And that last part is key. Start by sorting out what you plan to serve alongside your bubbles. Then you pick a complementing liqueur to blend with the bubbles of your choice. We opted for individual puff pastry tarts spread with brie (or any soft cheese) mixed with chopped fresh basil, then topped with persimmons that have been brushed with honey, then broiled until lightly browned and tender.
For our bubbles — we like prosecco — we went with Sorel liqueur, which gave the cocktail a gently spiced, lightly fruit flavour. Other fine choices could include raspberry liqueur and a dash of spiced rum, orange liqueur (such as triple sec), or rhubarb or ginger liqueurs.
Start to finish: 5 minutes
1/2 ounce Sorel liqueur
3 ounces prosecco, chilled
Pour the Sorel into a sparkling wine flute, then top with prosecco and an orange twist. Stir gently and serve immediately.
HONEY-BROILED PERSIMMON TARTS
Start to finish: 30 minutes
1/4 cup sugar
Hefty pinch of salt
17.3-ounce package puff pastry, thawed (each package contains 2 sheets)
2 fuyu persimmons, sliced into thin wedges
8 ounces very soft cheese, such as brie
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Ground black pepper
Balsamic glaze, to drizzle
Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment.
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and salt. Cut each sheet of puff pastry into nine 2-inch squares. Discard any edges. Arrange the pastry squares on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle all over with the sugar-salt mixture. Set a second sheet of kitchen parchment over the pastry squares, then place a second baking sheet over it. The second baking sheet should set into the first, resting directly on the pastry squares.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Increase the oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
Arrange the persimmon wedges on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle lightly with honey. Broil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned.
In a small bowl, mix together the cheese and basil. Season with black pepper. Spread a small amount of the cheese onto each pastry square. Top the cheese with a warm persimmon wedge, then a light drizzle of balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving: 350 calories; 200 calories from fat (57 per cent of total calories); 22 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 25 mg cholesterol; 32 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 13 g sugar; 10 g protein; 450 mg sodium.