Bubbly Mixers

Shake it up with champagne cocktails

Every Sunday for a year, Soif de Vin is tempting the wine shop’s customers with a different champagne concoction.

A lot can happen in fifty-two weeks. Birthdays, promotions, graduations, buying a new home: milestones that give seemingly random days out of the year the greatest significance.

Why not raise a glass and toast them all?

That’s essentially what Soif de Vin has been doing since June 2. With a little inspiration from Fifty-Two, a book of fifty-two champagne cocktail recipes by former local bartender JONATHAN JONES, the retail wine shop and bar hosts Sunday evening tastings with concoctions for every occasion.

“Everything he touches really turns to gold,” Soif de Vin owner AMY SILER says of Jones and his work with both food and craft cocktails. “He’s an artist and should be celebrated.”

As a nod to her educational focus while in the wine distribution business, Siler has made Soif de Vin in Monkey Junction a local hub for wine and beer tastings, wine club meetings, and other informative events. For the past two years, there has been some kind of class or learning experience almost every week, thanks to vendors eager to share what they know and the fruit of that knowledge.

“I wanted to open a place where people could learn, expand, and not be confined to a list of just what I like,” Siler says.

Having dipped her toe in the restaurant scene as well as the wine distribution business alongside her husband, Sean Underwood, and co-founding the Wilmington Wine & Food Festival almost eight years ago, Siler knows all about stepping out of one’s comfort zone and trying something new.

This drive to continually learn more is why every Sunday through May 31, Soif de Vin’s “sole cocktail guy,” PAUL OBERNESSER, will continue serving up a craft concoction based on the recipes from Fifty-Two.

From the classics to specialty cocktails like Orange is the New Velvet and Dry Wit, there really is something for everyone in Jones’s playbook of sorts.

Jones, who started compiling his creations while working as a bartender for the Wilmington Wine shop, was acquainted with Siler before he made his move to Oregon several years ago.

He actually flew back after Soif de Vin opened to cater the shop’s first specialty wine dinner. It was the first of many such events and helped set the tone for how each week’s tasting showcases his original work.

Jones’ recipes are presented out of order in comparison to the book, Siler says, but often with seasonal considerations and ingredients in mind.

Officially, the Sunday champagne cocktail nights run 6-8 p.m., but everyone is welcome to hang out later and peruse other offerings in the shop or keep asking questions about the featured cocktail and anything else food- or wine-related.

For Siler, that’s the best part of the night – especially if she’s inspired to ask a few questions of her own.

“I’ve had a lot of ‘aha’ moments over the years just from tasting different kinds of food or wine,” Siler says. “I love getting to see other people experience that, then follow it up by wanting to know more.”

Along with those opportunities to ask questions and try new things comes an ever-evolving palate and appreciation for variety.

When asked what their favorite champagne cocktail has been so far in the series, or what they’re most looking forward to trying, both Siler and Underwood say that there are just too many great recipes to choose only one, adding, “Just bubbles. We like bubbles.”

Comfy Orange Sweater

“The mimosa is an old standard, something you break out on a Sunday afternoon when the world is still swimming and your mouth tastes like fuzzy socks. This is a mimosa, with a little extravagance thrown in to clear the palate and brighten the mind. This is your favorite sweater after your hippie aunt washed it with her hooping skirts.”

  • 5 oz champagne
  • 3 oz orange juice
  • pinch cardamom
  • Bittercube Orange Bitters
  • splash calamansi vinegar

Rinse a wine glass with the calamansi vinegar. Pour out excess vinegar. Add champagne and orange juice. Top with six drops of bitters and a small pinch of ground cardamom.

– Excerpt from Fifty-Two by Jonathan Jones, available online at blurb.com/b/5523370-fifty-two

To view more of photographer Logan Burke’s work, go to LoganBurkePhoto.com

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Categories: Taste