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Try A Champagne Cocktail For A Sparkling New Year

For many people, the New Year begins with popping a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine. It's the go-to drink for the celebratory moments in our lives.

Yet champagne is far more versatile than many people think. Beyond just pouring it into a glass, you can mix it with any number of spirits to create a range of champagne cocktails.

"One that starts off a little simpler is a French 75," respected mixologist Greg Seider tells Weekend Edition guest host Jacki Lyden. "[It's] gin, lemon juice, a slight bit of agave, topped with prosecco or champagne."

Seider co-owns The Summit Bar, which New York Magazine once named the city's best cocktail bar. He says one of his favorite champagne cocktails is something he calls a GP Spritz.

"I take hibiscus flowers and infuse that in agave. We add Aperol, a little bit of lemon juice and a hibiscus tincture, which is basically a concentrated bitter. Shake that up, and serve that on the rocks and top that with 3 ounces of prosecco."

If fresh hibiscus flowers are hard to come by, Seider says you can use hibiscus tea bags. "If you didn't have agave, you could do half sugar-half water, and maybe do eight tea bags to a quart [of the sugar-water solution], then you have a nice syrup you can use as a go-to."

GP Spritz
1 ounce Aperol
3/4 ounce hibiscus agave (recipe below)
1/4 ounce lemon juice
3 ounces prosecco

Put all ingredients except prosecco in a shaker tin. Shake and strain onto ice in a Collins glass. Top with prosecco. Garnish with lemon twist.

Hibiscus Agave

In a pot, mix 16 ounces of agave syrup with 16 ounces of water. Add 2 ounces of hibiscus tea or 10 tea bags. Bring to boil. Remove from heat for 20 minutes. Strain out tea. Makes 1 quart.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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