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12 Days of Cocktails: Day 4

Posted on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016



There is something about drinking sparkling wine that seems to dazzle up any celebration.  Just hearing those corks pop sets such a festive tone.  The only thing fancier than sparkling wine is a sparkling wine cocktail.  Think of sparkling wine cocktails like the perfect shiny bow to really jazz up your party. The great thing about sparkling cocktails is that you don’t have to do much to dress them up.  For today’s recipe we created an apple pie syrup that adds those familiar flavors of the season and  really balances the sweetness of sparkling wine.  There are so many ways you can tailor this cocktail so that it fits your occasion.  Remember, treat these recipes as a starting point, get creative, and adjust the recipes to fit your palette and your busy schedule. We want the task of making cocktails to be stress free, and of course fun!


Glassware: champagne flute

Garnish: whole star anise

4 oz sparkling wine

¾ oz apple pie syrup

2 dashes of orange bitters

METHOD: Build in the glass starting with the apple pie syrup, then orange bitters and then top with the bubbles.


4 green apples (cut up, without cores, skin on)

1 teaspoon butter

6 cups water

6 cups Sugar

2 sticks of cinnamon

2 cups Apple juice

3 tbsp citric acid-this is a great way to add acidity to a syrup to add balance, without using fruit juice like or lime or lemon. This can be found in the canning section of your grocery store

METHOD: In a large pot, sautée the apples in the butter over medium heat.  When a bit of color gets on the apples, add the cinnamon and water.  Simmer until apples soften.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  Add the sugar, apple juice, and citric acid to mixture and mix well.

LIKE A VIRGIN: Add this syrup to sparkling cider, or plain soda water. I like to add citrus slices to this and serve it in a pitcher. Just because a guest doesn’t drink, doesn’t mean they can’t get in on the fancy!

WITH A TWIST: You can also use this syrup with other spirits like bourbon or rye, or this would make a great addition to a Moscow Mule. This syrup is also great drizzled on piping hot biscuits or French toast. Yeah, I said it.

FOR A CROWD: I think sparkling cocktails make for the perfect welcome cocktail. Any party I attend where I am greeted with a cocktail is my kind of shindig, in other words you’re going to have to ask me to leave.  Welcome cocktails are great because you can put a little bit of effort into one cocktail to greet your guests but switch to a simplified bar once the party gets swinging. I’d recommend setting out your flutes and already having the syrup and bitters portioned out in each glass and keep your sparkling wine on ice by all your glassware. As your guests arrive just top the glass off with the sparkling wine and ‘Ta-da!’ an instant cocktail and you barely broke a sweat!

EASY DOES IT: If you’re really digging the idea of serving a sparkling cocktail at your party but can’t seem to untangle yourself from your holiday to do list long enough to make a syrup don’t fret! One of my favorite go to sparkling cocktails that requires zero effort is to add sparkling blood orange soda to my bubbles. I’ll garnish it with rosemary to make it festive and so my guests know I’m committed to making them feel fancy.  La Croix is a great mixer to sparkling wine since there isn’t any added sweetness and they come in so many flavors. I think the grapefruit pairs beautifully with sparkling wine.  And if you really want to be on the nice list, add an ounce of Watershed Bourbon Barrel Aged Gin- just because it’s bubbly doesn’t mean it can’t pack a punch.

I hope this cocktail adds that perfect amount of sparkle to your gathering. Don’t think you need to have a party to enjoy a sparkling cocktail. You’ve had a long day, go ahead and pop that bottle! You definitely deserve it.

Your neighborhood bar geek,

Catherine Manabat