However we may feel about seemingly made-up “food holidays,” I have to admit, declaring Dec. 31 National Champagne Day does seem rather appropriate, though I wish they had named it National Sparkling Wine Day (remember— while all champagne is sparkling wine, not all sparkling wine is champagne).
Technically, champagne is produced exclusively in the Champagne wine-producing region (appellation d’origine contrôlée or AOC) of France using a very specific set of practices that relate to the types of grapes used, how and where they are grown and the methods of pressing, fermenting and bottling.
Sparkling wines from other regions of France and from other countries often are governed by similar types of rules and go by many names. For example, Cava is made mostly in Catalonia, in northeastern Spain; Prosecco comes from the Veneto region of northeastern Italy; and Asti comes from Piedmont, Italy. For our purposes today, all you really need to know is that however you refer to it, sparkling wine is the official adult beverage of New Year’s Eve.
Try one — or all — of these recipes to keep the sparkling wine flowing on New Year’s Eve.
This Champagne Punch gets its striking color from the combination of elderflower liqueur and cassis. The bubbly of the champagne carries the sweet aroma of the liqueurs toward the nose (along with the bubbles). The Old One Two, made with cognac and berries, is another punch option that will leave guests feeling free to refill themselves and you with the freedom not to worry about the champagne supply all night.
For a more intimate gathering, a Persimmon Champagne Cocktail, with a splash of orange liqueur and hints of nutmeg and rosemary, may be a better choice.
This is probably an opportune moment to point out that champagne is not only for drinking. Warm Oysters in Their Shells With Leeks and Champagne Butter are a festive way to enjoy sparkling wine through the cocktail hour — or all night long without risk of inebriation.
Used in the dressing, sparkling wine gives a welcome hit of acid to the rich and creamy lobster and avocado in this Lobster-Stuffed Avocado With Champagne Vinaigrette. If your celebration carries through to the morning, Bottomless Mimosas (which need not be only for breakfast) are a sweet, sparkly way to start the New Year.
Try one — or more — of these recipes to say goodbye to 2021, and at midnight, have a glass straight-up to ring in 2022.