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Champagne CHIC

india Updated: Mar 07, 2010 18:29 IST
Girija Duggal
Girija Duggal
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Every drink has its heyday, and so it was with the Cosmopolitan. But after spending almost a decade as the numero uno cocktail at bars across the world, it’s time for it to take a backseat and let another one enjoy the limelight. The Mojito, Caipirinha and Caprioshka are possible candidates for Indian bars, but the strongest contender on the block has to be champagne cocktails.

So refreshing
What’s so great about them, you ask? For one, well-made champagne cocktail is delightfully delicious and refreshing. Secondly, something like Kir Royale (Champagne, crème de cas- sis) or Mimosa (Champagne, fresh orange juice) makes for a beautiful drink at any time of the day, be it a leisurely alfresco brunch or a late evening get-together with friends.

Where snob value is concerned, these cocktails steal the show for their elegance and chicness. They appease snooty upper crust vanity as much as the ‘cool’ cravings of 20-something professionals. Like many cocktails that’ve waxed and waned in popularity over the years, there’s nothing new about these, either. As far back as the mid-1800s, champagne cocktails were a rage in high-flying social circles.

The New York Cocktail Competition of 1899 produced, what is now known, as the classic champagne cocktail — a sugar cube splashed with four dashes of bitters placed on the bottom of a flute, topped with cognac, and covered with champagne.

It’s simple
I first tasted a champagne cocktail on an extremely hot afternoon last summer at Baci. I believe I had the Julep (sparkling wine, mint leaves and splash of bourbon) and the swoon-worthy Champagne Cooler (cherry brandy, grand marnier and sparkling wine). Rick’s does some great Dom Perignon cocktails, too.

Some pooh-pooh the concept, seeing it as a waste of perfectly good champagne, or good money, or both. After all, if you are ordering an expensive glass of Dom or Veuve Clicquot, why would you turn it into a cocktail? Now that’s a tricky one, but the answer would be a simple - to try something new and equally scintillating.

Fading glory
If you do order one, you should double check with the serving staff which brand they are using - you don’t want to end up feeling cheated with relatively cheaper sparkling wine instead of champagne. Coming back to Cosmopolitan’s fading glory and the search for a new hip drink, I’ll miss the pretty pink drink, but I’m going to unabashedly, and confidently, place my bet on chic champagne cocktails being the toast of town this summer.

Recipe Corner
Serve this upma with pickles or raita
Rava Vegetable Biryani

Ingredients
Heat two tablespoons ghee in a non-stick pan. n Add 4 green cardamoms, 10-12 cloves, 3 one-inch pieces cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds. n Sauté till fragrant. n Add 11/2 cups coarse rava and sauté for four to minutes or till fragrant and lightly browned. n Add three cups of boiling water and stir.

Add salt and two tablespoons yogurt and mix well.

Cover and cook on medium heat.

Method
Heat two tablespoons ghee in another non-stick pan.

Add 3 medium finely sliced onions, 10 French beans cut in half inch pieces, 1 medium thinly sliced carrot, 1/4 small cauliflower separated into florets and salt and sauté for a minute.

Add 1 tablespoon ginger paste and 1 tablespoon garlic paste and sauté for another minute.

Add half a cup of water and cook. n Add 1 teaspoon coriander powder and 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder and stir.

Continue to cook till the vegetables are softened. n Add 1 medium green capsicum cut into small pieces and stir.

Transfer half the mixture into a deep pan.

Spread some cubes of boiled potato.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves, some fresh mint leaves. n Over that spread half the rava. Sprinkle two tablespoons yogurt, 1 tablespoon fried raisins and cashewnuts.

Spread the remaining vegetables and top it up with the remaining rava. n Sprinkle another tablespoon of fried raisins, 4 tablespoons yogurt, 5-6 fried cashewnuts and some more fresh mint leaves.

Cover and cook on medium heat foaar ten to fifteen minutes.

Alternatively you can keep the pan on a hot tava and cook on dum.

Serve hot. You can serve it with pickles or raita.

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