Jim, I’m hoping wordpress has an easy way for you to add an RSS feed so I can follow your blog. We seem to have a lot of common cocktail interests – infusing: ginger, cherry bounce, rhubarb, black walnuts – I’m always on the lookout for strong tastes, especially tastes that are not sweet – bitter, tart, hot, etc. George
Kristin – First of all, congratulations. An easy drink would be one of the stand-bys – Gin & tonic, Screwdrivers and the like. Not very special. I was thinking about you request over night and remembered a drink we enjoyed: The Jasmine Smiles. The recipe came from Imbibe magazine’s holiday issue in 2008.
1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz lemon juice
top with 4 – 5 ounces Champagne
Several keys here to making it work. Mix the three liquor components up before hand, equal parts of each. You could do this days before hand. The morning of the wedding designate someone to add the lemon juice. Ideally you would use freshly squeezed, strained juice, but in this setting something like Real Lemon juice could do (try it out before hand).
Put the pre-mixed drink base into old, empty wine bottles to dispense. You could even pre-fill these with the liquor mix and then have you assistant add a designated amount to lemon juice to each. I’d refrigerate this and the wine before hand, especially when serving in July. Once the party starts. your bartenders can free-pour 2 oz of the mix into a Champagne glass and top with sparkling wine, or you can pick up some 2 oz measured pourers (check eBay) to stick in the bottles and make them idiot proof.
A variety of sparkling wines would work. This will be the bulk of your cost. I liked Asti Spumante the best when I made these – it has lower alcohol, is a little sweet and can be had for under $10 a bottle. You could use Prosecco, Cava or any number of non-Champagne sparkling wines from France. Check with a reputable local wine shop for help.
For the gin – I’d recommend Gordons. A good inexpensive London dry gin. Stick with real Cointreau (as opposed to some other orange liqueur) and Campari.
This an absolutely superb website! I’m in my second year of wine-making (with some surprising success), and am now working on making some simple infusions. You’ve presented all your recipes in an entertaining and educational manner – and really captured the enjoyment. I love it!