Summer Cocktails: Sparkling (not Spritzing) Up Your Life

WE ARE NOT SPRITZING HERE! We are toasting with bubbly. Don’t worry; I am not seizing your Aperol from you. It is not cancelled. But it is not in these drinks, nor is there club soda here. These are serious cocktails for hardcore toasting, and either getting up the nerve to make or suffering through a speech. There are a lot of reasons people celebrate in June: graduations, Father’s Day (June 16), weddings, and the Summer Solstice (June 21st), for starters. There is also National Take Your Cat to Work Day (June 17) and National Kiss Day (June 22) both of which I intend to celebrate by kissing a kitten. And don’t forget International Asteroid Day (June 30). Big rocks deserve days too. Plus y’all know there are oodles of birthdays in the summer because nine months prior sometimes wine doesn’t get one warm enough. Before the cocktails, let me tell you what bubbles to use. You want bubbles that mix but you also want bubbles that you can just pour for those too impatient to wait on your mixology skills. LaMarca Prosecco is fine but level up to their Luminore Conegliano-Valdobiadenne Prosecco Superiore if you can. More verve. I always like Cava from Spain for value bubbler that is going to be mixed. Those black bottles of Freixenet will do just fine (and speak to my goth soul). I also like J Winery’s sparkling wine options, both white and rosé, which cost a little more but also taste that way. If you simply have to have French bubbles, look to a bottle with budget prices and Champagne tastes known as “ Cremant ”. That means they were made the same way Champagne is. Cremant de Jura and Cremant de Loire are some of my favorites. And now, four cocktails to plug those into! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ FATHER’S DAY This is a riff on the classic Old Pal cocktail. Because Dad is your pal and Bob remains your uncle. The Old Pal is classically equal parts whiskey, dry vermouth and Campari. I played with the proportions and added bubbles. Here’s to family being your friends. Old Dad (caution: maybe don’t tell him the name of this) Add to a rocks glass: • 1 oz. rye or bourbon (I prefer bourbon for this one) • 1 oz. dry vermouth • 1 oz. Campari • Bubbles (I prefer a less brut bubbler for this one—a Prosecco is a fine choice). Build the drink and hand to your papa. If he asks, it’s named Father My Friend. SUMMER SOLSTICE Here’s to the first day of summer! I wanted to conjure dawn in the dewy grass. I went pink and floral and while I’d still drink it at night, imagine twirling in at lawn at sunrise while drinking it. A Midsummer Night’s Drink • ½ Lillet rosé • A dashes rose water • 2 dash grapefruit bitters • If you are a flower head, one dash rose water Fill w bubbles. Rosé bubbles. WEDDINGS Guess what? Dry champagne is possibly the worst pairing for cake ever. And the last thing you want at a wedding is an incompatible couple. Here’s a drink that complements the almond-y flavor of wedding cake with a dash of floral in homage to tossing the bouquet. Sweet harmony. For the Love of Cake: for once a wedding drink that marries well • ¾ oz. amaretto • Dash of orange flower water • Bubbles. Go ahead and get a good bottle here. Weddings are not time to phone it in. Add the amaretto and orange flower water to a flute, top with bubbles, toast! INTERNATIONAL ASTEROID DAY I am not sure if International Asteroid Day is meant to be a celebration of the celestial bodies, or a way to celebrate that they stay in space, as opposed to crashing through Earth’s atmosphere at which we might want to say our goodbyes. Asteroids are very big rocks, and while I could tell you to put some coke in your cocktail I’m going to wholeheartedly not exactly endorse that. I am going to put some rock candy in your glass. The classic Champagne Cocktail calls for a sugar cube dosed with bitters and garnished with lemon peel. This drink is similar, but the rock sugar is meant to emulate the rocks that are remaining hopefully somewhere out there like the Oort Cloud, circling and never crashing. Classic No-Crash Cocktail • One big ol’ hunk of rock sugar • Five dashes of your choice of bitters—the bigger the rock the more bitter you might desire • Bubbles! Your favorite ones be they sweet Moscato or brut Champagne . You’re celebrating life so you do you. • Twist of lemon Build your drink one ingredient at a time. Enjoy! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Want to read more from Ellen? Check out her recent articles: Old World vs. New World Round Six: Syrah! May Day! May Day! Emergency Drinks in Dire Straits Pink Wine, Pink Wine Everywhere Seder Sips Old World vs. New World Round Five: Zinfandel! But Is It Vegan? Classic Pairings for the Veggie Soul: Pairing Five You can also listen to Ellen's podcast with Shaughn Buchholz, The Wine Situation here .

La Marca

Luminore Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore

Hey! A bubbly-er bubbler. Anything that might be flabbish is not. It is bright and orange flower-citrus fun. Less mineral (early palate) yet still smart (mid-finish-afterIswallow) finish. Way tops for a Prosecco makes sense coming from Conegliano Valdoviedene — 5 years ago

Daniel P., Severn and 14 others liked this
Severn Goodwin

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@Ellen Clifford Nice post, wasn't aware of National Take Your Cat To Work Day, until now.
Ellen Clifford

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@Severn Goodwin thanks for reading it! Yeah I didn’t know about it before either but seems worth celebrating 😻

J Vineyards & Winery

Brut Rosé Blend

A fruit forward rose that brought a little unexpected complexity on the on the finish to keep it interesting. Bright fruit finished with a very pleasant earth note. — 5 years ago

Shay, Mark and 1 other liked this

J Vineyards & Winery

Cuvée 20 Brut Sparkling White Blend

Yum! Pop, pour...repeat! — 6 years ago

Shawn, Shay and 4 others liked this

Dom Pérignon

Brut Champagne Blend 2009

The 2009 Dom Pérignon is a simply fabulous effort from a challenging vintage in Champagne. The musty and earthy aromatics grab you straight away followed by wild mushrooms, brioche, poached pear and toasted hazelnut aromatics that impress. Incredibly balanced and with remarkable finesse, this showcases flavors of lemon zest, baked apple and marzipan with biscuit. Today this is just a touch youthful, needing some additinonal time to develop. Nonetheless this is a simply gorgeous Champagne with marvelous cellaring potential. Try to hold off on this stunner for at least two years. Disgorged in June 2016. Drink 2020-2040- 95 — 5 years ago

Dr., Shay and 29 others liked this


Rosé Aperitif

This stuff is the stuff. Alone it is more viscous than wine and less than a syrup and it has flowers and lime and hot fuck I’ve bought many bottles over the last year or so. Bright sweet tangy and luxurious but also ready to go dance it is the friend who is always magically in the same mood as you. — 5 years ago

Neil, Meg and 19 others liked this


Moscato d'Asti 2017

Happiness in a bottle — 6 years ago

Severn liked this



Nice nutty liqueur. Smooth with a clean finish — 8 years ago

Severn and MD liked this


Gran Seleccion Cordon Negro Brut Cava Macabeo-Xarel-lo-Parellada

Last tried this about 3 years ago. Clear straw yellow with vibrant bubbles. Fresh lively fruit aromas with a bright and crisp edge. On the palate ripe stone fruit flavors with a touch of citrus and a bit of yeast. The finish is about medium, had lively acidity and good balance. Consistent quality. A real bargain for $10.  — 5 years ago

Alex and Severn liked this


Grande Cuvée Brut Champagne Blend

Sometimes you visit friends at restaurants and sometime STUPID people leave behind some Krug (morons) and you friend gives you a sip of their discarded magic. So...everything. I forever love Krug. Dunno if I love it or Dom Ruinart better I guess it depends on the style I desire. — 5 years ago

Serge, Matt and 17 others liked this
Neil Valenzuela

Neil Valenzuela

No Krug? No, thanks. 🤣 cheers! 🥂
Ellen Clifford

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@Neil Valenzuela i mean, there are a couple other bubblies I’ll accept but Krug is a champion. Cheers!


Aperitivo Liqueur

NV - Classic. On the rocks. To give a normal day a silver lining. Nice apero. — 6 years ago

Dick, Peter and 8 others liked this