Tuesday 22 October 2019

A lesson in fizzics


Negroni Sbagliato
Negroni Sbagliato
Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave

It's official. Party season has begun and it's time to add a bit of sparkle to your life. And the perfect party handbook has just been released. I mean, who can resist a book called Let's Get Fizzical? It has over 50 cocktails made from Prosecco, Sekt, Cava, Champagne, and other sparkling wines.

It's packed with tips, tricks, and insider know-how - the introductory chapter covers a Beginner's Guide to Bubbles, from the difference between Spumante and Frizzante Prosecco, to all of the different terms. Want to know how sweet a bottle of fizz is? The Fizz Know-How section has a good guide. So for a fizz with no sugar, you're starting with Brut Nature, then there's Extra Brut, which is extremely dry, Brut is dry, Extra Dry confusingly is off-dry, Sec is slightly sweet, Demi Sec is sweet and Doux is the sweetest style of sparkling wine.

There's a guide to each type of sparkling wine, what region it is from and what grapes are used to make it, and suggestions on how you can substitute different sparkling wines in cocktails. The Get The Party Started section gives the low-down on drink mixing skills, from cocktail shaking techniques to the perfect glass shape to use for each cocktail. So it's time to stock up on fizz for the party season, and of course peach purée for Bellinis. And if you want to get more adventurous, featured here are three cocktail recipes adapted from Let's Get Fizzical by Pippa Guy (published by DK and out now priced at €15) plus 10 bottles of fizz to enjoy this party season.

Clementine & Cranberry Bucks Fizz

€8.80, 4pc, from Marks & Spencer

When you want something light and fruity and don't have time to fix a cocktail, this low alcohol Bucks Fizz which also happens to be vegan, is packed full of bright orange flavours and ripe juicy cranberries.

Mito Frizzante

€8.95, 11pc, from O'Briens and obrienswine.ie

A screw top Frizzante Prosecco, this has plenty of soft bubbles and bright pear and peachy flavours that are balanced with a touch of citrus. Fun on its own and perfect for using in cocktails.

Cava Arestel Brut

€10.99, 12pc, from Lidl

Cava is always a good bet when you're having a big crowd, and this will keep your guests topped up with delicious bubbles full of fresh apple and lemon flavours. Great in cocktails too.

Jaume Serra Cava Rosada Brut

€15.99, 12pc, from select Eurospar, Spar, Mace and Londis

There is a lovely spiciness to the red fruit in this rosé Cava with flavours of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry mixing in with rich toasty notes. From a winery that dates back to 1647 on the hills near Barcelona.

Exquisite Collection Crémant de Jura

€11.99, 12pc, from Aldi

This bubbly from the Jura region of France is great value, always on my list. Made from 100pc Chardonnay in the traditional bottle fermented style, it is deliciously refreshing with a crisp wash of green apples and persistent bubbles.

Tesco finest* Prosecco Valdobbiadene

€17.99, 11.5pc, from Tesco

A crisp and lively aperitif for Prosecco lovers, this is made in the fully-sparkling Spumante style, so has a generous stream of bubbles with a refreshing wash of white peaches, ripe juicy pears and a touch of lemon zest.

Villa Conchi Brut Seleccion

€22.95, 11.5pc, from Donnybrook Fair, Morton's, The Vintry, Sweeney's, Martins, McHugh's, Jus de Vine, Drinkstore, Searson's, all Dublin; Ardkeen, Waterford; Sullivan's, Oughterard; Daly's, Boyle; O'Leary's, Cootehill; Swans on the Green, Naas; Cinnamon Cottage, Cork; and searsons.com

A gold star winner at the Irish Wine Show 2018-2019 awards, this top quality Cava is made by the same traditional method as Champagne, giving it crisp apple flavours with a full toasty finish.

Bortolomiol 'Filanda' Pinot Noir Rosé

€23.95, reduced from €27, 12pc, from Mitchell & Son, Dublin; and Mitchells at Avoca, Wicklow and Meath

Pinot Noir is one of the classic Champagne grapes, and this sparkling rosé from the Oltrepò Pavese area in northwest Italy is fragrant and delicate with fresh strawberry and raspberry notes. Wonderful to share with friends.

Antech Blanquette de Limoux

€23.95, 12pc, from Wines Direct at Arnotts, Westmeath and winesdirect.ie

Made using the traditional method, which was being used in Limoux long before Champagne, this blend of Mauzac, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay gives this elegant round flavours of green apple, white fruit and a hint of lemon.

Louis D'Or Brut Champagne

€32.95, 12.5pc, from Mitchell & Son, Dublin; and Mitchells at Avoca, Wicklow and Meath

When you're looking for an excuse for something more special, this artisanal style of Champagne made by one of the smaller producers, has flavours of apple and lemon curd and a biscuity note of pastry in an elegant, creamy mousse.


Sparkling Passionfruit Mojito

The classic mojito is a drink so old its history is a blur. It can be traced back to a 16th-century Cuban recipe for "El Draque", named after the famous sea captain, Sir Francis Drake. This version with Prosecco appeals to lovers of a fresh, long fizz drink. The passionfruit adds some extra zing. Present your drink in a tall, clear glass to really show off the ingredients.


6 mint leaves

60ml (2fl oz) rum

30ml (1fl oz) lime juice

15ml (½ fl oz) sugar syrup

Scooped ½ passionfruit


Crushed ice


1. Muddle the mint, rum, lime juice, sugar syrup, and passionfruit in a highball glass.

2. Top with Prosecco, then add crushed ice.

3. Garnish with a half passionfruit or mint.

If you're a fan of Margaritas and other tequila-based drinks, this one's for you. Taking inspiration from the Paloma, one of the most popular cocktails in Mexico, the Pink Tequila Fizz combines fresh pomegranate and hibiscus bitters to create a floral but zingy refresher. The bright seeds add a burst of texture, colour, and flavour.


45 ml (1½ fl oz) tequila

15ml (½ fl oz) pink grapefruit juice

15ml (½ fl oz) lime juice

15ml (½ fl oz) sugar syrup

3 drops hibiscus bitters

Crushed seeds of ½ pomegranate


Rosé Champagne to top up


1. Shake the tequila, pink grapefruit juice, lime juice, sugar syrup, hibiscus bitters, and the crushed seeds of the pomegranate over ice.

2. Strain the mixture into a highball glass filled with ice.

3. Top with rosé Champagne.

Garnish: Rim the glass with salt for an extra kick.

Negroni Sbagliato

A Negroni is a classic gin cocktail and "sbagliato" is the Italian word for mistake. The story goes that this drink was born when bartender Mirko Stocchetti accidentally poured Prosecco instead of gin into his Negroni. The popularity of this bubbly blunder will forever signify that sometimes you really do learn from your mistakes. The sweet vermouth in this drink offsets the bitterness of the Campari.


30ml (1fl oz) Campari

30ml (1fl oz) sweet vermouth


Prosecco to top up


1. Pour the Campari and sweet vermouth into an ice-filled mixing glass.

2. Stir for 10 seconds.

3. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

4. Top with Prosecco and stir again. Do this slowly to ensure the Prosecco stays bubbly.

Garnish: Freshen up this drink with an orange twist.

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