Not much to say in this New Year’s Eve post. But I’ll be providing links to some of my most-requested Holiday posts of months and years gone by. The Bubbly tradition has migrated round the world since a Benedictine Monk named Dom Perignon perfected the Méthode Champagnoise.
Toast Dom Perignon tonight with your first glass of Champagne. He made it all possible!
New Year’s is the best excuse of all (and there are many) for opening Champagne that I know of. And this beloved bubbly cheer-in-a-glass is so adaptable – to Cocktails, Mimosas, Spritzers… Even Punch!
My first past-post is the comprehensive one I created on Champagne Cocktails. While you’re brushing up your Bubbly skills, you’ll also want to review my post on the recently-revealed health benefits of Champagne…
Champagne handling tips…
When Opening a bottle of Champagne, grasp the cork top firmly but don’t try to turn it. Instead, hold the Cork still and turn he bottle. Sounds crazy but it works. Sometime when you’re out for a glam party or even New Years itself, watch how the professional bar tenders do it. And keep watching. These guys and gals have a lot of useful tricks up their sleeves!
Always serve Champagne in squeeky-clean, shining glasses. If your dishwasher has a special cycle for glassware, use it. If not, invoke the heavy scrub cycle. Then, set the finish to Sanitize. This will ensure that you get no unsightly spots. no residue is left behind to knock down the Champers’ bubbles and that every gets the full benefit of the pure golden light dancing in their glasses.
A couple of Champagne stories…
These are for your back pocket, if you want to seem your wittiest and most charming tonight, over the Champagne beverage of your choice. If you’re heard them before, That’s alright. Consider these a reminder of some old favourites you might have otherwise overlooked when the conversation gets thin…
General Sternwood’s Champagne Cocktail
Aged and infirm, General Sternwood insists that he ‘lives chiefly off heat, like a spider’. This is why he must meet detective Philip Marlowe in the stifling Conservatory of his vast Bel Air Mansion. He offers Marlowe hospitality in the form of a Champagne Cocktail – the General’s favourite tipple when he was younger. Now, the doctors won’t allow him even a taste of alcohol. But he can still enjoy Marlowe’s vicariously. Sternwood regales Marlowe with his personal recipe:
“Champagne, cold as Valley Forge. With at least three ponies of Brandy under it!”
No sugar Cube dipped in Orange Liquor. No Twist. The old soldier wasted no time getting down to drinking business back in his prime!
The last Champagne in Paris
Just so happens this one is from another Bogey movie – Casablanca. For those unfamiliar with one of the greatest romantic movies ever to come out of Hollywood, the action begins in Paris, on the eve of the German occupation in in 1940. Lovers Rick (Bogart) and Ilsa (, both drifters who just happened to be in France when the War broke out, are preparing to flee south, to unoccupied France – i.e. North Africa. In the barroom of their favourite bistro, a walk-up affair in the east bank, piano man Sam plays old favourite tunes as all three try their best to drink up all the manager’s best booze before the Germans arrive. A bottle of Champagne comes out.
“Champagne!” Rick exclaims.
“Boss says we gotta drink it all up!” Sam is very stern. “Says he’ll water the flower garden with it rather than let the Germans have any!”
And, so, the ‘party’ revs into high gear! I find this story is always a good one to get people to rev up, themselves, and keep the party moving!
Later, in Casablanca…
Rick lands in Casablanca. Morocco after fleeing Paris. He acquires a café which he turns into a thriving party palace by reinventing it in his own image. A German Major who arrives hunting an on-the-lam Czech resistance leader asks the Prefect of police where his quarry might be hiding.
“Don’t worry. He’ll be in Rick’s tonight,” the Prefect replies lazily.
“Ricks?” asks the Major with some consternation.
“Everyone comes to Rick’s!”
Later, the Major is hosted to drinks at Rick’s by the Prefect, who insists on a bottle of ‘good, French Champagne’. Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin, no less.
“You are very generous.” The Major is impressed.
“Ah! Don’t worry. We have a little arrangement. They bring me the bill, I tear up the bill. It is very convenient!”
If only ordering Champagne were as easy and carefree as that in real life…
Have a great New Year’s Eve!
I wish I could join you, but I think today is the day I start to advance from water to ‘B’ Fluids – Boost, Jello (maybe) and blenderized what-ever-strikes-my-fancy…
Cheers! Have one or two for me. As long as you’re not driving.
~ Maggie J.