New Year's Eve Week's Best Bubbles

Enjoy New Year's Eve Week with these special, sparkling cocktails
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  • Enjoy New Year's Eve Week with these special, sparkling cocktails
Two's a Crowd sparkling cocktail at the Sorrento's Dunbar Room

It’s the most effervescent time of the yearfor drinks, that is (though I think we could use an infusion of better Champagne and sparkling wine cocktails year-round, honestly). But don’t get caught drinking just regular Champagne. Not that it’s bad, or that I’d turn down a glass, but the season I think deserves more celebratory mixes, while still maintaining the sparkle.

With that, here are four stellar choices for bubbly cocktails to have at local bars and restaurants, and one to make at home if you’re having a party.

Khaleesi’s Reign, Heartwood Provisions. With pear-infused vodka, locally-made broVo “Pretty” Vermouth Blanc, chamomile, lemon and sparkling wine, this shimmery fruit-and-flowers number is a great way to start your evening—or end it—with class and taste. They’re also having a 5-course menu with Champagne pairings New Year's Eve, if you want to make sure you balance out eating and drinking, which is never a bad idea.

Two's a Crowd, The Dunbar Room. This cocktail has been featured all month, and combines gin, Italian sparkling wine Prosecco, maraschino liqueur and Créme de Violette. The drink is not only delicious and light on its feet, but has heart, too: Through the end of the month, the Dunbar Room will donate $2 from every purchase to local charities Northwest Harvest, Farestart, Art with Heart and the Seattle Humane Society. Toast up and support good causes!

Silver Hilton, RockCreek. As this Fremont spot is a haven for seafood lovers, it’s not surprising that they’d have a cocktail that seems to swim around Europe, with a mixture of vodka, Italian aperitif Aperol, Spanish sparkler Cava, and orange and lemon. If that doesn’t tempt you, try their other Cava drink, the Daisy De Caddis, which has a heady mingling of tequila, Yellow Chartreuse, lime, piloncillo pineapple syrup and that sparkling wine.

New Jersey Connection, Sun Liquor Lounge. A Capitol Hill classic, this bar is a swell spot to tuck into throughout the holiday season, getting off those busy streets and into some good cocktails. The New Jersey Connection falls nicely into that latter group, with applejack (the apple brandy that was a favorite of our colonial ancestors), herbally Cio Ciaro amaro, celery bitters and sparkling wine, all capped off by a lemon twist.

The Lamb’s Wool

from Champagne Cocktails: 50 Cork-Popping Concoctions and Scintillating Sparklers 

Here’s a memorable drink to serve if you’re having an end-of-year shindig at home. It uses red Italian frizzante favorite Lambrusco, which keeps a low level of bubbling while adding a sweet rich taste, and which pairs nicely with gin, dry vermouth and triple sec (feel free to try with your favorite orange liqueur, too).

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces gin (go local with Kur gin)
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1/2 ounce triple sec Chilled Lambrusco
Orange slice, for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, dry vermouth and triple sec. Stir well.

Strain into a flute glass, and top with the Lambrusco. Garnish with an orange slice.

Recipe of the Week: Casco Antiguo's Corn Mash

Recipe of the Week: Casco Antiguo's Corn Mash

Serve it as a side dish or eat it straight from the pan
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A little like mac 'n' cheese... but with corn!

Comfort food takes many forms. That satisfying combo of sweet and savory are almost necessary. Plenty of cheese doesn’t hurt. Now here’s a recipe that hits on all the best elements of comforting cuisine, plus a little Serrano chili for heat. 

Casco Antiguo is a Pioneer Square Mexican restaurant best known for its 30-ingredient mole. But it’s this modest corn side dish that’s a favorite among regulars. Owners say it's a play off a traditional Mexican street food called" ezquites," where corn is boiled with epazote and butter, then served in a disposable cup with cheese, salt, lime, chili powder and mayo. 

Since it's damn hard to find fresh corn this time of year, so I used all frozen, and I think the flavor was still good. If you don’t have crema on hand, I used sour cream in a pinch—it was firmer than crema, but I think leant a similar flavor. I used a whole Serrano and was disappointed in the lack of heat, though that’s a fault of the pepper and not the dish. Perhaps leave the seeds in if you want it a little hotter (I will next time). At the restaurant, it’s served alongside everything from braised pork cheeks to baby octopus—I think it would be a great with a Southern-inspired barbecue feast as well. 

Casco Antiguo Corn Mash
Makes 6-8 Servings

1 tbsp canola oil
2 ½ cups raw sweet corn
2 ½ cups pre-cooked frozen corn, thawed
½ -1 Serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup cream cheese, softened
¾ cups crema Mexicana (found in Mexican markets or specialty stores)
¾ cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated

In a large sauté pan on medium heat, add canola oil and raw corn. Sauté for two to three minutes. Add the thawed corn, chopped peppers, salt and pepper. Sauté until corn and peppers are tender. Fold in the cream cheese until corn and peppers are thoroughly incorporated. Whisk in the crema Mexicana until the dish becomes creamy in texture. Add the Monterey cheese and continue to whisk until the cheese is melted and the dish is smooth and saucy. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes before serving.