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Fabulous Fizz! How To Serve Up Bubbles In Style

TOAST speaks to the pros about how to serve up champers like a pro at home this Christmas!

POP FIZZ CLINK – it’s champagne o’clock on TOAST this week! Here we speak to the experts and get their top tips on how to serve up fabulous fizz at home this Christmas, from which glasses to use and what tasty treats to serve, as well as a delicious cocktail recipe that is just perfect for Christmas. We can hear the corks popping already…!

Surely there is no better time of time of year for indulging in a chilled glass of fizz than Christmas, or New Years Eve. Not that we need an excuse mind, but in the run up to the 25th there is always a plethora of fizzy stuff on the shelves, and whether you’re celebrating with a loved one, a small group of friends or throwing an all-singing, all-dancing Christmas or NYE shindig for hundreds – nothing says PARTY like a bottle (or three) of bubbles!

If you’re going to splurge on a nice bottle (of Thomson & Scott’s Skinny Champagne, perhaps) then you’ll want to be sure that you’re serving it well, so TOAST has had a chat with two of the very best in the booze business; Scott Maylon, Training Manager at Ellis Wines, and Amanda Thomson, founder and CEO of Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco, to get their indispensible top tips on just how to serve champers in style at home this festive season. Cheers!

INSPIRE ME: FABULOUS FIZZ AT HOME

GORGEOUS GLASSES

Glamorous glassware must of course look the part, but it has to be functional as well. For the past couple of years vintage style champagne coupes and delicate saucers have been all the rage, but we’ve often wondered if they are in fact the best for vessel for our bubbles…

This coupe trend is actually dictated by 2 things; Kate Moss and the quest for the most aesthetically pleasing presentation of this wonderful stuff we call Champagne!” Scott enthuses. 

In 2014 Kate Moss famously modelled one of her ‘assets’ for a fine dining restaurant in Mayfair - this not only got the most amazing press coverage but it also highlighted the fact that, traditionally and allegedly, the original coupe glass was in fact modelled on the breast of Marie Antoinette. In fact, in the early 1700’s, the coupe was introduced and was massively fashionable in France, but that’s all it was - fashionable” he explains.

It’s actually not an ideal vessel for fizz – the bubbles and aromas are lost too quickly. The best way to serve Champagne this Christmas is a good old flute!”

So flutes it is! Anthropolgie’s Lucca and and Dasha flutes are contemporary and exceptionally elegant, and ideal for serving Champagne in style this Christmas, or for something more minimal but still distinctive, delight your guests with LSA LULU’s playful collection of mismatched mouth-blown and handmade flutes. For real wow factor and a touch of Christmas sparkle, you can’t go wrong with Waterford’s very special crystal flutes – they make a wonderful gift too.

Anthropologie Dasha

Anthropologie LuccaLuca and Dash Flutes £12 each from www.anthropologie.com.LSA LULU

LSA LULU £40 for 4 from www.lsa-international.com or try the luxurious Waterford Love Flutes £105 for 2 www.waterford.co.uk

Waterford

Goddess of guilt-free fizz Amanda addsA champagne saucer is great for old school glamour, but the bubbles do disappear more quickly inside one. I’ve got a bit of a thing for the copper Martini-style glasses at the moment, and the bonus with them is that they keep their contents cooler for longer”

A bit like these gorgeous Rose Copper Cocktails Glasses from online gift emporium Oh So Cherished, made from eye-catching and oh-so-glamorous solid copper with a silver nickel interior - they ooze luxury and add an instant touch of opulence to any Christmas or New Years Eve celebrations.

Oh So Cherished

Oh So Cherished offer this pair for £23 www.ohsocherished.co.uk.

I always lay on double the number of glasses to people, because you can’t serve mulled wine followed by Skinny Prosecco in the same glass!” advises Amanda.

Many supermarkets and wine shops will rent glasses for free, or take the easy route with Skinny Prosecco Skinny Mini bottles and eco straws! Easy to sip from, very glam, and no washing up afterwards – simply throw in the recycling and compost bins!”

DO YOUR MATHS

It’s always tricky trying to calculate how many bottles to buy, and of course everyone’s worse nightmare is not having enough and running out before the party is over! Amanda suggests simple maths is the solution here.

At Christmas I would allow one regular 75cl bottle for three guests – unless you know no one will be driving…” she advises.

And always have the spare bed made up for anyone who gets so into the party spirit they can’t get home, and have a duvet made up for the sofa - I remember going to a party when I was much younger and discovered a friend asleep in a window seat!”

If you also plan to serve wine, beer and soft drink then wine merchants Majestic also have a handy online drinks calculator to help you do the sums.

Thomson Scott

SILVER SERVICE

So you’ve calculated how many bottles you need, got the gorgeous glasses ready to go, and even made up a spare bed or two, so now it’s time to serve up your champers! Surely it’s as simple as pouring it into a glass, right? Wrong! Scott expertly explains;

Whenever you decide to pop the cork on your chosen bottle, make sure that it is well chilled - ideally at around 8 degrees Celsius. I mean who the hell has a temperature gauge on their fridge? But aim for around that!” he advises.

Next up get your FLUTES ready and have the glass at a steady 45 degree angle and slowly pour so that the bubbles are released steadily and you won’t get a huge froth to stick a flake in. Fill the flute until there is about an inch left at the top. Raise your glass and say Merry Christmas to your loved ones!”

Thomson Scott Skinny

DON’T FORGET THE FOOD

Empty stomachs and flowing fizz can end in disaster (well, lots of fun swiftly followed by disaster…) so it’s important that you lay on a few tasty treats for your guests to enjoy. Having said that, you want to make sure that your chosen nibbles complement your bubbles.

Champagne will pair with almost anything on this dear planet – that’s one of the beauties of it, but there are though a couple of things that make a glass of Champagne go from ‘oh now that’s bloody good that’ to ‘shut the front door, my life has just got 100% better’!” Scott laughs. 

Fish and chips is beyond words with a glass, if not a bottle, of Champagne. Another great idea is to serve little homemade blinis, which are so simple to make. Stack a blini base with some mashed avocado and bits of crispy bacon and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. These are so naughty with a sip of bubbles!”

Amanda also has some mouth-watering suggestions.

For me, entertaining is about making guests feel comfortable and at ease, so I serve masses of canapés rather than anything too formal” she explains.

Serving soup in little espresso cups looks pretty and will keep everyone cosy on a cold winter’s night. I’m also a huge fan of mini burgers (veggie ones for me) because they look so cute and are nice and filling. Canapés should be bite-sized because anything larger is so difficult to eat while balancing a glass and trying to chat. A good tip to get people to mingle is to have food dotted around all over the place to encourage meandering!”

For some more top tips for canapé success this Christmas then check out TOAST’s Spotlight interview with caterers &Feast over on TheEdit, as well as their foolproof recipe for honey mustard sausage – a seriously tasty crowd pleaser and completely delicious with a glass of fizz.

DON’T DITCH THE TEASPOON

We’ve all heard the theory that once you’ve opened a bottle of bubbles you can place a teaspoon through the neck of the bottle in order to keep it fizzy, but does this bizarre method actually work?

I often get asked this and I can reveal to you, that after years of research (well, less research and more booze-fuelled pearls of wisdom on Saturday nights) that…it does in fact WORK!” enthuses Scott.

Steel repels CO2, and so the bubbles will not completely disappear, so you’ll still have some sparkle left in the bottle after a few hours, even if all you have in your home is a pile of teaspoons!”

Another option is Lakeland’s Bubbly Bung, John Lewis’ Champagne Stopper or invest in Le Creuset’s expert Sparkling Wine Stopper. Or you could always just drink the bottle quickly, of course…

Bottle Tops

Lakeland £5.99 , John Lewis £4.50 , Le Creuset’s £15. 



For more top tips and inspiration for your seasonal soirées and gifts this year, head over to TheEDIT, where you can also find our latest Spotlight interview with founder of Thomson & Scott,  Amanda Thomson.

 
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