arrangement of three unlikely bedfellows. Despite being 100 percent booze, the Seda de Naranja is surprisingly easy to drink. Spritzy citrus-pepper notes effervesce out of the glass, making this a solid aperitif to pair with a mix of spice-forward foods. On the sip, tequila blankets much of the sparkling wine character, sort of converting the overall flavor into an agave-forward soft drink.

There are more than 30 sparking cocktail recipes in “Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails” (among 500+ total recipes) – so pick it up at your favorite bookstore. 

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