It's a sparkling wine kind of day. I'd assume everyone has already taken care of the part where you buy the wine, whether it's Grand Cru Champagne, a good value bottle of Cava, or one of the great sparklers made in Canada, but what about food to enhance the wine? And what if you've drunk enough wine and would rather sip on a sparkling cocktail to ring in the New Year?
Luckily, bubble tends to pair nicely with foods that are fried and salty, two traits you're likely to find in any spread of snacks. Potato chips? Absolutely. Popcorn? Especially if you add to the complementing savoury flavours by dusting the bowl with yeast flakes (or try something different like shichimi togarashi or Old Bay seasoning).
If you're looking for a slightly more elevated snack than popcorn and chips, sushi pairs incredibly with sparkling wine, particularly with salmon or hints of spice. Acidity and bubbly work great to cleanse your palate while eating fresh, clean foods.
Buying fresh oysters and shucking them to eat alongside a bottle of bubble is another dream pairing (particularly West Coast oysters like Kumamoto, with sweeter, subtler flavours). Sticking with the seafood theme, The Chicago-Tribune recently posted some great NYE recipes that include Smoked Salmon with Crispy Shallots and Dilled Cream, as well as Tuna Tartare.
Ready for the cocktails? I hope you saved some of that sparkling.
Likely the second most famous sparkling cocktail (after the Champagne Cocktail) is the French 75. It's the ultimate refreshing, citrusy drink, and it's so simple to make, you probably already have the ingredients at home. If you're familiar with the French 75 and want to try a similar drink with Caribbean flair, check out the Airmail.
For those who like something a little punchier and appreciate the flavour of Bourbon, try the Seelbach Cocktail, a classic named after the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville.
The Negroni Sbagliato is rumoured to have been a mistake when someone, somewhere, once substituted sparkling wine for gin when making a Negroni. It's great for those who love the bitterness of Campari.
Happy New Year's Eve!
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.