Palette Magazine

Champagne for any occasion

By Sole Sastre

It all started with brunch, because really, every true love story should begin as you eat your way through one meal and onto another. I began with a mimosa, like you do, and as a newly minted adult I got a rush from the realization that I was drinking before noon. Then, just as quickly, I went off script. Hold the juice. I just wanted the bubbly.

In an incandescent instant I realized I had never thought of Champagne as a viable option. Short of the traditional wedding or New Year’s Eve toast or the crazy expensive party in a rap video, I had placed it high on a pedestal. It was to be enjoyed once or twice a year.

It’s not an overstatement to say that day was magical and life changing. Neither a refined nor hearty drinker, I was usually at a loss when asked what I would like to have. It made for rather awkward moments at social gatherings. Hard liquor never did sit well. Beer is usually too filling. And wine — sigh — is always hit or miss. I feel like I need to get another degree just to understand what I’m doing. But it’s effervescent incarnation, well, that I always did fancy. It’s easy, fun. It’s even pretty. Most importantly, it provides just the right kind of buzz — giddy without the unseemly stumbling. My drink of choice had found me.



 

Eat + Drink

Light and palatable, Champagne and all its cohorts — sparkling wine, Cava, Prosecco and sekt among so many others — are not just welcoming to newcomers, they are incredibly versatile when it comes to food pairings. And it makes so much sense! Most bottles are made from a blend of different wines. The result, according to Epicurious.com is a drink that is greater than the sum of its parts.

What’s more, these wines are particularly acidy, making short work of cutting through rich, fatty dishes. Whether that means foie gras pops or a monster burger, a glass of bubbly goes down nicely.

While many people think of beer as the go-to alcoholic beverage for a casual backyard barbecue, Champagne could easily share that space, as it has many of the same characteristics. Now, I just buy a few splits — the small bottles that are a quarter the size of a regular 750 mL bottle — and voilà.



 

Ice, Ice Baby

In South Florida, where the climate can go from enviable to sweltering in a hot second, it’s even more of a mystery that sparkling wines are not the official drink of summer. Of course, no woman is an island, and it seems that just as I was having my “a-ha” moment, so were countless others.

Based on its observation of drinking habits in the South of France, the venerable house of Moët & Chandon even created a version of Champagne that is ideal to have on the rocks. Moët’s Ice Imperial was launched just a few year’s back to a resoundingly enthusiastic response. So positive, in fact, that the following year Ice Imperial Rosé hit the shelves. The new bubbly married what are arguably two of the most summer-friendly wines around.

As the crowds make their way to the beaches, poolside cabanas, backyard loungers and boats, Champagne offers a refreshingly casual way to level up the adult beverage options.

And vendors have noticed. Dedicated bars, like Pearl Champagne Lounge in Miami Beach, have cropped up from South Beach to Los Cabos, Mexico. And most bars now include at least one Champagne cocktail — think: Mad Men-inspired French 75.

So this summer, no matter what you’re doing, consider a toast to options and the everyday moments that are well worth celebrating.

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