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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Perfect Cocktails For Your Bridal Shower

Words by Courtney Kellar
Words by Autumn Millhouse
Photos courtesy of Domaine Chandon

Elegant, chic and reminiscent of a 1950’s glamorous affair, champagne (or in this case, sparkling wine via Napa Valley) cocktails instantly make your Bridal Shower Brunch a special soiree. Tie the venue, cuisine and personality of the bride-to-be with your designated luscious libation.

For example, if the couple is honeymooning in Hawaii, the Hibiscus Royale is a unique tribute to the getaway. If rose colours adorn the upcoming nuptials, then that cocktail can showcase the tone of the upcoming festivities. Whichever way you go with your cocktail choosing, one thing is for sure, don’t miss the opportunity to pop a bottle of bubbles and cling your champagne flutes together in celebration of the soon-to-be-bride.

Below are some of my favourite sparkling cocktail recipes provided by Domaine Chandon, a Napa Valley Winery and one of the most romantic wineries featured in my book Romantic Napa Valley: An Insider’s Guide for Couples. Chandon has brilliantly put together beautiful descriptors and charming concoctions that showcase their award-wining sparkling wines.


The Chandon Hibiscus Royale
Throughout history, flowers in winter have always been a luxury. This sparkling cocktail, made with edible hibiscus petals, lends a note of extravagance to any party. Hibiscus has been used to make herb teas for thousands of years and is safe to mix with foods and beverages. A drop of rose water adds an extra floral note.

Ingredients
1 Hibiscus flower (wild hibiscus flowers in syrup). Made by the Wild Hibiscus Flower Company of Australia and available at Whole Foods.½ tbsp syrup from the jar of wild hibiscus flowers1 small drop of rose waterChandon Blanc de Noirs

Instructions
Combine Hibiscus flower, syrup and rose water in a Champagne flute. Top with Chandon Blanc de Noirs and serve immediately.

Suggested glassware: Champagne flute


Chandon Sunrise
Chandon Rosé is just about the best cocktail mixer you could ask for — light, effervescent and packed with lush fruit flavors that enhance almost any ingredient you could wish to add. This cocktail recipe lends a dramatic color effect to the natural pink hue of the rosé. Vanilla Agave nectar offsets the tartness of the lime and orange juice, and adds an authentic "south of the border" flavor. The result: a refreshing summer cocktail you can drink 'til the sun comes up.

Ingredients for 1 cocktail
1 tsp vanilla Agave nectar*1 oz freshly squeezed orange juice1 thin slice of limeChandon Rosé

Instructions
Combine vanilla Agave nectar and orange juice in a Champagne flute. Add 1 slice of lime and top with Chandon Rosé. Stir and serve.

Suggested glassware: Champagne flute

Chandon Melon Breeze
It's a summer night, your place is packed and the party is really heating up. Your guests could use a nice cool breeze — and we're not talking about opening a window. Pour a fresh round of our Chandon Melon Breeze. This summer cocktail is light and sophisticated, with subtle shades of green and refreshing flavors of melon, mint and lime. Very classy, very cool.

Ingredients for 1 cocktail
1.5 oz honeydew melon purée (recipe follows)½ lime, juiced10 mint leaves plus a sprig for garnish2 tsp vanilla-infused agave nectar or vanilla simple syrupChandon Brut Classic
Ingredients for purée:1 ripe honeydew melon

Instructions for purée:
Cut the melon into cubes and purée in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Pass through a fine sieve 1 to 2 times depending on desired consistency. Chill (can be frozen for later use).

Instructions for cocktail:
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the melon purée, lime juice, mint leaves and agave nectar. Add a splash of Chandon Brut Classic. Shake vigorously. Strain infused purée into a flute, just less than half of the glass (amount will vary depending on personal taste). Top off with Chandon Brut Classic. Garnish with mint sprig before serving.

Chandon Rosé Thyme
Inspired by the flavors and colors of Provence, in the South of France, this cocktail is wonderfully refreshing on a hot summer evening. You can also serve it after dinner in place of a dessert wine. As you sip the cold, bubbly mixture of sorbet and sparkling wine, you’ll taste the sweetness of sun-ripened fruit and smell the pungency of fresh thyme. Welcome to Provence!


Ingredients for 1 cocktail
1 scoop good raspberry sorbet1 sprig fresh thyme

Chandon Rosé Instructions
Scoop sorbet into glass. Place thyme sprig into the center of it as a garnish. Fill glass with Chandon Rosé and enjoy immediately.

Suggested glassware: Champagne flute or saucer-style Champagne glass.

About: Autumn Millhouse is a local travel writer, international trekker and self-proclaimed “hopeless-romantic.” Author of the hugely popular Romantic Napa Valley: An Insider’s Guide for Couples, she is currently working on two books with similar themes dealing with travel and romance. Check out her blog here.

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