Signpost between the bubbles

How can we spice up our bubble experience? If we are talking about sparkling wine and champagne, they especially complement drinks based on wine distillate, such as cognac and fruit liqueurs. A very popular mixture or sparkling wine cocktail

How can we spice up our bubble experience?

If we are talking about sparkling wine and champagne, they especially complement drinks based on wine distillate, such as cognac and fruit liqueurs. A very popular mixture or the sparkling cocktail is the Kir Royale. It consists of blackcurrant liqueur with a tenth of sparkling wine or champagne. There are many mixed drinks with bubbles named after famous people or hotels. A very famous champagne-based cocktail is the Ritz Fizz: almond liqueur, orange liqueur with the addition of lemon juice, a dash of cognac and, of course, champagne bubbles. I can also mention Buck's Fizz, which consists of one part natural orange juice and two parts champagne. It is not difficult to spice up the bubbles, as sparkling wines and champagnes come in an incredible variety of flavors.

What combination do bubbles go best with?

At this time of year, just in combination with fresh fruit. Otherwise, it is more difficult to get here. Probably the reason is a slightly more demanding preparation process. First, the fruit must be crushed, then the sparkling wine must be added, while care must be taken that the bubbles do not "escape" from the drink in contact with the fruit, as the first contact is similar to boiling.

What is the charm of a mixed drink with sparkling wine?

The taste of sparkling wine, i.e. freshness, remains. By adding usually fruity flavors, for example peach, apricot, almond or strawberry, the pleasantly fresh taste is complemented or get a new note. Otherwise, the combination of flavors also depends on the time of year, the occasion and the company. When I talk about champagne or champagne cocktails, I mean a drink dominated by bubbles, which means that this drink is also served in a champagne or champagne glass. Other mixed drinks, even if they contain sparkling wine or champagne, which are drunk from ordinary glasses, are long drinks. Instead of narrow, tulip-shaped glasses, the champagne mixture can be served in champagne goblets, the wider glasses that were in vogue in the 1920s. Of course, service fashion changes, just like food.

Did any of these combinations hit your mark?

The Colorful World of Cocktails, a book I published, describes quite a few such champagne-based cocktails. I often prepare a new drink mix at the customer's request. If someone is organizing a party and expresses a desire to have a special cocktail at the event, I try to accommodate them. Sometimes some people already have a very elaborate idea of the taste - the color of the "future" drink, but they need someone who will just "pour it into a glass". These have quite a bit of my stamp on them.

Are the world of bubbles ruled by trends or guidelines?

Autumn, during the period of young wine, and in the second half of October and November, when in some places the New Year's atmosphere is already in the air, is definitely the time for wines with or without bubbles. This time lasts practically the whole winter, until summer. Summer, on the contrary, is the time of the bovl. These are mixed bar drinks that are prepared for several people. Even in bowls, bubbles are indispensable. Bubbles are therefore drunk throughout the year. It doesn't even have to be a specific trend or direction. I'm on my way to the World Mixing Championships in Puerto Rico, where new trends are best seen, but there's no need for a certain guideline of what you should be drinking around the world to prevail.

On which occasions bubbles cannot be avoided?

If we are going to an evening event of a formal nature, the reception will usually start with a welcome or aperitif. This can be sparkling wine or a combination with champagne or sparkling wine, probably with a certain spirit that adjusts the taste and color of the bubbles. But since these are strong spirituous drinks, a very small amount is added. It is important that the aperitif, because it is enjoyed before a meal, is not sweet. Wine or mineral water is usually consumed during the meal itself. If the feast consists of several dishes, to bridge the gap between light and heavy food, we can treat ourselves to sorbet - sparkling wine with ice cream, usually lemon, although other fruit flavors are also suitable. For a better taste, add a little lemon juice, you can also add a little vodka. A glass of sweet champagne or sweet wine is again welcome with dessert. But when we have fun during the night in a disco or at a street party, we should drink lighter drinks.

Are alcohol-free bubbles still so popular?

Naturally, natural mineral waters with bubbles are very popular. Their better side is the healing effect. We can even go to spas and try the water right there, still unbottled and unfiltered. In my opinion, there shouldn't be too many bubbles, just enough to give the water freshness, a little bite and actually quench your thirst.

As the head of a bartending school, do you know exactly where to get the best cocktails in the country?

Aleš Petek, who is currently employed at Arena Vodafone live, is going to Puerto Rico for this year's world championship in drink mixing. If he convinced the committee at the national championship, he will also convince many others. In Ljubljana there is also the Grand Casino Ljubljana, where Stojan Križman works. There are quite a few excellent bartenders in Bled. For example, Miran Šoberl works at the Grand Hotel Toplice, Mitja Acman is the manager at the Acman Inn in Skorne pri Šoštanje. As far as I know, we will be well served at Otočec Castle and at the Playa Bar.

Do you often indulge yourself in the atmosphere of bubbles?

I myself avoid too noisy bars. I prefer to choose bars that radiate a certain warmth and where I feel good. One of them is Ošterija Pr'Noni, where the atmosphere is pleasant and the quality of the food is high. I am often a professional in busier bars, as I teach future bartenders or those just interested in mixing drinks. It will be held in the Bachus Center in October. Maybe that's why the warmth of the environment means more to me in my free time.

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Ales Ogrin

"There shouldn't be too many bubbles, just enough to give the water freshness."

Mrs. Romance

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