We did it, gang! We put another year on the books and as far as I’m concerned, if you are reading this, you probably deserve a high-five. Maybe you made a career change, maybe you had a kid, maybe you flew around the world, maybe you loved, maybe you lost, maybe you ate too much pasta and took a 4-hour nap on a near-stranger’s couch. All these are important things.
Important things should be celebrated properly. Come December 31, you could do champagne or prosecco alone, but a bubbly cocktail combines the best of both worlds. It’s light, effervescent, and festive, but at the same time, it offers an opportunity to experiment and introduce new flavors. Besides, if your (ahem, my) lazy bum is staying in and ordering Thai, this is an easy route to adding a special touch to your evening. A special touch that doesn’t involve illegal firecrackers = always a solid choice.
I should mention that these are sweeter than the usual drinks I am slinging around here, but I promise they’re not cloying. More lime juice will get them more tart if that’s your preference, but you already knew that. Or, you could go in completely the opposite direction and add a scoop of lemon sorbet to turn these into a delightfully boozy dessert. I support this, and again: You already knew that.
Sweet or not-so-sweet, the biggest appeal here is the fragrance. Lemongrass and vanilla are at the top of my “I could sniff this forever” list, and I know that at least a few people — you know, the ones who have noses — share this sentiment. Although lemongrass is usually a Southeast Asian cuisine ingredient, it works really well with vanilla (which isn’t).
As for the bubbly, go for something fairly dry. I was graciously provided a bottle of Mionetto Prosecco Brut to sample, and although it’s delicious and refreshing on its own, it’s a splendid choice for cocktails, too. The bitters are a nice touch, but if you don’t happen to have lime bitters, the drink is perfectly lovely without them, too.
In short, the answer is the same as it always is: Experiment and figure out what you like best. Don’t listen to me — I can’t even pour prosecco without spilling. Oops.
All my best for your 2015, you charming rabble-rousers.
- 1/2 ounce lemongrass syrup, recipe below
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- A barspoon Licor 43
- One dash lime bitters
- Prosecco (I used Mionetto Prosecco Brut)
- Lime peel twist or lemongrass, for garnish
- 3 stalks lemongrass, white and light green part only, sliced
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 cup water
- To make the lemongrass syrup, combine ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for an hour or so. Strain and chill completely. This will yield about a cup of syrup, enough for about 16 of these cocktails.
- To make the cocktail, combine lemongrass syrup, lime juice, Licor 43, and bitters in a chilled champagne glass and give it a nice little stir to combine. (If you're making a bunch of these, of course, it would be a great idea to shake the ingredients in a shaker with ice.) Top with prosecco and garnish as desired.