Leave it to Ottawa wine writer Natalie MacLean to advocate vino elbowing out liquor.
On a book tour stop in Toronto recently, she asked superstar chef Jamie Kennedy, who is a resident of the budding wine region of Prince Edward County, to whip up a couple of wine-based cocktails to celebrate the launch of her new memoir, Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass.
MacLean, who publishes an online newsletter called Nat Decants, collected stories for the book about vineyards from Burgundy to California. She worked as a sommelier in the haute-est of restaurants, and dove into the arcane world of wine ranking à la Robert Parker.
The first of Kennedy’s creations, made with sparkling wine, is effervescent and a lovely way to start the evening. The second, made with frozen gewurztraminer and gamay, is a little heavier, but will ease you into dinner.
“I think of these cocktails as I would a meal that doesn’t involve the whole spice rack,” MacLean says. “Elegant and delicious. That’s why I believe that both of these better complement many dishes than other cocktails. They’re not too sweet and with a wine base they’re able to pick up the flavours in a meal without overwhelming them.”
Okay, so maybe she’s biased, but we’re happy to follow her lead. And who knows, maybe this budding trend will show up in a future tome.
“What gets me going is the story of wine, the people, the possibilities, the way it engages us,” MacLean says. “There’s a reason there are no orange-juice critics.”
Sparkling Raspberry and Pear Float
• 1 oz. sorbet from pear purée and Poire Williams
• 3 oz. sparkling wine
• 1 oz. raspberry cordial made from raspberry purée, vodka and sugar syrup
• Churn sorbet mix in an ice cream freezer
• Pour one ounce of raspberry cordial into the bottom of a champagne coupe
• Place one quenelle of sorbet on the cordial
• Place coupe in front of guest and pour 3 oz. of sparkling wine in the glass
• Serve with a straw and a spoon
• 3 oz. gewürztraminer wine and 1 tsp. sugar
• 3 oz. gamay wine and 1 tsp. sugar
• Mix gewürztraminer with the sugar and freeze in a bowl in the freezer,
stirring from time to time
• Mix gamay with the sugar and freeze in a bowl in the freezer, stirring from
time to time
• Blend each bowl separately in a bar blender to make slush
• Pour simultaneously into a martini glass and swirl with a spoon
• Serve with a straw