Video by: Ignacio Torres
In Spain, it’s tradition to toast Nochevieja – New Year’s Eve – with a glass of sparkling white wine known as Cava. Think of Cava as Spain’s answer to French champagne, produced by trapping carbon dioxide in wine made from white grapes. And given Cava’s association as a celebratory wine – it was an instant hit among Spanish high society in the 1880s when it was first produced – it’s a natural choice with which to ring in the New Year.
“I’ve always loved Cava and wanted to create something different, something really special,” says Aaron Fitas, who loves using Cava as a base for a variety of bubbly cocktails at New York City hotspot Yerba Buena. His creative recipe combines Christmas colors in an unexpected way (think juicy red tomatoes and green basil leaves) and the New Year’s Eve tradition of toasting with Cava for an unexpectedly savory and delicious cocktail. Crisp with the herbaceous notes of the basil and sweet with tomato, cider and simple syrup, the dry grape notes of the Cava are allowed to shine. Happy New Year!
A Spanish Cava New Year’s Eve Cocktail
3 cherry tomatoes
3 basil leaves
1oz apple cider
1/2oz lemon juice
1/2oz simple syrup (see note)
3/4oz Licor 43 (a Spanish citrus and fruit liqueur)
Place the cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker and muddle for 20 seconds. Add the apple cider, the lemon juice, and the Licor 43. Fill the shaker with ice and shake for another 20 seconds. Strain and pour half of a champagne glass, and top it off with Cava.
*simple syrup: Simmer one cup of water and one cup of sugar, and let it cool in room temperature.