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Last week, I put together a complex sentence in French, on the spot, at the wine shop: “Désolé pour mon français, mais je voudrais un vin avec des bulles, mais moins cher que du champagne.” The proprietor quite kindly pointed me to the section of wall devoted to bubblies, assuring me that, “Non, mademoiselle, votre français est très bon!” I was so proud of my achievement that I bought the first wine he suggested.

What I ended up with was two bottles of Crémant de Bourgogne, a refreshing blanc de blanc without the yeastiness, tight bubbles, or price tag of Champagne. I tszujed it with a wee mixer — a light strawberry syrup infused with basil — which made it pink and a little sweet and a little herbal. Perfect for a party.

Strawberry-Basil Bubbly
Adapted from Shutterbean

Warning: when mixing your drink, pour just a little bit of bubbly into your glass at a time. The syrup will make your wine effervesce like crazy, and if you’re not careful you’ll have a foam-over on your hands.

1 pint of strawberries, hulled and sliced into quarters
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
a handful of basil leaves (It’s fine if they’re a bit wilted like mine, they’re just going to get muddled anyway.)
1 bottle of Crémant, though Prosecco or Cava might be nice too.

Combine all of the ingredients except wine in a medium-sized bowl, stir, and let them macerate for about half an hour.

Muddle the mixture a bit with a spatula or a potato masher until the basil looks sad and the strawberries look vaguely jammy and have given up their juices.

Strain into a jar and refrigerate until cool.

To serve, pour 1-2 tablespoons of the strawberry mixture into a champagne flute and top with bubbly. Garnish with a basil leaf.

Music to drink by: Hang Me Up To Dry [Cold War Kids // Robbers & Cowards]

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