Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Evening Massacre

For Cupid's sake, there are only two other higher stakes/low-indicator holidays: New Year's Eve and your birthday.

Valentine's Day has pretty well turned into one of those manufactured holidays, complete with shortening-laden pink frosting upon a styrofoamy cupcake base. And that this one falls on a Saturday night just ratchets the stakes up even higher.

So, before I work myself up into a total lather, let's take the edge off. Instead of using that bucket of ice to bounce off the wall, or the bottle of champagne to shake threateningly, let's pop the cork, pour a little, and taste the stars.

My picks
: I am a complete fan of Moet's White Star ($30 at Trader Joe's) and Domaine Carneros's Taittinger ($20, same shop). I do think Veuve Clicquot is overrated at its price ($40+, everywhere). But for low key sipping or mixing, Cristalino Brut and Segura Viudas are terrific. And if your date doesn't do bubbly, you can find splits at Cost Plus.

My favorite champagne cocktail:

Mix a half teaspoon brandy, one teaspoon Grand Marnier and half a teaspoon of sugar in the base of a champagne flute. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Splash a bit of champagne, and stir until well-blended. Top with more champagne. Enjoy. After a few of these it really doesn't matter that the holiday didn't meet your extravagant expectations. Again.


  1. Bring on the bubbles!

    I am a fan of Veuve for special occasions and often find it on sale for around $30. I didn't know about the $20 Tattinger at TJ's. I'll have to give that a try.

    And the champagne bottle stopper you once gave me was the best present ever for those rare times when there's actually some bubbly left in the bottle.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Ektchually, I love most brands/bottles of tiny bottles. Susan, I'm glad the stopper works for you! Ours kept coming undone. My mother recommended a simple cork stopper, and as long as you plug it up forcefully enough, it keeps the wine sparkling.

  4. I've never been a fan of champagne, but I think I'll try that cocktail!