Who doesn’t get excited at the thought of a deliciously chilled glass of sparkling rosé?
Whether it’s pale rose, copper pink or salmon-hued with bronze reflections, it’s a drink that promises a red berry nose, vivacity and freshness.
So how about enhancing that beautiful bouquet by muddling your own elder berry syrup, adding a drop of dandelion root bitter and garnishing with a sprig of rosemary? Foraged ingredients aren’t just the preserve of spirits, they can go wild for bubbles too.
“There’s a lot more freedom to experiment and innovate when it comes to making cocktails with champagne,” says Michel Parisot, chief winemaker at Champagne Devaux. “Unlike with more traditional spirit-based cocktails, you’re less bound by specific recipes.”
“This means there’s scope to try lots of different ingredients to see what works,” he adds, noting how Devaux’s Oeil de Perdrix Rose NV Champagne (£27.99, Majestic) is fresh, floral and delicate, which makes it great for mixing with foraged ingredients.
“Elder berries add an earthy flavour with jam-like tones to the champagne,” he suggests, “bringing out the red fruit flavours of the wine.”
Indeed, to encourage us to go harvesting for wild berries ourselves, Champagne Devaux have collaborated with expert forager James Wood, founder of Totally Wild.
From plants to hedgerow fruits, Wood takes us on a ‘forage’ of discovery with these three recipes to try at home, and complement your favourite pink fizz…
Ingredients: 15ml elder berry syrup (see below), 3 drops dandelion root bitters (available online or make at home), sparkling rosé.
How to make a syrup: Forage a few handfuls of the desired berries. Rinse then crush and sieve to separate the juice and pulp. Measure out two parts berry juice and one part sugar. Combine both in a pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool before storing in a sealed jar and use within three to four weeks.
Method: Add the elder berry syrup and dandelion drops to a chilled champagne flute and top with rosé.
“Elder berries are found in almost every hedgerow throughout the UK and Ireland, and the best time to find them is from late August to mid-October,” says Wood. “This berry adds a fantastic, sophisticated earthy flavour to everything it touches, making it an unusual but delicious cocktail ingredient.”
“Dandelions can be found in almost every area of damaged land. They’re best harvested between September and January. Dandelion roots, when roasted, develop a brilliant coffee and malt flavour.”
Ingredients: 25ml blackberry syrup, 10cm sprig rosemary, sparkling rosé.
Method: Add the syrup to a chilled champagne flute and top with rosé. Garnish with the rosemary sprig.
“Something many of us have foraged – blackberries can be found in every hedgerow; head down to your closest canal to find masses. Pick them from September to November and enjoy their deep berry flavour.
“Rosemary, a fairly common herb, can be found planted in many areas. It’s best harvested from April through to December, however. The classic herby rosemary flavour matches the raspberry nicely for a delicious cocktail garnish.”
Ingredients: 25ml rose hip syrup, sparkling rosé.
Method: Add rose hip syrup to a chilled champagne flute and top with sparkling rosé.
“Rose hip is normally found growing alongside blackberries in hedgerows and best harvested towards the end of the year, between September and November,” says Wood. “The flavour from these berries sits somewhere between sweet tomatoes and peaches, and can be used in recipes that usually call for either – hence my use of it for a twist on a bellini blended with rosé.”