Ok, so this is basically a recipe for a wine cooler, but keep reading. It really isn’t the sort of thing that underage girls drink in 711 parking lots.
It’s something you should drink with brunch (in place of the ubiquitous mimosa), or before dinner on a warm evening, or at a festive lunch. The bright, fresh flavors of raspberries, mint and lemon (fortified with vodka) mingle with the complexity and effervescence of sparkling wine, and the result is light, refreshing and sophisticated. It’s easy to make in advance, so it’s good for groups too. But make a lot — it’s a crowd pleaser. And keep an eye out for those underage girls.
1 1/2 cups vodka
12 oz (or so) of frozen raspberries (you can use fresh, of course, but they’re often pricey, and frozen taste just well here.)
a handful of fresh mint sprigs
juice of two lemons
3 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
1 750ml bottle of dry sparkling wine, such as a Spanish Cava, an Italian Prosecco or a Champagne-style wine from California. (This probably isn’t the highest and best use of fine Champagne.)
1. Put all of the ingredients except the sparkling wine into a bowl. Crush the mint and the berries well with a muddler or a wooden spoon. If you have the time, let the mixture sit for an hour or more. (If you don’t, no worries — it’ll still be delicious.)
2. Strain the berry mixture into a bowl, pressing on the solids with a spoon or spatula to extract all of the liquid. Discard the solids.
3. Pour the raspberry/mint/lemon vodka into tall ice-filled glasses, top with the sparkling wine, and garnish with mint. The exact ratio is up to you, of course, but I’ve found that something like one-third vodka to two-thirds sparkling wine works best.