This recipe appears in:For Easier Entertaining, A Make-Ahead Aperitif
Make the most of affordable sparkling wine by adding tart lemon, woodsy sage, and Suze, a bitter French aperitif. This prep-ahead cocktail is a little tart, a little sweet, a little bitter, and full of herbal flavors. There's no high-proof spirit in the mix, so it whets the appetite without getting anyone blitzed.
- For the Lemon-Sage Syrup:
- 6 ounces water
- 8 ounces (about 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) sugar
- 2 ounces fresh juice from 2 lemons
- Finely grated zest from 2 lemons
- 10 medium sage leaves
- For the cocktails:
- 6 ounces Lemon-Sage Syrup
- 1 1/2 ounces Suze
- 1 bottle chilled Cava or other dry sparkling wine
- 6 strips lemon zest
- 6 fresh sage leaves
For the Lemon-Sage Syrup: Combine water, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sage in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, remove from heat, and let stand 1 hour. Strain and refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week.
For the cocktails: The night before serving, combine the lemon-sage syrup and Suze in a large pitcher. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to serve, add Cava, pouring slowly, and gently stir to combine. Split between six Champagne flutes, twisting a lemon zest strip over each and garnishing with a sage leaf.