Winetasting.com recently co-sponsored a "Home for the Holidays" event in Chicago, led by Shawn Rabideau from Celebrations.com. Shawn has been in the wedding/event production and design business for close to a decade and was featured this summer on the Bravo reality series Bethenny Getting Married?
Shawn demonstrated how to make his delicious Cranberry Mimosa Twist for the "mommy bloggers" in attendance.
"This is a recipe I created by accident a few Christmases ago," Shawn says. "I was tired of just champagne and orange juice, so I added some cranberry juice and thought, why not add vodka, too? And 'poof', this delicious drink was born! Hope you enjoy this twist on the old classic as much as I do!"
Garnish with 1/2 of an orange slice placed on the rim of the glass, or a bamboo cocktail skewer with real cranberries.
In place of Champagne, try Moscato d'Asti for a sweeter, low-alcohol version of this recipe. The Muscat grape shows aromas of mandarin orange that play nicely on the orange juice mixer. The combination creates a sparkling cocktail with less bubbles ... a light effervescence that Italians refer to as "frizzante". It's also typically a less expensive alternative to Champagne.
Plus, here's a non-alcoholic version for the kids!
Dim sum, meaning "to touch your heart" in Chinese, is the Cantonese dining experience of diverse small-bite appetizers cooked using a variety of methods (steaming, boiling, braising, stir-frying or baking) with an assortment of ingredients. It is usually enjoyed at a restaurant on a weekend morning, but you can have a dazzling finger food celebration right at home complete with sparkling wine.
With Chinese New Year right around the corner, kick off the year of the Rabbit on February 3 in style. The celebration runs for 15 days – now that's our kind of party!
Champagne and other sparkling wines are the perfect choice with dim sum, because they are such versatile food wines. With dim sum, you usually enjoy a wide array of foods served on a lazy Susan all at once, not course by course as with a Western meal. You don't progress through various wines as you progress through various courses. Therefore, when selecting a wine, choose one that pairs with the main dish.
Asian chefs strive for balance and contrasts of textures, and of hot, sour, sweet and salty tastes. Wines with bold flavors, such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, fare less well with Asian dishes than wines with more balance and nuanced properties. These include wines with moderate alcohol, crisp acidity, softer tannins and perhaps just a touch of sweetness. Avoid heavily oaked wines as they kill the freshness in the foods that makes dim sum so special.
If you don't have Champagne (or the budget for it), Alsatian whites also work well with the diverse marinades and sauces of Asian dishes, especially the spicy hot ones. The flavors in difficult-to-complement Asian dishes work magically with the powerful fruity elements of Riesling and the amazing floral qualities of Pinot Blanc.
The smooth texture of the crabmeat filling works beautifully with the complex texture of Champagne, which is known to match well with unusually textured foods. In addition to crab, caviar, oysters, shellfish, and salmon are natural matches with Champagne.
Combine crabmeat, steak sauce, egg yolk, garlic powder and cream cheese until it forms a paste-like consistency. Place rounded spoonful of mixture in center of each wrapper. Bring 4 corners together and pinch to seal. Deep-fry at 375 degrees until golden brown. Serve with sweet-and-sour sauce. Leftovers keep for only a day.