Monday 4th Glamuary - Lady Arabella Champagne Cocktail
Today has been the first day back to work and normality for most after the Christmas and New Year holiday period. To celebrate the fact that we have all survived the first day back to the grind and to boost our mood a little, as I imagine were probably feeling a little flat especially as we have just been placed into another National Lockdown, I’ve decided this evening calls for a cocktail to keep us chipper and ensure that January is most definitely ‘Glamuary’ and continues in an appropriately stylish manner befitting of our new approach to the first month of the year.
Cocktails have never been my thing, perhaps because, rightly or wrongly, I generally think of them as being very sweet, highly calorific drinks, which have never appealed to me as one who favours savoury and bitter flavours to sweet. Simply serve me a very dry, cold glass of Champagne any day of the week and I’ll be as happy as a clam at high water.
During the last foreign holiday my husband and I took before the global COVID-19 pandemic stopped all our travel and our fun, we were enjoying a break at our beloved
Hotel Splendido in Portofino. My favourite place in all the world, for its faded glamour, old school luxury, warm welcome and relaxed vibe. Not to mention the view, Bellissima! One evening at pre-dinner drinks on the terrace overlooking the sea below and the twinkling port in the distance, my husband encouraged me to be exciting for once in my life and try a different drink, to the usual staple of a glass of Champagne. I not only amazed him, but also myself that I decided to go off-piste and try something new, and to my surprise I really enjoyed my new drink, so much so, that I had three in quick succession and felt rather jelly legged when I rose to my feet to move through to dinner. This new drink whilst refreshing on a balmy summer evening was certainly rocket fuel, or perhaps it was simply the volume consumed? I couldn’t honesty say!
The Cocktail was called ‘The Lady Champagne’ I’m not really that daring. It appealed to me because the flavours were violet, lime and raspberry. I don’t know exactly what the ingredients were, as no great barman in a world-famous establishment will reveal his secret recipe. This is what my tastebuds helped me to conclude: The main ingredient, Veuve Clicquot Champagne (this was certain as it said so on the menu card), Violet Liquor, fresh lime juice, fresh raspberries, ice.
The cocktail was served as a long drink in a large wine glass, which was filled with ice cubes, the aroma of parma violet was just like the sweets we enjoyed as children, a very nostalgic smell. Whilst you could really taste the violet, which was lovely, the fresh lime juice helped to keep the drink a little bitter rather than sweet. The fresh raspberries merely a sprinkling of decoration in the glass, topped up with lashings of Champagne.
This summer whilst in lockdown here in Cheshire, with the sun shining so brightly for us and with no hope of a holiday on the horizon, I decided to re-invent the cocktail and serve it in the garden and it went down a treat. The only problem is that they are very easy to drink and very moreish. So perhaps at least for tonight maybe limit it to one glass!
As this is my take on ‘The Lady Champagne’ cocktail, I have decided to rename it ‘The Lady Arabella’ Champagne Cocktail after the only princess in our house! (Arabella is my little black pug pictured in the photo below)
One of these cocktails in the Splendido would set you back a pretty penny; with my home recipe you’ll get rather more for your money.
The Lady Arabella Champagne Cocktail Recipe
- Monin Violet Liquor or a Violet Liquor of your choice. If you don’t have any Violet Liquor you can use a mix of plain unflavoured vodka and Monin Violet flavoured Syrup. I have used lime flavoured Absolute Vodka and that works very well too.
- 1 bottle of Champagne (your preference) I use Champagne Laurent Perrier La Cuvee Brut
- Fresh Limes
- Ice Cubes
- Frozen or Fresh Raspberries for Decoration
- Citrus Juicer
- Mixing glass
- Bar spoon
- Cocktail Jigger
- Tea strainer or small sieve
- Champagne flutes or wine glasses
- Take one large lime, slice in half and extract the juice of both halves with your citrus juicer. Using your tea strainer or small sieve, pour the lime juice through the strainer into the mixing glass. This will stop all the bits from going into the glass leaving you with a perfect, bit-free zesty juice.
- Using your cocktail jigger measure a 4cl shot of Monin Violet Liquor and add this to the zesty lime juice. At this point if you don’t have any violet liquor this is where you would substitute with a 4cl measure of vodka and one of violet syrup.
- Give the ingredients in the mixer glass a good stir
- Next take your chosen glass. A wine glass like the Splendido, or a Champagne flute. When in Portofino I’m happy to go with the wine glass because the cocktail is best served the Italian way. At home however I favour a champagne flute as I like my drink to stay ice cold and the for the bubbles not to go flat, so a flute is perfect. Meaning you can refresh often!
- Fill your glass with ice cubes then fill a third of the glass with your violet mixture, top up with two thirds champagne, give the drink a stir with your cocktails spoon so that the violet and lime mixture does not sit in the bottom of the glass and top with a raspberry (I prefer to use frozen as it does not cause the champagne to loose it’s fizz like a fresh berry does). If your using as wine glass, then add a few raspberries to suit.
- Now taste, if at this point you feel you would like it to be a little more bitter or a little sweeter and more floral, simply add the juice of an extra lime or an extra shot of violet syrup to the cocktail base mix next time you prepare it in your mixer glass. It’s very easy to adapt the recipe to suit different pallets. I had much practice over the summer with four adults in the house who like things served differently dependant on their mood.
Slainte, Cheers, Chin Chin, Saluti, Sauld, Prost, Bottoms up!
Love RB xxxx