Who Needs Champagne
Pop, fizz, clink, sip and enjoy! Is there truly anything better than the bright cascading enthusiasm of a carbonated drink rolling around on your tongue? Read on as 2021 US Bartender of the Year Adam Fournier explains how the beautiful flavors of a carbonated, well-balanced cocktail can uplift the tastebuds.
Nowhere is the joy and love of carbonation and bubbles more on display than on New Year’s Eve and the traditional champagne toast. Yet why should champagne have all the fun when there’s a whole wide world of wonderful bubbles in cocktails to celebrate with?
Harry Craddock famously said that we shake a cocktail to wake it up and nothing wakes up a cocktail more than carbonation. The easiest way to add carbonation is to simply top an otherwise finished drink with something fizzy. Time-honored classics like the Tom Collins, the French 75, and even the notorious Ramos Gin Fizz all utilize bubbles to create a more refreshing and effervescent drink. If you are going to stick to the tried and true I have two pieces of advice.
The first is to let as much of the dilution come from the carbonated ingredient as possible. For collins style drinks I’ll often utilize a whip shake, taking only a few ice cubes and whipping the non-carbonated ingredients together in the tin. This creates the aeration and emulsification that we want from a shake while keeping the dilution to a minimum. This allows more of the carbonation to shine in the finished product.
The second piece of advice is the experiment with your bubbles! A simple Tanqueray no TEN and tonic can reach new heights by swapping in a citrus tonic. Or a Tom Collins can gain new depth by supping in an orange cream soda. Have you ever thought about a French 75 with sparkling rose? The carbonation in these styles of drinks is also a vehicle for dilution but they can also add new flavors while diluting.
But let’s say you really, really love bubbles. So much so that simply topping with bubbles isn’t going to satisfy your needs. Well, you’re in luck because the modern bartending age has all sorts of ways to fully carbonate your beverage in a process called forced carbonation. There are dozens of handy guides online for building your own carbonation rig but by far the easiest way is to use a home carbonation system like the Drinkmate. It’s a system that I use behind my own bar and is designed to carbonate any kind of liquid so your danger of overflow is incredibly limited.
Now with the ability to fully carbonate anything at your fingertips, it’s time to build a celebratory batch. Another added benefit of force carbonating a drink like this is that it allows you to build a large batch of serves at once that if properly stored will hold their bubbles for the evening allowing you to both host and celebrate at your new year’s party without being trapped shaking and topping cocktails all evening.
Since you are essentially making a single drink for many people I’d recommend making it as crowd-pleasing as possible and ideally as light on sugar as you can so you don’t interfere with anyone's brand new New Year’s Resolutions. With that in mind, I’ve got a recipe here for you using a Vanilla Monk Fruit Syrup to create a New Year’s Resolution Mimosa to satisfy all of your guests.
New Year’s Resolution Mimosa
- 10 oz Tanqueray No TEN
- 1 1/2 oz Lime Juice
- 3 oz Orange Juice
- 5 oz Vanilla Monk Fruit Syrup***
- 10 oz filtered water
Carbonate per machine specifications. Pour 3 ozs into a champagne flute and toast to Auld Lang Syne.
But let’s say you don’t want to or can’t invest in a home carbonation system but would still like some celebratory bubbles and preferably involve some audience participation. Well, this is also well within your grasp using a little bit of culinary science as well as a little bit of high school science. If you’ve ever made a vinegar volcano you can create your own self-carbonating fizz. This does require a certain amount of prep work but the payoff at midnight will be well worth the well wishes.
You’re going to create two separate batches for this serve. The “base” will actually be a basic liquid, in the technical-scientific sense, and an “acid” which will be the acidic component. If you think back to the “erupting” volcanoes in science class when you combine an acid with a base you get...fizz!
- 8 oz Tanqueray No TEN
- 4 oz Vanilla Monkfruit Syrup***
- 4 oz Filtered Water
- 4g baking soda
- 8 oz Pineapple
- 7 oz Coconut Water
- 1 1/2 oz Manzanilla Sherry
- 4g Citric Acid
- 2g malic Acid
In a champagne flute pour 1.5 oz of the “Basic Batch”. In a separate glass pour 1.5 oz of the “Acid Batch”. When ready to serve pour the Acid Batch into the prepared champagne glass and watch the science happen!
***Vanilla Monk Fruit Syrup
- 250 g Granulated Monk Fruit
- 500 g Filtered Water
- Tsp French Vanilla Extract
- 1 g Xanthan Gum (optional)
Combine all ingredients, except Xanthan Gum, in a high-speed blender. Blend on medium-high for four minutes.
If using Xanthan Gum, wait until a vortex has formed while blending. Add Xanthan Gum as blend as normal.
Store in a clean glass container under refrigeration for up to three (3) weeks.