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Champagne Cocktails for Valentine’s Day

Champagne Cocktails for Valentine's Day

The devil is in the details. An idiom, a truism, and something I firmly believe. It’s the little things—the subtleties—that make something truly sparkle and definitely very sexy. And when it comes to champagne cocktails, for me, at least, subtlety is key. If I’ve got good bubbles, I want to taste them. But just the right amount of subtle accent can take a flute of champagne to a whole other level. I created this trio of distinct champagne cocktails in honor of Valentine’s Day with the hope that you can take your love to the next level. Cheers.

Champagne Cocktail: French Kiss
A riff on the classic French 75, French Kiss is the lightest of the three champagne cocktails presented here. A subtle sweetness from the St-Germain and spice from the ginger liqueur mingle with herbaceous, sour, and dry, adding a surprising layer to this “fruit-on-the-bottom” drink.

French Kiss

1 oz. Plymouth Gin
1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
1/4 oz. St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 barspoon Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
4 oz. Moët & Chandon Imperial Champagne
Lemon twist for garnish

Place a sugar cube in a champagne flute. Combine the gin, lemon juice, St-Germain, and ginger liqueur in a mixing glass. Shake with cracked ice and strain into the champagne flute. Top with the champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.

Champagne Cocktail: Rich and Famous
My personal favorite of the bunch, Rich and Famous is at least half of its name. Hopefully the famous part will follow.

Rich and Famous

1 oz. Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac
1/2 oz. Bénédictine
1/4 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
3 1/2 oz. Moët & Chandon Imperial Champagne
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 demerara sugar cube

Place a demerara sugar cube in a champagne flute and drench with the bitters. Combine the cognac, Bénédictine, and allspice dram in a mixing glass. Stir with ice and strain into the champagne flute. Top with the champagne.

Champagne Cocktail: Difficult Loves
A trinity of Italian ingredients come together in this bitter but savory champagne cocktail, named in honor of Italian writer Italo Calvino’s short story collection of the same name.

Difficult Loves

1/2 oz. Cynar
1/2 oz. Carpano Antica Formula
1/2 oz. Cocchi Americano
4 oz. Moët & Chandon Imperial Champagne
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 sugar cube
Orange twist for garnish

Combine the Cynar, Carpano Antica, and Cocchi Americano in a mixing glass. Stir with ice and strain into the champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with an orange twist.

Champagne Cocktails

When Providence Provides: Cantaloup Soup


This is one of those dishes that begins not with a recipe but a magical mystery tour through my refrigerator during which I play a quick game of matchmaker and the winner is dinner. It may sound contrived, but I actually find that it’s kind of entertaining and, by starting from leftovers, some of the cooking is already done before I even start. Bonus points: fresh meals are made without wasting food I’ve already invested energy into preparing.

Which bring us up to my inventory. A cold soup sounded like a grand idea on this muggy weekend, and I had a bag of frozen cantaloup I wanted to evict from my freezer. My Google research turned up one or two melon soup recipes that used ginger and lemon juice as ingredients. I had neither of these on hand, but providence provides! What I did have was a flat batch of homemade ginger beer (yeast fail!) that I refused to toss on principle, certain I could find a way to incorporate it into something at some point. And what is ginger beer but a sweetened broth of already juiced lemons and grated ginger?

It was an idea I decided to run with, and this tasty soup was ours for dinner. Done any matchmaking of your own lately?

Cantaloup Soup

Cantaloup Soup

5 cups cantaloup, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cups strong ginger beer
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp. salt
fresh grated nutmeg to garnish to taste

Place cantaloup in a bowl and pour over the ginger beer. Let sit at room temperature for one hour, allowing fruit to thaw (if using frozen) and beer to lose its carbonation. Add yogurt and salt and puree using an immersion blender. Chill soup completely (if you’ve used frozen fruit, soup will already be nicely chilled and can be served immediately).

Dish soup into small bowls or glasses, garnish with a few scratches of fresh nutmeg.