One of the best things about November is bubbles. Champagne bubbles. The ultimate Party drink, that beautiful pale amber liquid has been the social lubricant of choice since the late 1600s and early 1700s, when a monk called Dom Perignon devoted his life to the attempt to rid the alcohol of its bubbles and the Widow Clicquot, about whom a fantastic book was written, developed a trademark bottling technique to induce carbonation and also chose the famous orange label for her fledgling Champagne brand. Taittinger, Moet & Chandon and Piper-Heidsieck followed quickly. Rumour has it that the person who discovered Champagne called everyone to attention by exclaiming "Come quickly, I am drinking stars!". Oh yeah, Champagne is all that. And, you know, it's just a really good drink.
On a breezy, blowsy, almost translucent summer night the best thing is a Champagne cocktail. What could be more perfect than a Kir Royale as you sit at a Parisian cafe drinking in the sunset? Or a Mimosa in the morning when you're on holiday because you can? Or a Peach Bellini at the site of its invention, Harry's Bar in Venice, with a view of the lagoon and a pile of shopping bags at your side? (Can you tell that we have insane wanderlust? More on that later.) We love our champagne cocktails fresh, bubbly and filled with fruit - like the classic St Germain and Champagne mix, which was a favourite at our party last month. The blossom-y taste of Elderflower (is there any other way to describe it, really?) goes perfectly with the sweetness of champagne, and a bit of fruit only adds to the girly mood. This is one for the ladies. Here's the recipe: