Archives for posts with tag: champagne

The Grog Dog is not a sentimental type; even after lapping up one too many cocktails, I won’t be howling over texts from an ex. But everyone has their emotional weakness, and cheeky word-humor is one of mine: Post a sly pun on my Facebook feed and I’ll follow you anywhere.

It was over beers with a friend – of one of the many brands specializing in name-puns – that I was reminded of “the language of flowers”, or floriography: a means of sending silent messages to friends, enemies, and lovers using blossoms that had specific, well known meanings. While flowers had been a staple of romantic communication for centuries, their cryptographic use became wildly popular in England and the U.S. during the repressed Victorian era.

Red_Rose_Wiki commons

Strict social mores precluded young sweethearts, for example, from writing or speaking their ardor. To transmit their feelings or indicate their preferences, they would give, hold, or arrange specific blooms in accordance with floral dictionaries, so their intended recipient would know their meaning. Even the scent of certain love flowers, discreetly daubed on a handkerchief, could speak volumes to a suitor.

After imbibing a few brews chosen for their clever names rather than their flavors (I can’t resist a good pun or a bad one), I wondered whether cocktails might also be used to subtly communicate certain sentiments – specifically, cocktail names. Like stringing together an entire story with emojis, cocktail messaging could become a new bar craze among literary types… Cocktail EmojiOr introverts, who may not wish to be approached by a boozed-up barfly, but could carry on a (very) quiet conversation with that other single who has a sophisticated drink and a Kindle, and understand each other perfectly.

Let me be clear: I am not talking about the cocktails that proliferated during what the Corpse Reviver of the American cocktail, David Wondrich, called the Dark Ages: the Sex on the Beach, the Slippery Nipple, the Slow Comfortable Screw, etc. (I refuse to provide links; if you must, look them up yourself.) As he noted in an Esquire column, “those drinks resist craft”. They also resist taste, subtlety, and class.

To make the cocktail-name-conversation thought experiment a little simpler, and classier, I went back to Victorian times – or at least pre-Prohibition – to imagine a more romantic scene.

1st round: Jack Rose, Margarita

2nd round: ManhattanBrooklyn

3rd round: Tuxedo, Champagne Cocktail

blueblazer.it4th round: Hot ToddyMaiden’s Blush

5th round: Hanky Panky, Morning Glory

6th round: Old FashionedBijou

7th round: Scofflaw, White Lady

8th round: South SideTom Collins

9th round: Blue BlazerLast Word

Final round: Turf ClubMerry Widow

While the game is obviously much more fun when your cocktail companion knows you’re playing, you can amuse yourself for hours (or until you hit your limit) using your drink order to comment on life and the world in the moment. mutt-ropolitan-opera-calendar_merry-widow_operatoonityA friend of mine shakes up a Merry Widow when she’s particularly annoyed with her husband… Which may not change his habits, but fortifies her for the next round.




Image credits: Red Rose – Wikicommons; Martini Emoji –; Blue Blazer –; The Merry Widow –


Basic champagne flute

If you have procrastinated (like the GrogDog has with her New Year’s Eve post) and are looking for last-minute party cocktails for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, try a champagne cocktail bar! All you need are sparkling wine (which includes prosecco, champagne, or any other wine with bubbles) and a few basic additions. Chill the wine, put the juices and liqueurs on a long table, buffet-style, and let your guests mix their own festive concoctions!

The traditional Champagne Cocktail is made from Angostura bitters, a sugar cube, and sparkling wine. Put the sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, soak it with a few drops of bitters, and top with the wine. (If you’re feeling particularly fancy, add a lemon twist as garnish.)

The Mimosa is a basic sparkling cocktail made with orange juice (a Tablespoon or two, to your taste) in a flute, topped with sparkling wine.

The Kir Royale is similar to a Mimosa, but uses Chambord raspberry liqueur in place of the orange juice. (A traditional Kir uses creme de cassis instead of Chambord, in case you’re curious.)

Working off these three basic cocktails, you can offer guests choice of flavors from ingredients you may already have, or can easily obtain.

This is a good time to reach to the back of the bar and dust off any fruity or herbal/botanical liqueurs you have on hand. Curacao, Chambord, and other fruit-based liqueurs will add flavor and in some cases bright color to your sparkling cocktail. Herbal liqueurs like St-Germain (elderflower), Domaine de Canton (ginger), and Chartreuse (made from a secret herb recipe) can be an acquired taste, but are delicious ingredients if you like those flavors.

You can also offer a selection of fruit juices, like pomegranate, cranberry, pineapple, and orange or blood orange so your guests can enjoy variations on the Mimosa. Don’t forget to pick up sugar cubes and Angostura bitters for those who want a traditional Champagne Cocktail!

The great thing about the champagne cocktail bar is that you can set one up without spending a lot of time or money.

It’s not worth splurging on an expensive sparkling wine when it’s going to be mixed with liqueurs or juices, which will affect the taste and texture (amount of bubbles). Prosecco – Italian sparkling wine – is generally inexpensive and slightly sweet, so it’s a great choice for mixing. In my experience, however, Prosecco has “softer” bubbles than French or American sparklers, so if you’re looking for something with a lot of fizz, go for the California sparkling wines.

For more on how the bubbles get into the wine, and which methods are used for which type of sparkling wine, check this Wiki entry.


Happy New Year from GrogDogBlog!