If you’re anything like me, you don’t need a special occasion to drink sparkling wine. It’s sparkling wine – that’s the special occasion. The one thing I do like about sparkling wine is that it’s also really useful for making cocktails, especially as we wind down the Summer season with Labor Day having passed (though if your weather is anything like mine, who can tell the difference).
Recently, a few recipes were shared with me (along with a couple of bottles of Cava), and over Labor Day weekend I tried them out, modifying one and making the other as it was listed. I’ve included all three recipes at the end, but first we’ll start out with what I made.
All three of this call for Freixenet Cava. I’ve had Freixenet before and have to say, if you’re looking for Cava on a budget that doesn’t taste like you bought it on a budget, these are great ($13 each). But we’re not here to talk about the wine, we’re here to talk about the cocktails.
First up is my version of the Cava Royal.
- Squeeze the juice from 2 limes and 1 lemon. Add more to taste.
- 1 1/2 Cups Gin. I used Mother Earth Gin.
- 1/2 Superfine Sugar. If you already have this great, but don’t buy it. Just run some granulated sugar through your food processor.
- 1 bottle of Freixenet Cava Rose’
Mix all of this up in a pitcher and either chill it ahead of time or just pour it over ice (which is what I did). If you prefer it sweeter you can obviously add more sugar or put sugar around the rim. This was a departure from the recipe that was sent to me in that I used the Rose’ as opposed to the Brut Cava. That being said, this was nice and refreshing and my wife, parents, and I all enjoyed sipping on while having lunch on the Sunday before Labor Day.
Next up is the Cava Julep
- Combine 4 mint leaves, 1 tsp of superfine sugar, and 6-8 blueberries with a touch of water and muddle well
- Add 2 oz of bourbon and stir the mixture. I used Bulleit Bourbon for mine.
- Strain into a Collins Glass. I recommend using a fine-mesh strainer to ensure you remove all particulates.
- Add 4 oz Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava
- Add ice, garnish with 2 mint leaves.
If you don’t like mint you probably won’t like this cocktail. I’ll admit to being hit or miss on mint (can’t stand a mojito), but this was actually really nice. We enjoyed these inside since it was raining, but I can imagine this being really refreshing and cooling on a hot day thanks to the blend of the mint with the bourbon and dry Cava.
As I said above, there were three recipes, and I changed up the Cava Royal – the Rose’ was supposed to go into a Sangria, but it called for Cantaloupe and I don’t particularly like any melon, let alone that one. Below are the recipes as they were originally sent to me, including the Sangria that I didn’t make.
- 2 1/4 Cups freshly squeezed lime juice (or 1 1/2 ounces per shaker), plus more for rims
- 1 1/2 cups Gin (or 2 ounces per shaker)
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar (or 2 teaspoons per shaker)
- 1 bottle brut cava (or 4 ounces per shaker)
- Find sanding sugar, for rims
Mix lime juice, gin, and superfine sugar in a 2-quart pitcher. Chill until ready to serve, several hours.
To serve, dip rims of glasses in lime juice, then sanding sugar, to coat with 1-inch wide band. Measure 4 ounces cava into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add 3 1/2 ounces lime juice-and-gin mixture, and shake. Strain into 2 glasses, and add 2 to 3 drops of grenadine each. Repeat. Adapted from here.
- 3 cups Rose’
- 1.5 Cups freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
- 3 oz Triple Sec
- 3 oz Brandy
- 1 small lemon, cut into thin wedges
- 1 orange, cut into thin wedges
- 4 pounds Cantaloupe (or melon of your choice), seeded and cut into wedges
Combine all ingredients, let soak overnight. Serve chilled or over ice.
- 4 oz Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava
- 2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
- 1 tsp Superfine Sugar
- 6 mint leaves
Combine 4 mint leaves with the sugar, blueberries, and a few drops of water, and muddle well. Add the bourbon, and stir well. Strain into a Collins glass; add ice cubes and Cava. Garnish with 2 mint leaves and serve.
Editor’s Note: I received these wines as free samples for review.