Tory and I decided it would be fun to make a traditional Christmas cocktail every year and post it on the blog. And since our approach to blogging is to post the things we actually make and eat – and not make holiday meals weeks early just so we can post them – this means we post our Christmas cocktails about a year after we make them.
Last year was a pretty special year for our family – our cousin Taryn got engaged shortly before Christmas and since we always have Christmas dinner with the Cunningham’s we decided to make our annual Christmas cockatil serve two purposes and toast Taryn & Jake’s engagement at the same time! And of course an occasion like this calls for champagne.
We turned to our trusted friend Pinterest and found a lot of people posting varieties of what was called a Blackberry Ombre Sparkler – I’ll let you google it, there were so many versions that I am not sure which is the original and we didn’t follow any one exact recipe, more the combination of ingredients. It’s basically blackberry simple syrup, champagne or in our case prosecco, garnished with rosemary and blackberries. And of course the sugar rim just adds to the festivity.
Before we get into the recipe – here’s our happy couple! Congrats Taryn & Jake – Mr. & Mrs. Erickson as of July 2017!
Here’s what you need:
We chose a dry prosecco, which according to the liquor store sign we picked it up stated that ‘dry’ really means semi-sweet. Funny naming convention, I know. Pick your favorite style but remember that we will be adding a simple syrup and sweetening it up a bit. You may want to ask for a variety that’s good for mixing too- you don’t need the really expensive stuff if you’re going to mix it but you still want decent prosecco.
The blackberry simple syrup is already made in this picture, so I’ll start by showing you how to make it.
I made this the same way I would make any simple syrup with equal parts sugar and water, plus the addition of an equal amount of blackberries. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Mash the blackberries.
Line a colander or mesh strainer with cheesecloth and pour the simple syrup mixture into it. Allow to drain, pressing down on the pulp to extract as much liquid as you can.
Allow to cool.
I bottled the simple syrup up when it was cool to make it easier to pour.
Set up your cocktail assembly line. You’ll need a shallow plate with a little bit of water in it. Another shallow plate with some of your colored sugar. Then spears of rosemary about as tall as your glasses are deep, blackberries and prosecco.
We got the bride-to-be involved in our little drink assembly line. I rimmed all of our glasses by dipping the top of the glass into the water and then twisting it around on the sugar plate.
Taryn is putting about a tablespoon or two of simple syrup into the bottom of each glass. And Tory is pouring the prosecco in after. We want a pretty layered drink when we are done and the blackberry simple syrup is heavier than the prosecco. Tory is using a technique where she holds a spoon upside down in the glass against the edge and pours the prosecco over the spoon. This slows the pour and allows it to go down the edge and does not disturb the simple syrup too much.
Garnish the drinks with a couple of blackberries and a sprig of rosemary.
Cheers to Taryn & Jake! And our first ever use of a selfie-stick (gotta love Christmas white elephant gifts).
After you clink glasses, use the rosemary to stir up the drink and mix the blackberry with the prosecco. This is a really key step. The rosemary scent will be released by your fingers stirring with it and really adds to the drink. Believe me, we discovered this after drinking a few steps and it made a big difference!
- 2 c sugar
- 2 c water
- 2 c blackberries
- ¼ c colored sugar, we used light yellow – almost gold
- 2 T-1/4 c water, depending on the size of your dish
- 3 bottles prosecco
- 14 sprigs of rosemary
- 28 blackberries
- Make the simple syrup. Combine sugar, 2 c water and 2 c blackberries in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes and mash the berries. Pour berry mixture into a colander or mesh strainer mixed with cheese cloth. Press down on the berries to extract as much juice as possible. Allow to cool.
- Pour additional water onto a small, shallow plate. It should be less than a quarter inch deep. Pour the sugar into another small, shallow plate.
- Rim glasses by dipping the rim first in the water and then in the sugar. Turn the rim of the glass back and forth a couple times to coat with sugar.
- Pour in a tablespoon or two of simple syrup (this is really to taste, if you like sweet add more). Using a spoon turned upside down and held against the edge of the glass, gently pour the prosecco over the simple spoon until the glass is almost full.
- Garnish with rosemary and 2 blackberries.
- Swirl around the rosemary to mix prior to drinking.