For my second boozy Valentines post this year we're going down the cocktail route with two of my favourite seasonal ingredients: pretty pink forced rhubarb, and blush oranges (oranges that are almost blood oranges, but are much cheaper and much easier to get hold of - you can pick up a net in Waitrose). These glasses of fizz only include three ingredients, take moments to mix together, and are perfect to welcome your loved one home with after work next Tuesday (because obviously Valentines is about a cozy night in together!)
For this post I've teamed up with 31DOVER, a great online drinks store. I'd heard about them ages ago (I live near Dover the place, so their site always comes in on my Google location related ads), but it was only recently I really started browsing their site and found that they stock practically every single liquor, spirit and mixer I've ever spent time tracking down, a good selection of wines, and a lot of awesome glassware and bar equipment that is also usually less than routine to track down.
They sent me this bottle of Chase Rhubarb Vodka, which has a beautiful, sweet rhubarb and vanilla aftertaste, and is not just fantastic in these cocktails, but also in a vodka and tonic. Oh, and both it and the bottle is pretty and pink with lovely script, so it looks lovely on our bar table.
When 31DOVER contacted me to work with them they planted a thought in mind in their opening pitch that I'd never attached to my drinks table before. At the time lots of people were doing Veganuary, so they were running a promotion highlighting vegan bottles. Wait, what? So, it is probably obvious if you actually think about it, but a lot of the drinks you enjoy on a regular basis, such as spirits and some beers are not vegan, or even vegetarian, as sometimes animal products and gelatines are used as binding and stabilizing agents and the like. I'm neither of the above, but I am big on knowing what goes into my food and on not buying processed items, so this came as a big shock to me. I've been checking labels and ingredient lists ever since.
Some of our favourite bar cart staples that are certified vegan to keep you going while you do a me and check through all of the bottles you have hanging around the house for nasties or things you did not realise you were drinking: Ophir Oriental Spiced Gin, Spismith Sloe Gin, Chase Vodka, Knob Creek Bourbon, Kracken Black Spiced Rum, Meantime London Lager, and most importantly, Moet Brut Imperial Champagne.
You don't want to skimp on the rhubarb here. Garnishing the glass with a shard of fresh forced rhubarb intensifies the flavour of your drink, and you can always use any leftover rhubarb to make my Forced Rhubarb & Cardamom Breakfast Compote. This drink is actually a twist on the classic French 75, but as we're using blush orange juice rather than lemon juice, I left out the sugar syrup. You can add a splash if you like a sweeter cocktail.
- 1 tbsp Chase Rhubarb Vodka
- 2 tsp Freshly Squeezed Blush Orange Juice
- Chilled Champagne, Cava, Prosecco or (preferably English) Sparkling Wine
- Shard Fresh Forced Rhubarb
Measure 1 tbsp of rhubarb vodka and 2 tsp of freshly squeezed blush orange juice (or you could use blood orange juice from a bottle, Innocent make a great one) in the bottom of a champagne flute. For visual effect, to avoid orange bits sitting up the side of your glass after your champagne bubbles have settled, sieve the bits out of the juice first. Top up with chilled champagne, and garnish with a forced rhubarb shard in each glass.