My mom had the most magical holiday party two weeks before Christmas each year. She had the honor of gifting, to her closest friends, Christmas trees grown on my grandpa’s Christmas tree farm in Northern Idaho. Our family friends would race to be first to pick their fir, spruce, or pine tree, then scurry inside our warm house for a glass of cheer. Mom always had holiday music playing, from the likes of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, plenty of appetizers and treats to eat, and the cocktails and wine flowing. My memories bubble with images of glasses clinking, hugs and appreciative words, and the perfect smell of freshly cut pine trees. Every holiday, I find myself browsing recipes and cocktails that would be perfect if she was still hosting the party, such as these festive sparkling wines.
1 tablespoon orange liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier
3 ounces cranberry juice
3 ounces sparkling wine (try a Cava, a sparkling wine from Spain)
Blueberries or blackberries, or a sprig of rosemary
Combine the orange liqueur and cranberry juice and chill. Pour mixture in glass and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with blueberries or blackberries, or sprig of rosemary.
1 tablespoon limoncello
5 ounces sparkling wine (pour a Moscato d’Asti, an Italian sparkler that’s lower in alcohol, but sweeter. The sweet bubbly will tone down the tart limoncello)
Lemon slice or lemon peel
Pour limoncello in glass. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with lemon slices or curled lemon rinds.
2 ounces pomegranate juice
2 ounces Lillet Blanc
3 ounces sparkling rosé wine (sparkling rosé is made in many varietals depending upon where grown, but tends to be zesty and dry)
1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
Pour pomegranate juice and Lillet in glass. Add pomegranate seeds. Top with sparkling rosé. Garnish with mint leaf.
Santa’s Sleigh Ride
2 cups apple juice
Pinch each of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger
5 ounces sparkling wine (try prosecco or a Brut Champagne)
Red and green apple slices
Splash of lemon juice
In small pot or pan over medium heat, simmer the apple juice and pinch each of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger until reduced by half. Chill the spiced juice. Pour 3 tablespoons of spiced juice into glass. Toss slices of red and green apple with lemon juice, then add to glass. Top with sparkling wine or Champagne.
NOTE: I sourced these recipes from footdnetwork.com and thespruce.com. For your sparkling wines, I recommend purchasing bottles in the $10 to $20 range.