Red Carpet Sizzler with Cointreau
Red Carpet Sparkler: Let the Hollywood Oscar PaRtY begin with a Red Carpet Sparkler! Spiked with Cointreau and Gin, swirled into a delightful Strawberry Ginger Syrup, this festive cocktail is topped with California Champagne because after all this is Hollywood!
The inspiration for this cocktail comes from my love for the sweet and bitter orange peel flavor of Contreau mixed with fresh ginger and the blush of strawberries flaunting their red carpet color charm. Of course, you need an effervescent cocktail at the Oscar’s so California Champagne tops the Red Carpet Sparkler in an award-winning-worthy way.
RED CARPET SPARKLER
For 1 cocktail:
1 1/2 ounces Cointreau
1 1/2 ounce Strawberry Ginger Simple Syrup (recipe below)
1 ounce fresh Meyer lemon juice, or lemon or lime juice
3 ounces California Champagne or bubble or choice
Garnish: skewer 1 strawberry dipped in Cointreau or cut a strawberry rose
Rim of glass: Dip 1/4-inch in water and dip in raw sugar or edible gold
STEP 1: Combine Cointreau, Strawberry Ginger Syrup, and Meyer lemon juice in a shaker and add ice.
STEP 2: Shake and strain into a edible gold or raw sugar rimmed toasting glass. Top with California Champagne.
STEP 3: Garnish with a rose strawberry soaked in Cointreau and basil leaf.For Strawberry
Ginger Simple Syrup: Combine 2 pounds quartered strawberries, 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 3-inches peeled ginger cut into 5 pieces, and 1 cup water in a large saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally, until all of the sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool and infuse for about 1 hour. Strain syrup from strawberries without mashing. Refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use. Strawberry Ginger Syrup can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE RED CARPET SPARKLER started in the beginning of February in my California kitchen. I knew what visual and taste notes I wanted in a Hollywood Cointreau Cocktail: blushing red, complimentary flavors with orange, and a zap of heat along with a splash of effervescence. Muddled strawberries were used in my first four attempts but I didn’t get the depth of strawberry flavor. I knew a simple housemade strawberry syrup would be the answer to add depth of flavor plus make it easy to serve to 10 party guests.
*I experimented with Meyer Lemons, Cara Cara Oranges and Limes; all of which add a refreshing note of acid. In California, I also tried smoked chili bitters and loved the addition but forgot to pack the bitters on my Colorado trip where I would be serving the cocktail at an Oscar party! Fortunately, I did pack in my suitcase Meyer Lemons from my tree even though I thought it was between Cara Cara and Lime.
**In Colorado, I did try Hellfire Habanero Shrub and a Habanero Cocktail Spice which were both tasty but I didn’t really want someone making my recipe to have to search for a habanero or chili extract. And that is how I decided on fresh gin in the strawberry syrup; love it but the way! I tested lime juice and Meyer lemon juice and in the end Meyer Lemon won!
***I tried both Prosecco and California Champagne but I love the thought and the extra bubbly in California Champagne.
****After hopping off the plane in Colorado we stopped at a liquor store but they did not sell Cointreau!!! I bought another orange liqueur just in case. We continued on our journey to Ally's home and stopped at a second liqueur store and found Cointreau. Once home, I did what I love to do ....test both liqueurs to see which brand would win my palate. YaY ~ Cointreau truly had the most pure delicious flavor.
*****Once I developed the perfect strawberry syrup, it did take 2 attempts, then what splash of alcohol would my party guests want. I tested on my hosts to find the host loved the depth of a bourbon splash and the hostess loved the lightness of gin. I tried whiskey and vodka too but thumbs down. At the party tonight I am tempted to let people spike their own with gin or bourbon.
You know, every Oscar worthy movie takes time to make, and it was same in the developing of this cocktail recipe! I thought you would enjoy all the variations I tried in perfecting my red carpet worthy cocktail, all of which were thoroughly enjoyed! And I wish I wasn’t a perfectionist when it comes to mixology but that sip that dances on your tongue with balance is a perfect way to greet guests to mark the beginning of an Oscar Party celebration. Cheers!