Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wine Wednesday: Bubbles and Bitters

While summer inspires an endless list of citrus and berry infused cocktails, my mood shifts towards more savory pairings once that hint of Fall starts to sneak into the air around late August. No secret here that bitters add a depth of flavor to any cocktail, but I particularly love how they ground the effervescence of a bubbly wine. Adding savory elements also works to play down the sweetness. Not yet ready to abandon the spoils of summer gardens for the year, I have been experimenting with pairing fresh herbs and late summer produce with the distinctive flavor of various bitters.

There are so many reasonably priced wines coming out of Lake Chelan currently it is ridiculous! I recently snagged Bear Mountain Bubbly, a Method Champenoise sparkling wine from Karma Vineyards, after tasting it and immediately swooning over it at the grocery store. It is a perfect base for bubbly cocktails.

Do not be afraid to add bitters (to any cocktail) with a heavy hand. As a general rule, I recommend 4-5 dashes. To help release the full flavor of the herbs, gives them a "spanking." Place in the palm of your hand, and clap with your other hand a few times.

Which flavors do you enjoy most in sparkling wine? Here are a few of mine:

Angostura aromatic bitters + lemon thyme. Classic flavors that compliment the more subtle flavors of the wine. 

Cardamom bitters + fig. Aromatic, indulgent and bold. If you find the flavor of cardamom to be quite strong like I do, error on the side of less. You can always add more. 

Grapefruit bitters + spicy oregano. Citrus, spice and everything nice. This variation is hands down my favorite.


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