Ah, May. Just the word suggests sweet breezes, peonies in the garden and bare feet. Birds proliferate. Boats hit the waters. Kids spring from schoolhouse doors, liberated at last.
What better way to celebrate spring than toasting it with a glass of something bubbly? Beer is good, but champagne is better. If nothing else, drink some to follow this sage advice: Don’t die with a bottle of champagne in your fridge.
Here are a few ways to enjoy your preferred effervescent wine, be it champagne, Prosecco or a sparkling Wisconsin wine.
This classic starts with champagne and adds the ubiquitous Wisconsin spirit, brandy. Garnish with a Door County cherry or two, and kick off your shoes.
1 sugar cube
dash of Angostura bitters
1 oz brandy
orange twist and cherry, for garnish
Place the sugar cube at the bottom of a champagne flute. Add a dash of bitters. Pour brandy on top, and gently fill the glass with chilled champagne. Garnish and drink.
The Wickman House in Ellison Bay has this cocktail down pat. Make them at home and you can have more than one.
1 oz gin
½ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup (dissolve a cup of sugar in a cup of water in saucepan, cool to room temperature)
2 oz champagne
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add gin, lemon juice and simple syrup. Strain into a chilled champagne glass, top with champagne. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
Use the fresh lavender found at Door County farms to put an elegant spin on a glass of bubbly.
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp dried lavender, or several fresh sprigs
dry champagne or sparkling wine
Make the lavender syrup by bringing ½-cup of sugar and ½-cup of water to boil in a saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add dried lavender and remove from heat. Let cool completely and strain. (Syrup will keep in refrigerator for up to one month.)
Drizzle a generous teaspoon of syrup into each flute, top with chilled champagne and garnish with a lavender sprig.
For those who prefer a non-alcoholic refresher, this drink offers a kick and a pucker.
12 oz spicy ginger beer
4 oz seltzer water
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
Combine ingredients in a small pitcher to make two servings. Serve over ice with a slice of lime.