If you overestimated the amount of sparkling wine (whether it be Crémant, Cava, Prosecco, or Champagne) that you would need for your holiday festivities, then you’ll want a plan for those leftovers. Most people don’t worry much about leftover still wines, because they’ll drink them anyway. This is, of course, what our attitude toward sparkling wine should be, but it isn’t. If you want to fly in the face of tradition (and clever marketing campaigns), I urge you to drink your sparkling wine anytime, without a reason. However, here are a few ideas to get some mileage out of your leftover bubbly sooner rather than later.
1. Mix a French 75
There is no agreement on the principal spirit in this cocktail classic, but Champagne is always an ingredient. I generally use something a bit cheaper that I enjoy drinking, and I’m just as happy. Here’s my recipe:
2 ounces gin or VS brandy
1 ounce lemon juice
1 tsp simple syrup
Shake the first three ingredients in an iced cocktail shaker and strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne and stir very gently.
Garnish with a spiral of lemon peel or a cocktail cherry, or both.
2. Whip up some Grapefruit-Sparkling Wine Sorbet
January and February are the best times of year for grapefruit, which coincides perfectly with your holiday sparkling wine leftovers. This recipe makes about 2 quarts of sorbet:
1 3/4 cups sparkling wine
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
Stir the sugar into half of the sparkling wine in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it dissolves. Once dissolved, remove from heat and stir in remaining sparkling wine and the grapefruit juice. Chill thoroughly, then freeze per the instructions of your ice cream maker.
And when all else fails…
3. Just drink it with fried chicken
This is a great pairing no matter the form of sparkling wine, but I just like the juxtaposition of Champagne with fried chicken. It’s a revelation. Most people still think I’m crazy for recommending it, but I am not the only one these days. It’s good whether the fried chicken is hot or cold, and though I’m partial to homemade fried chicken. Or there’s always The Hitching Post.