Make that bubbly pop
Louise Liebenberg brings some fizzle to the weekend with on-trend sparkling wine cocktails and popsicles you can enjoy at home
I’M a firm believer that one should always have a bottle of bubbly ready in the fridge – just in case, you know? Special occasions do sometimes have a habit of popping up (pardon the pun) completely unexpectedly! In the absence of a celebratory occasion, I find there are times when a perfectly chilled bottle of bubbly is the one thing that will bring a bit of much-needed, spontaneous sparkle to an otherwise disappointing or stressful day.
Every new day is a gift to be celebrated, after all!
I do consider enjoying a glass of bubbly to be one of life’s sophisticated little pleasures – but there is no reason why the experience should break the bank either.
Champagne, tragically, is out of reach for most of us in current economic times and even our gorgeous South African MCC’s can crush the budget by the time you hit the second bottle.
Enter J C Le Roux’s recently released drier Vibrazio range at R76 a pop and sipping a glass of sparkling wine or two suddenly becomes an all-year-round prospect.
The Vibrazio Sauvignon Blanc, Demi-Sec and Demi-Sec Rosé offer a lively display of fruit and elegance, good balance and a playful taste profile.
And, breaking the mould on how sparkling wines should be enjoyed, the range is best served in a wide-brim, stemmed wine glass, perhaps with a twirl of orange or grapefruit to finish it off.
The citrus freshness is said to enhance the wine’s fruit flavours and add zest to the cascade of bubbles.
Nicely balanced and dry, the Vibrazio Sauvignon Blanc is refreshing with litchi, pineapple and granadilla flavours, and is my favourite of the lot.
The Vibrazio Demi-Sec is off-dry with lively fruity notes of pear and litchi, and a slightly sweet finish.
With its pretty salmon blush colour and inviting taste profile the Vibrazio Demi-Sec Rosé delivers a vibrant display of berries, plums and tropical fruit verging on sweet, but never sickly sweet.
The range is very versatile in that it also lends itself to sparkling wine cocktails – now there’s a clever way to make the fizz stretch even further!
Sparking wine cocktails are very much on trend at the moment and make a classy and fun drink – especially while we are still having such lovely, sunny weather.
Though arguably all the rage right now, sparkling wine cocktails are, however, nothing new – think classics like Aperol Spritz (still my absolute favourite summer drink) or Kir Royale.
Here are two delicious recipes for you to try this weekend. Feel free to ring the changes too by playing around with citrus and other additions, as I did.
The pink grapefruit and hibiscus syrups used in these cocktails are available at most good liquor outlets – Monin is a popular brand.
In the unlikely event you’re left with some cocktail mix you can also pour it into a popsicle mould to later enjoy an equally fun drinks-as-pud experience with your friends – or you can make your own mixes.
RECIPE: SALTY BASIL COCKTAIL
Serves 1 Salty, sour, bitter and sweet combine in this refreshing taste adventure created by combining grapefruit syrup, Gordon’s gin, lemon juice, fresh basil, a pinch of salt and demi-sec rosé. INGREDIENTS 25ml (1 tot) grapefruit syrup 25ml (1 tot) Gordon’s Gin 1 lemon wedge 3 basil leaves 1 grind of pink salt Vibrazio demi-sec rosé METHOD Shake the grapefruit syrup, gin, lemon, basil and salt together in a cocktail shaker filled with ice (large blocks are best so the mix doesn’t become too watery). Strain and pour into a glass.
Top up with Vibrazio rosé, garnish with citrus (I used a wedge of grapefruit) and enjoy.
RECIPE: BELLA ROSE COCKTAIL Serves 1
This laid-back cocktail is made with chamomile tea, hibiscus syrup, red vermouth, lemon juice and J C Le Roux Vibrazio Sauvignon Blanc or Demi-sec. INGREDIENTS 35ml chamomile tea, chilled (I made the infusion quite strong) 25ml (1 tot) hibiscus syrup 25ml (1 tot) Martini Rosso vermouth 15ml lemon juice Vibrazio White (sauvignon blanc or demi-sec) METHOD Thoroughly shake the chamomile tea, hibiscus syrup, vermouth and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Double-strain and pour into a glass.
Top up with Vibrazio sauvignon blanc or demi-sec, garnish with edible flowers and enjoy.
SPARKLING WINE POPSICLES
Turn your cocktails into ice pops simply by pouring them into a popsicle mould instead of into a glass and freezing until required.