Which Bubbles Go Off With a Bang At a Party?

Those in the know pick the bubbles and cocktails they serve to get the party started, and keep it going in the same spirit

A round of bubbles can help get the party started. Picture / 123RF

Murray Crane, Crane Brothers
What’s your go-to drop of bubbles?

That’s easy — Dom Perignon and Dom Perignon. Anything from the early 70s. In my eyes it is consistently the best.

If you had a mixologist at a soiree, what cocktails would be a must?
I would get [top New Zealand bartender] Jacob Briars to pop along and do some really interesting things with Bacardi. I’d serve Stolen Rum and Karma Cola, and Campari and Orange (my personal favourite).

Tim Arnold, Rockefeller Champagne and Oyster Bar
What’s your go-to drop of bubbles?
Anything from Cedric Bouchard, a small grower/producer from the Champagne region. It comes in a dark and mysterious black-labelled bottle. It’s 100 per cent pinot noir and it’s as far away from fruity Central Otago pinot noir as you could ever imagine. My next choice would be Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterie. It is soft and generous and achingly beautiful, like walking through a cloud of grapefruit zest. It’s just about the nicest thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.

If you had a mixologist at a soiree, what cocktails would be a must?
Certainly a Negroni, and then I might be interested in following that up with a Negroni.

Rebecca Smidt, Cazador
What’s your go-to drop of bubbles?
For French, Champagne Collet, and locally, I’d serve Nautilus Marlborough Methode Traditionelle.
If you had a mixologist at a soiree, what cocktails would be a must?
Gin martinis with olives and briny olive water, and Manhattans made with a Sazerac rye whiskey. No fancy fruity stuff, just classics.

Ram Agrawal, The Langham
What’s your go-to drop of bubbles?
You can always create a small twist with your bubbles and make it a bit elegant. Drop your choice of fruit in a glass with 30ml of fruit schnapps and top up with either traditional champagne or New Zealand sparkling wine, depending on your budget. For example, if you add a slice of peach, peach nectar and peach schnapps with your bubbles, you”ll end up with a stunning peach bellini.
If you had a mixologist at a soiree, what cocktails would be a must?
Again a sparkling cocktail on arrival is a must. Then, continue with classics like Negroni, Tom Collins and mojito variations. You can always make a round of espresso martinis at the end of your evening.

READ How To Be the Ultimate Party Host

Vinci Gin-Nen, Savor Group
What’s your go-to drop of bubbles?
The best thing about champagne is the branding; its pretty simple to assume the [level of an] event when you see what bubbles is served on arrival. So I find it one of the key factors for any gathering. Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label is great for large functions and the majority of people recognise it. Dom Perignon and Dom Perignon Rosé is iconic and its subtle branding I find is perfect for special occasions.

If you had a mixologist at a soiree, what cocktails would be a must?
Espresso martinis, I hate to say it. It’s what I call the adult Red Bull and vodka alternative. It keeps people dancing and takes them to that party level pretty quick. A citrus cocktail is best in a short glass, a mule or sour, are both go-tos for me, as they usually are liked by 90 per cent of guests.

Nic Watt, Masu and True Food and Yoga
What’s your go-to drop of bubbles?
I always go for Billecart-Salmon; it’s my first point of call. It’s a beautifully crafted champagne and founded on a love story between Nicolas Billecart and Elizabeth Salmon. And then if I have to really reach out for my bubbles, I struggle to go past Krug Grande Cuvee … it’s simply stunning. Truly perfect.
If you had a mixologist at a soiree, what cocktails would be a must?
I’m a Negroni man when I’m out, so that’s a must. But if it was a daytime party, then I’d have to say a perfect botanical gin and tonic with fresh cracked black pepper and freshly sliced passionfruit squeezed over the top.

Nicholas Harrison, Golden Dawn
What’s your go-to drop of bubbles?
I would go for a bottle of the Domaine Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve NV — it’s a growers’ champagne, meaning that the vineyard and winery produce their own champagne rather than selling their grapes to big champagne houses. I like this particular style as its dry for a brut but it’s not austere, so it’s perfect for an afternoon celebration. It is utterly delicious. My other drop of choice would be the Huia Brut Methode 2009. This is a great celebration methode and I would drink it over big-brand champagnes to be honest. One of the reasons I love this bubbly is because it is au natural and organic. The winemakers are so passionate about what they do, it is completely reflected in each vintage and wine they produce. This particular bubbles goes so well with food that it’s great for dinner parties and foodies.
If you had a mixologist at a soiree, what cocktails would be a must?
I can’t go past a daiquiri at the moment — it’s the perfect mix of acidity and sweetness. It’s also incredibly accessible as a drink with only three ingredients: white rum, sugar and lime. You can also add fresh seasonal berries and fruits to a daiquiri to create something a little more special. I’m salivating just thinking about them.

Picture / Supplied

Judith Tabron, Soul Bar and Bistro
What’s your go-to drop of bubbles?
Always Mumm Cordon Rouge for the masses, for special friends Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rosé, and for very special friends some of that vintage that’s been hiding in my fridge waiting for a special occasion.
If you had a mixologist at a soiree, what cocktails would be a must?
I’ve always been a Sidecar with a sugar rim fan, made with cognac not brandy, but all my friends seem to want to have espresso martinis. The problem with espresso martinis is what do you drink after them, which normally leads to having too many.

Tony Stewart, Clooney
What’s your go-to drop of bubbles?
Perrier-Jouet Brut NV for its beautiful structure, balance and roundness. There is a gentle venosity that comes with it leaving an agreeable persistence on the finish.
If you had a mixologist at a soiree, what cocktails would be a must?
A good Silver tequila margarita. It ticks all the right boxes for me — freshness, complexity with a little kick.

Fraser Brown, Sherwood Queenstown
What’s your go-to drop of bubbles?
I really enjoy the Aurum Blanc de Blanc 2008 Methode Traditionelle for its pure expression of Central Otago method. It has great acidity with a round fruity palate. And the Cambridge Road ‘Naturalist’ Pet Nat Rosé 2014 is sweet, pink and just fun to have, singing with pinot fruit flavours.
If you had a mixologist at a soiree, what cocktails would be a must?
A Dark ’n’ Stormy, a Negroni and a Hemingway daiquiri. These are all classics that are universally liked and I’ve always found to be crowd-pleasers.

READ Partying With Renee Stewart

Damaris Coulter, Coco’s Cantina
What’s your go-to drop of bubbles?
Prosecco is one of Coco’s signature pours and has been for the seven years we have been open. It’s a massive part of our identity, especially because we serve it in the old-fashioned bubbles glasses that were thought to have been modelled on the breast of Marie Antoinette. When we think of drinking bubbles in Italia there is only prosecco, because who doesn’t love everything Italian? Our top prosecco pick would be 2014 Nino Franco Cartizze DOCG, our wonderful friend Paul from Manifesto Wines imports it along with many other delicious varieties. You can buy it online from poshslosh.co.nz And if we are feeling Frenchy then Champagne Collet Brut Art Deco would be our pick. Our friend James Barber from Mineral Wine imports it and it is a welcome addition to the champagne choices we currently have in New Zealand, the bottles are retro beautiful.
If you had a mixologist at a soiree, what cocktails would be a must?
We hate fussy things at Coco’s, we prefer simple and unpretentious, so we would probably stick to the classics done really well. Gin and tonics (preferably with local gin and local tonic), mojitos and Caipirinhas, Negronis, Aperol spritz, and Coco’s Martinis (Chambord, vodka and pineapple) are favourites, and Espressotini nightcaps would be a must.

James Worthington, Kauri Cliffs
What is your go-to drop of bubbles for a party?
Pelorus Cloudy Bay NV is deliciously crisp and toasty with creamy complexity and slightly nutty with a dry finish. This is a nice wine to have at the beginning or all the way through a barbecue. Veuve Clicquot is great for a celebration, such as a party, birthday, etc, as it’s lively, refreshing and great by itself or with any food. Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose is great fun for a barbecue but also works for an anniversary or something more intimate as it is a very elegant, balanced, round and refined.
If you had a mixologist at a soiree, what cocktails would be a must?
I’d go with easy-to-make cocktails with great flavours using New Zealand produce and beverages. Our Kauri Cliffs cocktail has 42 Below feijoa vodka, honey, apple juice and kiwifruit; while our Cavalli 75 has South Gin, sparkling wine, sugar syrup and lemon. Our Waiaua Kiwi mojito has L&P, Stolen Gold Rum, fresh mint, lime and kiwifruit.

 

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