Chic Warm-Weather Cocktails
Chic Warm-Weather CocktailsMarch 18, 2010
I love champagne. I love the subtle color, I love watching the bubbles race to the top of the glass, I love how it tastes with everything from bittersweet chocolate to salty oysters to savory roasted pistachios—but most of all I love it because it's fun.
In honor of the balmy spring and summer days ahead, I'm sharing two delicious, stylish cocktails made with the fizzy stuff--straight from two of the South's best restaurants.
For spring, a classic recipe from bar manager Brooks Reitz, at Mike Lata's award winning restaurant, FIG, in Charleston.
This cocktail is the very first thing I tasted when I moved to the Holy City. I like it because it's not too sweet or girly, and it has a satisfying, faintly bitter bite to it. The amazing photograph below is by Charleston-based photographer Squire Fox.
The Champagne Cocktail at FIG
Yield: 1 Serving
-In a champagne flute, soak a sugar cube in four to five dashes of bitters. FIG favors the peach bitters from Fee Brothers, a family owned company based in Rochester, NY.
-Fill with champagne. FIG uses Drappier brut champagne but if you opt for wallet friendly Prosecco, Brooks says it works just fine!
-Garnish with a lemon twist.
For summer, a recipe from chef Chris Hastings at the Hot & Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama.
Two years ago this June, I shared my last supper in Birmingham (before moving to Charleston to work for Garden & Gun) with my friend Kim Sunee, a novelist and food writer raised in New Orleans. When I sat down at the chef's counter with her, we immediately noticed a conspicuous mason jar sitting out where the sous chefs were doing their prep work. When they told us it was full to the brim with fresh honeysuckle simple syrup, it wasn't long before we asked for a little dollop of the good stuff in our champagne. Not surprisingly, the concoction was one of the best warm weather drinks we'd ever tasted and we christened it the Summer Cup. Chris generously agreed to recreate it below. Here's to you Kim! And to Chris! And to Hot & Hot Fish Club!
The Summer Cup at Hot & Hot Fish Club
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) Honeysuckle Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
4 ½ ounces chilled champagne
1 fresh honeysuckle blossom, for garnish
Add the honeysuckle syrup to the bottom of a champagne flute and top with the champagne; stir gently. Garnish with a fresh honeysuckle blossom and serve immediately.
Honeysuckle Simple Syrup
This syrup is very versatile. It can easily be doubled or tripled and when chilled, will keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.
Yield: about 2 ¼ cups
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
3 ounces fresh, golden-yellow honeysuckle blossoms
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for 30 seconds and remove the saucepan from the heat.
Pack the honeysuckle blossoms into a 1-quart mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Pour the hot simple syrup over the fresh blossoms and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Once cool enough to touch, seal the jar and chill overnight. Both the syrup and the honeysuckle blossoms can be used in recipes.