Did you happen to catch the end of that Vikings playoff game on Sunday? We were at the local sports bar, sporting our purple jerseys, surrounded by even more purple and gold. During the last minute of the game, almost everyone was on their feet, a jumble of nerves. Some had given up, others were saying, "There's still time. There's still time." Then suddenly, the epic catch was made and the entire place erupted. People cheered, exchanging high-fives and hugs, astonished at the play. The moment was so full of unexpected joy that it brought tears to my eyes. It was that powerful. It was a play deserving of Champagne — the loud pop of the cork and the spray of the bubbles that punctuate some of life's best, most unforgettable moments.
Days have gone by and we are still reliving that touchdown. For celebratory occasions such as these, I love a classic French 75 cocktail: gin, lemon and simple syrup topped with Champagne. I had just gotten a bottle of Juneauper Gin from Amalga Distillery in Juneau. It's a robust gin, both in alcohol content and in flavor. It's made with local botanicals like spruce tips, devil's club, rhubarb and herbs. I knew it would stand up to a bolder citrus, so I paired it with blood orange rather than lemon for this seasonal take on French 75. This is also a good recipe to keep on hand for Valentine's Day next month.
Blood Orange French 75
1 1/2 ounces gin
1 1/2 tablespoons blood orange juice
1 tablespoon simple syrup
2 ounces chilled Champagne
Blood orange slices, optional
In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, blood orange juice, and simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne. Serve promptly with a thin slice of blood orange (optional).
Maya Wilson lives in Kenai and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your inquiry may appear in a future column.