Dress up a glass of bubbly by creating a sparkling cocktail — it’s a festive way to toast any celebration. Make a simple syrup infused with fresh herbs this weekend, and you’ll have an aromatic, beautiful ingredient to add to your holiday beverages for the next couple of weeks. The syrups also make wonderful gifts; write down a few mixing ideas on the tag and bring one to your next host or hostess.
For a super-simple drink, add a tablespoon of the herb-infused simple syrup below to a glass of sparkling wine. Alternatively, try something even more elegant and flavorful — our classic champagne cocktail. Keep reading for recipes!
Herb-Infused Simple Syrup
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) water
Herb of choice (see below)
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water, bring to a boil over high heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the herb, and let stand for 1-2 hours. Pour the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a jar, pressing down firmly on the herbs. Cap tightly and refrigerate. The syrup will keep for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml.).
3 fresh basil sprigs, 3 inches (7.5 cm.) long
4-5 bay leaves
4-5 fresh geranium leaves
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lavender buds
1/4 cup (1/4 oz./7 g.) fresh lovage leaves
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, 3 inches (7.5 cm.) long
3 fresh thyme sprigs, 3 inches (7.5 cm.) long
Classic Champagne Cocktail
1 rough-cut Demerara or other brown sugar cube
1/4 tsp. angostura bitters
1 orange zest strip
Place the sugar cube in the bottom of a Champagne flute or wineglass. Pour the bitters on top. Add enough Cognac to cover the sugar cube, then top with the sparkling wine, leaving enough room for the mixture to froth. Garnish with the orange zest. Serves 1.