Southerners love a good party, and this time of year calls for Champagne. We asked Eric Krista, head bartender at Baltimore’s Magdalena in the Ivy Hotel, to craft a few celebration-worthy cocktails. Proper Champagne is produced in the French region of the same name, a protection outlined in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles (though the US never signed the document, so some older producers here still use the term). Bubbly ranges from dry to sweet, but involves some idiosyncratic terminology: brut nature, extra brut, and brut are on the drier end; extra dry, dry, demi-sec, and doux are sweeter. Krista pairs bubbles with seasonal flavors like orange, nutmeg, and rosemary. “The wonderful thing about Champagne is its effervescence,” he says. That makes it a dynamite food pairing and a low-maintenance base for cocktails. Plus, bubbles are exciting. Table wine is comfortable, “an ever-present friend,” Krista says, “Champagne, however, is likemeeting a celebrity. It’s cool and sexy and celebratory.” ’Tis the season. Let’s pop some bottles.
- 1 ounce Calvados
- 1 ounce St. Germain
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 2 ounces Champagne
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Thinly sliced apple for garnish
- Star anise for garnish
Pour Calvados, St. Germain, and bitters in mixing tin with ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Top with Champagne and nutmeg and garnish with apple and star anise.
The Ivy Snowbird
- 1½ ounces vodka
- 1 ounce clementine juice
- 1½ ounces rosemary simple syrup
- 2 dashes habanero shrub (such as Bitterman’s Hellfire)
- 1½ ounces Champagne
- Rosemary sprig for garnish
- Clementine peel for garnish
Pour vodka, clementine juice, syrup, and shrub in mixing tin and shake with ice. Strain into a martini glass and top with Champagne. Garnish with rosemary and clementine peel.