The French have champagne, the Spaniards have cava, and the Californians have sparkling wine. But best of all to me…the Italians have prosecco. I was living in Italy when I came of drinking age so it’s no wonder that I grew a special affinity for the crisp beverage when it comes to bubbles. It’s an Italian favorite for the aperitivo tradition, in which friends meet up for a pre-dinner drink, it’s brilliant with prosciutto and pancetta, and of course, it’s always a stellar choice for celebratory occasions. So when the kind folks at Ruffino, that storied winery nestled in the Tuscan hills, reached out to me to try their prosecco, it was a resounding ‘yes’! When it hits your nose, you’re fluttered with notes of apple and pear (ideal for winter parings) and the extra dry style (my favorite!) is crisp, delicate, and in perfect balance. After enjoying a glass (or two!) I knew it was the prosecco I wanted to use when developing my annual specialty cocktails for the holiday season. So, without further ado, here’s what we’ll be toasting with in my home this year. Cin Cin!
Cranberry Prosecco Cocktail
1-ounce cranberry juice (sweetened)
Sprig of mint
In a chilled tumbler (or champagne flute) add cranberry juice and top off the glass with prosecco. Roll 3-4 cranberries in sugar and add to cocktail with mint garnish. Notes: a squeeze of lime would go great with this if you’re craving citrus; serves 1.
2-ounce pomegranate juice (sweetened)
1-tbs pomegranate seeds
2-ounces of light rum
In a chilled champagne flute add pomegranate juice, pomegranate seeds, and rum. Top off the glass with prosecco. Notes: for an extra special sweet treat add one scoop of raspberry ice cream to create a float; serves 1.
2 cups water
1 cup agave nectar
1 cup pear juice
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1.) Stir together water, agave nectar, pear juice, and five rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. 2.) Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes then strain rosemary from mixture. 3.) Place mixture into a jar with lid and place in the refrigerator over night. 4.) Place 2 tablespoons of the pear-rosemary mixture into a chilled champagne flute and top off glass with prosecco. 5.) Garnish each glass with a sprig of rosemary, a slice of pear, and a cinnamon stick.