December 31, 2021

Today on CTV Morning Live, in preparation for New Year’s Eve festivities, CTVs Alex Brown and Sommelier Matt Steeves showed some NYE-perfect wines and cocktails to ensure you and your guests have some fantastic options to serve and enjoy this New Year’s Eve!

There’s no better drink than sparkling wine to celebrate significant events, and New Year’s Eve is one that commands some bubbly.

No worries if there’s no Champagne on the shelves this week (due to the international shortage/supply chain issues associated with COVID-19), there are plenty of great quality sparkling wines available that are perfectly suited for celebrating this holiday season from all around the world.

A few of those examples are Italy’s famous TrentoDOC and popular Prosecco, Spain’s Cava, and Canada’s traditional method sparkling wines from Nova Scotia, Ontario, and British Columbia. All can be found for as low as $15-$35 making them great choices for your New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Today we’re starting out with a Spanish Cava, from Freixenet. Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava is a fantastic choice for any holiday gathering. It’s perfect for greeting guests at the door with, also a super food friendly wine which makes it great for enjoying with finger foods, and is the perfect base for a classic Champagne Cocktail. Lastly, given the bottle’s festive holiday presentation, it adds a nice decorative touch to any table or bar cart too! Freixenet offers exceptional value, for under $20 this traditional method sparkling wine over delivers on quality making it a fantastic Sommelier pick to serve this NYE!

Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava – $15.49 on sale this holiday season

Although sparkling wine on its own is terrific, and perfectly suited to celebrating the occasion, a great way to jazz up that sparkling wine is by making sparkling wine cocktails!

Champagne Cocktails have been around since the mid-1800s and have been captured on screen in movies such as The Godfather and Casablanca. These Champagne Cocktails can be enjoyed before, during, or after a meal, and are always terrific on their own.

With most Sparkling Wine Cocktails the ingredients are basic and often found in your house already. They can be easily set-up on your counter or bar and easily transformed into a delicious sparkling cocktail in no time, making it easy to treat your guests to an extra special drink.

Try the classic Champagne Cocktail with Freixenet Cava. This is one of the simplest and most classic Champagne Cocktails, and a must-try this NYE.

Classic Champagne Cocktail

2012-cocktails-xl-champagne-cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1-3 drops bitters (careful not to add too much bitters).
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 5 ounces chilled Champagne (sparkling wine of your choice, preferably a dry style, such as Freixenet Cava)
  • (to up the octane, add 1 ounce of Cognac)

Directions

Drop bitters onto sugar cube; let soak in. Place sugar cube in a Champagne flute. Add Cognac (if desired), and top with Champagne/sparkling wine of your choice, then serve.

Next up, Italian Prosecco has become so popular the past number of years. Recently it’s reported to account for over 25% of all the bubbly sold globally and those stats continue to rise. Why you might ask? Well, it’s affordable and easy-going style make it a popular choice for enjoying during casual get-togethers, for after-work drinks, brunch, cocktails (Spritz, Sparkling Negroni), and more formal events too. Often produced in a not too dry style, with its sweet melon, pear, and honeysuckle flavours, it makes for an easy to enjoy sparkling wine that has become a staple at book clubs, girl’s nights out, night clubs, and when pairing with a wide range of foods, from brunch to spicy take-out cuisine. All in all, it’s super versatile and affordable and those bubbles do provide a touch of luxury, at an affordable price, making it that much more attractive to enjoy, or be seen enjoying.

We’re enjoying the Cinzano Prosecco from northern Italy. An aromatic, dry sparkling wine made from white Glera grapes specially selected from the best vineyards of the Colline Trevigiane region in Northern Italy. Fresh, fizzy and fruity, with flavours reminiscent of apple and pear. It has a sweet scent and a soft touch in the mouth and as such, it is perfect as a celebratory aperitivo, or for blending in cocktails such as a Spritz.

Cinzano Prosecco, Italy – $18.49 ($1 off) – always a crowd favourite!  

Try a delicious Cinzano Sparkling Negroni with Cinzano Prosecco, Cinzano Rosso (red) Vermouth, and Campari.

Simply add 1.5 oz of each, chilled, and garnish with orange slices or candied orange peel for a very festive sparkling Negroni!

Cinzano Sparkling Negroni.
  • 1 ½ ounces Cinzano Prosecco
  • 1 ½ ounces Cinzano Rosso Vermouth
  • 1 ½ ounces Campari
  • Orange slice, for garnish

Campari is a popular bitter Italian aperitif known for its central role in the Negroni. It has a dark red colour; herbal aroma with a touch of citrus; and a bitter-sweet, slightly medicinal flavour, which is what provides the great complexity in the drinks it forms part of, such as the iconic Negroni.

Campari available at Sask Liquor and throughout Saskatchewan

Combine Campari, Cinzano sweet red Vermouth, and Bulldog London Dry Gin to make an iconic Negroni – the cocktail of 2021! When you’re looking for that perfect pre-dinner cocktail, the Negroni is a must! It’s also the perfect drink for a novice cocktail artist given it’s practically impossible to mess it up! With three ingredients, in equal parts, Gin, Sweet Red Vermouth and Campari, stirred over ice in the same glass – it’s an easy to make and certain to please cocktail to treat your guests this New Year’s Eve!

Negroni cocktail
Ingredients:
1 part (1oz) Campari
1 part (1oz) Bulldog Gin
1 part (1oz) Sweet Red Vermouth
1 slice of orange
Recipe:
Pour all ingredients directly into a rock glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of orange
Bulldog London Dry Gin makes a great base in a classic Negroni.

This New Year’s Eve why not treat yourself (and guests if you’re having friends over) to one of the best wines available…which is also a Canadian wine. CheckMate’s Fool’s Mate 2016 is an exceptional high quality Chardonnay from the Okanagan Valley. Available winery-direct, it’s a great choice for any wine enthusiast to enjoy!

CheckMate Artisanal Winery is located along the Golden Mile Bench in B.C.s Okanagan Valley.

With each and every vintage CheckMate Artisanal Winery is solidifying their reputation as one of Canada’s leading wineries, producing world-class Chardonnay and Merlot from the south of the Okanagan Valley, in Canada’s wine capital, Oliver, BC.


Matt’s review of the 2015 vintage. Fool’s Mate Chardonnay is a benchmark expression of ultra premium Okanagan Chardonnay. Sourced from five estate vineyards across the Black Sage Bench, Golden Mile Bench, and Osoyoos East Bench, Fool’s Mate brings together the best fruit from many of the best vineyards in the far south of Canada’s pocket desert. Richly coloured, this unfiltered and unfined wine showcases the purest expression of southern Okanagan ‘bench’ fruit. Bright citrus fruit, buttered croissant, lanolin, and zesty minerality on the nose and palate. This beautifully balanced, full bodied, and linear Chardonnay highlights the quality and elegance CheckMate are achieving in their portfolio of Cru-quality Chardonnay. Enjoy 2021-2030+. Tasted April 2020, May 2021. 96 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

The holidays are a great time to have some fine spirits on-hand for that holiday cheer, for unwinding, and for marking the occasion. Starting the evening with a cocktail is a wonderful treat, whether it’s before dinner or throughout the evening, mixing a fine cocktail and enjoying it in great company is one of the things that make the holidays so special and memorable.

Canada’s Forty Creek Barrel Select Whisky is a blend of various grain whiskies aged in a mix of seasoned ex-Bourbon barrels and new American White Oak for a unique and full flavour profile Whisky. Value-priced, with full flavour, it’s a great Whisky to whip up some fine cocktails for your NYE celebrations.

Forty Creek is often credited for the renewed interest in quality Canadian whisky, and their award winning Canadian Whiskies have been turning heads and racking up awards over the past decade including Canada Whisky Distillery of the Year at the 2020 New York International Spirits Competition, where Master Blender Bill Ashburn was awarded Canada Master Whisky Blender of the Year. All that to say, these accessible and tasty Whiskies are the perfect choice for your New Year’s Eve Whisky cocktails, like the Forty & Ginger or Orange Pekoe Sour – two delicious Forty Creek Whisky cocktails.

Forty Creek Premium Barrel Select Canadian Whisky – on sale $26.49

Try the refreshing Forty & Ginger cocktail:

Forty & Ginger Ingredients:

1.5oz of Forty Creek Barrel Select Whisky

Ice

Top with Ginger Ale (or Ginger Beer for an extra spicy version)

Lime/citrus wedge for garnish

Recipe:

Fill. rocks glass with ice. Add Whisky and Ginger Ale and stir. Garnish with lime/citrus wedge.

ORANGE PEKOE SOUR

2 oz Forty Creek Copper Pot
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orange Pekoe Tea Syrup*
Egg White

Combine all ingredients in shaker tin and dry shake for 5 seconds. Add ice and shake again for 10 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with drops of Angostura bitters.

*Orange Pekoe Tea syrup:
Brew one cup of Orange Pekoe Tea. Add onecup of white sugar and stir until dissolved.
Let cool and keep it in the fridge for a week.

Here’s wishing you a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve filled with lots of delicious wines, spirits, cocktails, friends and family! Wishing you all the best for 2022!

Cheers!

Matt

Matt Steeves –  Sommelier, Wine Writer, and Director with the National Capital Sommelier Guild (www.sommelierguild.com)  Follow Matt on Twitter @QuercusVino and check out  www.mattswinepicks.com for his top wine and spirits picks.