I’m Luna, an amateur mixologist, and my new year’s resolution is to try at least one new cocktail each week for a year. This could be a drink at a bar, one I make at home from a recipe book, or one I create myself (wish me luck – I’m not known for my prowess in the kitchen!). I’ll be recording my best recipes/disasters on this blog for you to enjoy/laugh at – for regular updates, follow 52 Cocktails using the handy buttons below.
It would have been logical to start this challenge on new year’s day, but I was too hungover then so I decided to start around Chinese New Year instead. (If you’re thinking, ‘But there was weeks between January 1 and Chinese New Year,’ you’d be right…it was a killer hangover.) I figure celebrating both Western and Chinese new years gives you the chance to make one set of resolutions, say ‘fuck it, I give up’ after a few weeks, and then redeem yourself by making another set for Chinese New Year, which is what I’ve done. Win.
Anyway, according to the lunar calendar, it’s the year of the goat (or the sheep, apparently you can take your pick).
According to the Luna calendar, it’s the year of the cocktail. Let’s get shaking.
easy to make, easy to drink
Western New Year is celebrated with bubbly, and I see no reason why Chinese New Year can’t be celebrated the same way. This recipe is loosely based on the famous Bellini created at Harry’s Bar in Venice, which combines peach puree with prosecco for an elegant, sweet drink. My version uses peach-infused vodka (partly because peaches are a symbol of longevity in Chinese culture, and partly because peach vodka = yum) and whatever bubbly you like best. Different styles of bubblies (moscato, prosecco, Champagne etc) will alter the taste, as will different types of peach-infused vodka (homemade, store bought, white peach, yellow peach…and there are myriad vodkas to use in the homemade infusions, too) so there’s endless variations on this simple recipe. Try a few and see which one you like best. Any excuse to try lots of drinks is a good excuse!
Oh, and the name? Double Happiness is a Chinese character that appears on decorative items during Chinese New Year. But it also reflects this drink’s two ingredients: with vodka and bubbly, you’ll be twice as happy!
peach-infused vodka and bubbly
20ml peach-infused vodka (use Absolut Apeach or try making your own)
Bubbly of your choice (I would usually use moscato, as it’s sweet and – bonus – cheap, but I had this mini Omni sparkling white lying around in the fridge so I used it instead)
Pour peach-infused vodka into a Champagne flute. Top up with bubbly. Drink!
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY
If you can open a bottle, you can make this drink.
HOW TO MAKE PEACH-INFUSED VODKA
Wash white or yellow peaches and slice into quarters, discarding the stones. Place in a clean, wide-mouthed jar. (You can sterilise the jar if you’re anal about food hygiene/have too much time on your hands. I’ve never bothered and I’m fine. *twitches*) Use enough peach pieces to 3/4 fill the jar. Add a handful of white sugar if you wish (obviously this will help sweeten the final product – leave it out if you want a less-sweet flavour). Pour vodka over the top, completely submerging the peaches (use whichever vodka you like best – I tend to use Absolut or Russian Standard). Screw on the lid, gently shake the jar to help dissolve the sugar, and – this is important – LABEL your jar with the date and the jar’s contents. Otherwise you run the risk of forgetting how long the fruit’s been infusing or, worse, someone else not knowing what that weird jar full of stuff is at the back of the cupboard and throwing it out. Place the jar in a dark, cool spot (eg the kitchen pantry). After a few days, taste it. If the flavour isn’t strong enough, let the fruit infuse for a few more days, but no more than a week or the flavour will go kinda funky, and not in a James Brown way. When you’re happy with the flavour, strain the contents through a piece of cheesecloth into another clean jar. You’ll be left with a jar of homemade peach vodka and a lot of really drunk peach pieces. Eat them with ice cream for an instant boozy dessert, or use them in sangria.