By Matthew Lardie | Photo by John Michael Simpson
This recipe for a bubbly holiday cocktail that’s perfect for getting the party started comes from the creative mind of Jason McCoon, restaurants director at the JB Duke Hotel. The homemade rosemary syrup can be made well in advance, and the mix itself can be made in a big batch** so that you can dole drinks out quickly when guests arrive – just add the sparkling wine right before serving to preserve the fizz.
Rosemary Simple Syrup
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar (JB Duke uses Demerara sugar for richness of flavor, but white sugar works fine, too.)
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Stir together the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar is fully dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and pour into a heatproof container. Add the rosemary sprigs, and let steep for at least 2 hours, but preferably 24. Strain the mixture into a jar or squeeze bottle. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Rosemary Diamond Fizz
- ¾ oz. rosemary simple syrup
- ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz. fresh grapefruit juice
- 1 oz. gin (JB Duke recommends either a juniper- or citrus-forward gin)
- 3 oz. sparkling brut wine
- Lemons & rosemary sprigs for garnish* (optional)
Combine the rosemary simple syrup, both juices and the gin in a cocktail shaker. Shake, and pour into a Champagne flute. Top with cold sparkling wine and garnish, if desired.
* To make the garnish, use a channel knife or grater to get one long, narrow strip of lemon peel. Twist the lemon peel strip 2 to 3 times around a sprig of fresh rosemary.
** To batch the cocktail, multiply the measurements of the rosemary simple syrup, lemon and grapefruit juice, and gin by the number of drinks you want to serve, and stir together in a large jar. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve, then pour just shy of 3 ounces of the mixture into each Champagne flute and top with the cold sparkling wine.