Saturday, June 30, 2007

Lemon Sparkler -- Happy 4th of July

I've already dug my sparklers out for the Fourth of July - both the kind you light with a match and the ones that have corks. It should be hot, but what better way to cool off than with a crisp, lemony cocktail made with a splash of sparkling wine.

This Lemon Sparkler recipe comes from the folks at Barefoot Bubbly, a line of affordable, sip-by-the-pool wines that's part of the E & J Gallo empire. The lemon flavor comes from limoncello, a bittersweet lemon liqueur that's a traditional digestif all over Italy, but especially in the south.

Lemon Sparkler
1 1/2 oz limoncello

1 1/2 oz fresh sour mix

3 oz Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvée

Lemon twist

Fresh mint leaves

Directions: Combine the limoncello and sour mix in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into chilled martini glass. Top off with Barefoot Bubbly. Garnish with a long lemon twist & mint sprig.

If you don't get your fill during the day, The Winesellar & Brasserie, a well-stocked wine shop and restaurant in the Miramar area, is hosting a tasting called Champagne and Friends from 5 to 7 p.m. on the 4th. The exact wines are a secret, but judging from their ad, you can count on tasting something made by Gruet, a fine French style sparkling wine house based in New Mexico.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bubble Up!

I always love an excuse to talk about the Rosa Regale Brachetto d'Acqui, a deep red , tart-sweet sparkling wine from Piedmont that tastes of roses, raspberries and cranberries. At Arterra in the San Diego Marriott Del Mar they're serving a potent ruby red Sangria made with Brachetto. Created by Tom Mastricola, the new general manager and resident mixlogist, it's sublime.

The hip new patio that surrounds the pool - complete with cabanas, mod furniture and a yummy menu of upscale comfort food -- makes a great place to down tall cold glass of sangria this summer.

In case you'd like to try it at home, here's the recipe:


2 raspberries
2 blueberries
2 strawberries
1 slice orange
1 slice lemon
1 ounce Landy Cognac
1/2 ounce creme de cassis
1/2 ounce simple syrup
splash fresh orange juice
2 to 3 ounces Rosa Regale Brachetto d'Acqui

Add the berries to a 16-ounce bar mixing glass and muddle (smash) the berries to a juicy pulp. Add the orange and lemon slices. Add the Cognac, creme de cassis, simple syrup and orange juice and stir well to combine. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Top off with Brachetto.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My Bubbly Book

It feels good to be blogging again.

First, I must apologize for having been absent for so long, but I've been up to something huge.

For the past few years, I've been working on a lifestyle book that would celebrate all the wonderful sparkling wines and champagnes I love from around the world.

Things started clicking in early spring when I started working with literary agents Jennifer de la Fuente and Frank Scatoni of Venture Literary. They were professional, encouraging and well-connected.

In early April, I signed a deal with Clarkson Potter to write a book on sparkling wine cocktail recipes and delicious appetizers that sing with any sparkling wine or champagne. Clarkson is considered one of the premier publishers of gorgeous and glossy lifestyle and cooking books; their authors include Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray and Giada di Laurentis. The book will be filled with beautiful color pictures as well as lots of practical information on how bubbly is made, how to pair it with everyday foods and great wines to taste. It's due out in August 2008, but I'll keep you updated.

After a whirlwind of shooting pictures and writing that ended on June 1, photographer Paul Body, some friends and I celebrated by cracking open a magnum of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label.
I look forward to many more celebrations!!!