1.3.14 Spiced Grapefruit and Champagne Cocktails
Happy New Year from Wisconsin from Scratch! December was a crazy month. Crazy fun, of course. Holiday traveling, Christmas parties, brewery tours, quite possibly the world’s largest ice cream sundae, a ‘Tuxedos and Doritos’ themed New Years party, and far too much Killepitsch and Grain Belt Premium. Yes, I wouldn’t blame you if you were a little jealous. It was a wonderful holiday and we can only hope yours was equally enjoyable.
So now it’s 2014, and with all of the holiday craziness dying down, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. And of course the best way to celebrate making it through the holidays in one piece is with a drink. And because this is a celebratory drink, it should probably include some champagne (and let’s be honest, you probably still have some left over from New Years Eve anyway). And finally, because it’s a new year and we’re trying so hard to be healthier people, we’ll include some grapefruit, because adding fruit to anything automatically makes it healthier, right? At least that’s what we’ll keep telling ourselves. So pour yourself a glass, and celebrate the start of another great year!
Some notes on making this drink: Simple syrup, as it’s name implies, is incredibly simple to make, but you can make it even simpler by making it in a mason jar. Just combine the water and sugar in a mason jar, screw on the lid, and shake vigorously to mix. Remove the lid, and microwave the jar for 2 minutes. Replace the lid, and shake again. The sugar should all be dissolved at this point. If not, continue to microwave for 1 minute intervals, shaking after each interval. Make sure to remove the metal lid from the jar before microwaving. Once sugar is dissolved, put the cap on your jar and pop it in the fridge to cool. It’s already in its own storage container and you are left with no cleanup!
Also, while Angostura bitters are great in this drink, if you can get your hands on Bittercube Jamaican #1 bitters, most definitely use them! This particular type of bitter is extremely spicy with hints of ginger that really compliment the grapefruit in the cocktail. Cheers!
Spiced Grapefruit and Champagne Cocktails
makes about 6 cocktails
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 2-3 star anise pods
- 8 oz (1 cup) freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (about 2 grapefruits worth)
- 1 750 ml bottle champagne
- Bittercube Jamaican #1 bitters or Angostura bitters
- 6 thin strips of grapefruit peel
1. Make simple syrup: Combine the water and sugar and heat, stirring constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat, add the star anise pods, and cool to room temperature. Remove star anise and reserve 4 oz (½ cup) of the syrup for this recipe. The remaining syrup (you’ll have about ⅓ cup left over) can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.
2. Combine 4 oz of the spiced simple syrup with the grapefruit juice. Mix together well.
3. Chill glasses (I used some champagne saucer glasses we had around, but any ~6 oz glass will work) by filling them with ice and cold water and letting them chill for a few minutes.
4. Dump out ice and water, and add 2 oz of the grapefruit/simple syrup mixture to each glass. Top each glass with champagne (approx 4-5 oz), add a couple of dashes of bitters, and garnish with a twist of grapefruit peel.