Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Happy Hour: Bargain Bubbly

Happy almost New Year! I can tell you guys are looking forward to this one, because I've been getting emails since like October asking for champagne and sparkling wine suggestions. The key word in each of those emails? "Cheap." I'll admit I can sometimes have expensive taste when it comes to alcohol, but it's one thing to splurge when making drinks for three or four friends. When it comes to providing the bubbly for your friends, their friends, and that girl that you meet at every party whose name you still don't know, though, I'm with you — the cheaper the better … as long as it doesn't taste cheap.

So, I did what I had to do and drank my way through December. Here are a few of my favorites, $13 and under (plus recipes, if you're going that route).


Light, refreshing, and not too sweet, this fruity choice is one of my favorites (and Jacob's Creek is generally a great pick for under-$15 wine).

2 oz Jacob’s Creek Sparking Rose Moscato
1 oz Beefeter gin 24
.5 oz Lemon Juice
.25 oz Simple syrup
.25 oz Crème de Mure

Directions: Build all ingredients in a highball glass over crushed ice. Top with Jacobs Creek Sparkling Rose Moscato.


Freixenet makes some of the best cavas, and this one is the #1 imported sparkling wine in the world. It's crisp and citrusy, with tastes of apple and pear, too. This one also comes in single-serving sizes for $3, which I love! (So much classier than single-serving vodka, for some reason.)

Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut
Sugar cube
Angostura bitters

Directions: Place the sugar cube in a glass. Soak it with Angostura. Fill the glass with chilled cava.


This dry sparkling wine comes from California, not France, so it's not a real champagne … but at $6 a bottle, who cares? Cook's adds a dosage of brandy to this one, so it's more vanilla-y than fruity.

.25 oz brandy
.75 oz ruby port
.75 oz orange juice (no pulp)
4 oz Cook's Grand Reserve

Directions: Pour brandy, port, and orange juice into a shaker with ice, shake well, and strain into a champagne flute. Top with Cook's Grand Reserve.


Fruity but not overly so, good with food (bring on the cheese plate), and doesn't taste like a $10 bottle. Definitely among the best proseccos when you're bargain-shopping.

3 oz Mionetto Prosecco
3 oz orange juice
1 oz St. Germain

Directions: Mix, stir, and enjoy.

Previously: Some Like It Hot.

Diana Vilibert drinks and writes in Brooklyn.

110 Comments / Post A Comment

Kara Reynolds

Let's give it up for Andre! But those concoctions sound lovely, Diana!


@JoanTition: At Red Lobster.


@ejcsanfran I was at Red Lobster tonight, didn't see Andre and Tim. Totally looked!


@Gnatalby Yesterday I saw Tim in the 14th St tunnel between 6th & 7th Ave... I assume he was on his way to a Red Lobster brunch with Andre.


@All this is why I come here. This. Here.


Yay! Thank you! Now to figure out how to smuggle a bottle of champagne into a bar so I don't have to pay $7 a glass for Andre.


A large purse filled with splits? That way you can open one in the bathroom and dump the whole thing into your glass. Repeat until drunk.

The Lady of Shalott

@AmandaBunny I like the cut of your jib.


@The Lady of Shalott
Why thank you.


@AmandaBunny Done and done. Normally I go with my trusty flask for special occasions where I want to go out and drink but not spend an arm and a leg, but not much champagne will fit in a flask.


@redheadedtwit Not that I have ever done this, ahem ahem, but a nalgene will accommodate a large portion of a champagne bottle.


@faintly_macabre Yup. I smuggle Champers (actually, Prosecco) in my Klean Kanteen all the time to all kinds of places.


I'm a fan of the flask myself, but like you said, the flask just won't cut it. Also, if it were me, I'd wrap a paper towel around each split so they won't clang against each other and give you away.

Roxanne Rholes

@redheadedtwit Go to the crappiest dive bar you can find. Works for me every year! They let us bring out own because they know we'll drink their crap beer all the rest of the night.

Hot Doom

@redheadedtwit Ugh, God. I didn't see this thread until now, maybe because I have been too hungover from drinking half the bottle of cava I sneaked in to the pub on NYE. Definitely uncorked that mofo in the bathroom in time for midnight and proceeded to make merry until it hurt. IT CAN BE DONE!


Freixenet is $7 at my liquor store. I will never, ever shop any place else.

Champagne and gin is right up my alley. I need to find some other recipes combining them.


@AmandaBunny http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/drink/views/French-75-233902

So, so good.


@girlandtonic Ah, in my excitement of sharing the amazingness of French 75s I didn't realize it's pretty much that first recipe. Ah well! Really, it's the only recipe you need (Seriously, so good. And strong) ;)


@girlandtonic Thank you! This reminded me that I actually have had a French 75! With our own Yahtzii, as a matter of fact.

elysian fields

Andre is my sworn enemy after that time in college when I drank way too many Andre-heavy mimosas at brunch and stumbled around in the hot sun for several hours listening to live music. I was utterly hungover by 3 pm. Look, I know it's technically my fault, but seriously, Andre -- that's no way to treat a lady!


@elysian fields It wasn't Andre but I drank a bottle of cheap champagne and then proceeded to pass out on the beach for three or so hours. I woke up with a hangover and a sunburn. YOUTH!


@boysplz Thinking about that makes me hurt all over.

Four Horsemeals of the Eggporkalypse

@elysian fields The day after a birthday party drinking nothing but like 1.5 bottles of pink Andre, I just felt like I wanted to clean my whole body from the inside out. I know that all drinking entails consuming toxins, but damn, with Andre you really feel it.


@elysian fields did anyone else have to be edward andre hands for their birthday?


@elysian fields I used to make a twice-yearly ritual of doing this--did you perchance go to college in Central NJ?

elysian fields

@kaleidoscope bingo. you know exactly what I'm talking about.


@kaleidoscope nope,austin, tx.


@RachelTheC I think I'm going to need to do this for my 26th coming up. Wooo! So much better than Edward 40 hands.


@elysian fields After college, even looking at a bottle of Andre gave me a headache for about 5 years.

Faintly Macabre

@RachelTheC My college team did this for Freshman Fun Night. Though they had to be consumed by mostly other people, not the poor little freshman themselves. One freshman shoved hers so enthusiastically at a guy on the team that he chipped his tooth, making him forever wary of our parties :(


@elysian fields my college friends made me do "andre squirrel hands" for my birthday which entailed one bottle taped with both hands around it. i'm a notorious cheap date.


"it's not a real champagne … but at $6 a bottle, who cares?"

This slogan is going on either a t-shirt or my headstone.


@ejcsanfran Why not both?


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher: "He died as he lived - drinking cheap 'champagne' and wearing a t-shirt with writing on it."

Renata Espinosa

I've been pretty impressed with Gruet Blanc de Noirs from Albuquerque, NM of all places - it's crisp & dry, i.e. actually tastes good on its own, and it's only $13.75 a bottle!


@Renata Espinosa
That's my favorite bubbly! I don't dare mix it with anything- it's delicious all on its own.


@Renata Espinosa I was just about to scream, "GRUET!"

Damn is that some good juice or what.


Yay, yes. The family has a legit French vintnering pedigree and they even grow their grapes in NM. Their pink champagne is pretty and delish.


@Renata Espinosa Hooray! I just bought some of that, as I felt it was appropriate for me, as I recently moved back to Albuquerque of all places, to celebrate my homecoming and the new year with some local bubbly.


Also, Barefoot Bubbly is super tasty and under $10. Either the "Champagne" they make or the Moscato Spumante. Cheers everyone!


@treeskier170 i used 3 bottles of the Barefoot "Champagne" for mimosas at my family brunch on xmas eve, and everyone loved it! it's got a pretty true champagne taste for such an inexpensive version.


@treeskier170 I found something called "pinot grigo champagne" by Barefoot and it was of course super cheap so I bought it- will it just be bubbly pinot grigio? I was intrigued so I guess I'll find out New Years!


Korbel is also a good one, for those who like a drier wine, and it's only $11.99! :))


Another reasonably-priced one is Chandon, brut or blanc de noirs. It's on sale at Costco now for $11.50 a bottle, and I can usually find it on sale at the grocery store for $12-$14 a bottle. It's my go-to sparkling wine.


@animaux2 Mine too! It's reliably cheap but still really good. I like the blush, but the brut is what most places carry.


Two bottles of cook's mimosas was my loner christmas drinking. BETTER THAN FAMILY.

ms. alex

Hooray! To the liquor store!

The Lady of Shalott

My entire Christmas break so far has been marveling at how phenomenally cheap liquor is in the States. I think I will celebrate this fact by drinking nothing but cheap champagne for New Year's.

To a year of cheap booze!


@The Lady of Shalott Where are you from that it is so horribly expensive? I need to know so I don't move there.

The Lady of Shalott

@secretbees Atlantic Canada. State-controlled liquor boards means that cheap liquor is a figment of my imagination. :(

Faintly Macabre

@The Lady of Shalott I feel you--PA's the same way. Though I imagine that it's much easier for us to zip over to NJ or Delaware than for you to go to America.


@The Lady of Shalott On the plus side, free health care for any alcohol related injuries!

The Lady of Shalott

@secretbees After I cry too hard that the cheapest bottle of wine at the store costs $9.29, and I drink it all and then fall down the stairs, I can go to the hospital and they will fix my broken bones!

Roxanne Rholes

@The Lady of Shalott Wow, in the state of New Hampshire we have the exact opposite issue! All the booze is super cheap and you can only buy it at state-run stores. They just threw up liquor stores along all the borders and highways so we can get all the money from people traveling through.


What happened to Andre??

But seriously, Andre will always be my favorite cheap bubbly.


Just plain Prosecco and St. Germain is good too, as long as the prosecco isn't too sweet already.

Tammy Pajamas

The combination of realizing I was at a NYE party full of good ol' boys and the ready availability of Andre (or was it Cooks?) ruined sparkling wine for me forever :(

Longest and most brutal hangover I've ever had.


Freixenet is my favorite.

Has anyone had Poema cava? We were intrigued by the label but didn't get it then couldn't find it in two other different stores when actually Christmas shopping. Looks very Poe-esque.

Porn Peddler

Hooray, a long-ass shift to transition from 2011 to 2012.

My boss should make an exception and let me drink a beer...just this once (she shouldn't, I am too tiny to drink a beer at work, I will be drunk, and I will have just woken up...)


@Third Wave Housewife ...I fail to see the issue here.

Porn Peddler

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher In my drunkness I will probably forget to put gloves on before I enter the jizzcade, or something similarly awful.


Black Velvets, anyone?


@spoondisaster Really wanted to like Black Velvets, but the Guiness / bubbly combo tasted swampy and salty to me. You'd think combining two awesome things together would create doublehappiness, but sadly no.


@pank That makes sense. I don't remember what my friend used, but it was a non-Guiness stout and it turned out well. Stouts are usually too heavy for me, so the champagne cut that a little.


If you're going to step up a little (maybe for the first round? Or to drink while getting dressed?) Roederer Estate Brut is pretty great if you like them minerally and dry. It's usually less than $20/bottle.


Unrelated, but a reminder for Toronto - Pinup tonight at Reposado (136 Ossington Ave) at 7pm!


@phlox totally related and very important!


@phlox I can't go because stupid moving tomorrow. :( But let me know if you're doing another one. I really want to go to one, but life keeps getting in the waaaaaaaayyyyyy! :"(


@phlox NO! I am just seeing this now and am stuck in the suburbs!


We're making two gallons of fermented white grape juice with this stuff for the midnight toast. Whether or not it tastes good is pretty relative to how good the party has been until midnight! Plus DIY points, right?


7-Up + Sauv Blanc. The end.
Or use Orange Fanta + Sauv Blanc for an fruity effervescent delight.
The Spaniards have calimixo (red wine and Coca Cola). This is the NYE version, ha!


@workerbee I have friends who drink red wine and sprite which I just think is the most disgusting combo ever. I'll do white wine and lime sparkling water but that's as far as I go. I might try sprite and sauv blanc though!


I bought a bottle of Korbel, speaking of bubbly, to make Frech 75s for Repeal Day. They were (historically accurately) disgusting.


ok seriously, do not drink that andre shit, even if it is cheap. if it is sweet, it will give you a terrible hangover. you can drink more of the dry stuff And suffer less. win-win.

also, it tastes way better. people, hear me. i'm like a champagne prophet. i know what's to come.

aso for new year's you should splurge on one bottle of Veuve Cliquot. Drink the Widow by yourself if you have to, or share with a special friend if you must, but I mean seriously, it's new year's eve, right? Life's too short to drink terrible bubbly.


@littlegirlblue YES. In a slightly more derro/bogan way, me and my gf are cheap wining it for most of the night, and dipping into some moet piccolos for the stroke of midnight.


i'm a bit of a champagne bitch, but there is WAY better quality champagne/sparkling wine for under $15 than the bottles listed here. one is scharffenberger. trust me. do not drink cook's. another favorite is poema cava (which is $10 at my local grocery store in new orleans).


@bisou I'd like to give you an amen for that.


@bisou Aw, now I miss my wine shop that was walking distance from my apartment. That's where I discovered Scharffenberger. And Gruet Blanc de Noirs. He had the best selection.


@bisou Also, for like a dollar more than Cook's, you can get Cristalino, which is way better.

Mad as a Hatter!

Okay, this is incredibly off topic, but I'm begging, BEGGING, for help. I sooooo need to submit a question to Ask a Lady (when really the question is directed to all y'alls) and have looked all over this site and can't find where! I'm panicking! I'll forget how to eloquently word my question and I could get ripped apart for being seemingly stupid.


@Sherlock advice@thehairpin.com

Or ask as us here! Especially if it is timely as it can take awhile to get through the question queue.


@Sherlock yep! we're here if you wanna ask!


@teenie Ooh, that would be fun! We can be your Holiday Break Ladies!

Faintly Macabre

@Ophelia Ask An Idle Lady.

Mad as a Hatter!

@secretbees I did it! How long does it take for these to be answered? I'd ask y'all, but it would include a paragraph of explanation.

Mad as a Hatter!

@Faintly Macabre I think that would be a good column, I'm idle all the time!

"Idle Lady, how do I treat bed sores?"

"Idle Lady, how can I best retrieve the remote from across the room with the least effort?"

"Idle Lady, what is the meaning of life, and are we all just meaningless beings in this vast universe?"


@Sherlock No idea! I think I saw in the comments once that the question had been asked a month before?

You should ask as us anyway, I have not yet encountered a Hairpin commenter who minded paragraphs of text. Plus if we do well we may be asked to become an A Lady! (I assume the comments are a giant audition for various A's, one day I hope to become A pigeon)

Mad as a Hatter!

@secretbees Okay, here's the exact text of my question, no one hit me please!

Okay, I realize that the answer to this could involve my death for being a Stupid Girl. Oh well, here goes. My ex boyfriend, who broke up with me in January 2011, and who I've been doing the FwB thing with for a few months, wants to possibly get back together. Yes, "possibly." I went on some dates with someone else and all of a sudden he said he realized that he didn't want to lose me. If he had asked to get back together earlier, I would have said yes in a heart beat, however, I no longer view him through rose-colored glasses and am not sure of what I should do. I still have feelings for him, and after dating for three years, this is the person who knows me better than anyone else and who firmly stands in the spot of Best Friend. I'm worried if we give it a go, we'll break up and I'll lose him as my best friend forever. And if we don't get back together and date other people, what if those people don't want us to talk? My question is, what should I do in regards to getting back together, and how I can somehow avoid losing him forever?


@Sherlock Phst, that is not a dramatic film slap worthy offense at all! No need to feel bad about asking for help with it, it's a tricky situation. It is late where I am so I shall mull it over and give some actual advice tomorrow, though I imagine some other Idle Ladies will jump in first with some excellent wisdom.

Mad as a Hatter!

@secretbees Also, his family hates me, and that was a key factor in our break up. I felt like I would never be his first priority.


Sorry, this is super long!

Unfortunately there is no right or wrong answer to this, and there is no way to insure against the potential end of friendship.

The problem with the FwB situation you’re in now is that it’s put you in a place where you’re not broken up, but you don’t have to deal with the hard bits that you both know are there. I think that’s why you’re both hesitant to define things, you’ve got all the nice bits going on at the moment, but you know that if you commit to you’ll have to deal with the complicated parts. You’ve got three choices at this point, carry on as is, get back together, go back to being platonic and date other people. Whatever you do, do not carry on as is. It’s definitely possible to have successful FwB relationships, but in your case there is so much going on there that it’s going to keep you trapped in limbo as long as it goes on, and that’s just as likely to destroy a future friendship.

As far as what you should do, first you need to ask yourself some questions: Which relationship is more important to you in the long term, the romantic one or the friendship? What contributed to the break up the first time? Have any of those circumstances changed? If not, how will you deal with those problems when they come up? Also, ask him those questions! It’s totally valid before getting back in to something to say ‘Look, I really care about you and would love to get back together, but I’m concerned that the tension with your family will be an issue again, if that came up what would we do about it?’. Don’t forget, even if he has a logical answer for every problem, if you are still feeling wary you don’t have to get back together, your love life is not a math problem.

It might be a good idea before coming to any decisions to take a break from each other for a month or so – don’t call, text, or gchat. Take the time to strengthen your relationships with other friends and do things on your own. Separating yourself from the situation a little will help you figure out what you actually want from the relationship. Whichever decision you make you’ll be starting from a clean slate. If you decide to just be friends without doing this, definitely do it after so you don’t get stuck in limbo again, if he just wants to carry on as usual say something like: ‘Our friendship is really important to me so I need to take some time away to get used to the change in our relationship’. If he doesn’t respect that he is a doucheblanket. And let him know that dating other people doesn’t mean he is losing you, just that your relationship is different now.

Personally it sounds like you’re leaning to the ‘be friends’ option and the temptation to get back together is coming from a desire to make sure your friendship doesn’t end ‘If we’re dating no one can forbid us from seeing each other!’. You can’t control the future or other people though, just do your best to treat each other well no matter what your relationship is, and try not to date jerks who tell you who you can and can’t see.


So... the reasons you guys initially broke up deserved to be looked at in detail, and discussed together. In your first paragraph, you said he broke up with you, but then you mentioned that you never felt like you would be his first priority, and that was a factor as well. Were there other reasons too? Have these reasons changed? A year can definitely allow people to grow, but sometimes they don't, and if the factors that broke you up back then are still in play now, then it will likely end again.
If you feel like there is a possibility that the factors leading to the break up have changed, then they AT LEAST deserve some significant and detailed discussion. Some people gloss over that in the heat of the moment, the excitement of getting back together with someone who knows you so well, but it's really essential to resolve these issues (especially relating to his family).

In terms of your friendship, and your fears of losing him as a friend, they are not unfounded... it can be difficult to maintain friendships of any kind, much less those friendships that have involved sexy times and extensive emotions. I think that worrying about the friendship is understandable, but try not to let it seep into your current scenario of trying to determine if you guys should rekindle your relationship. You may get back together with him, but doing it because you're worried you'll lose him as a friend is not a good reason. Also, it seems like some of the scenarios you're concerned about, especially regarding future love interests and their ability to handle your friendship, are kind of putting the cart before the horse. One issue at a time.

If he is serious about wanting to get back together, then he should reflect that in his willingness to discuss and try to resolve your previous issues (as should you). And he should also be patient with you to allow you to make a healthy and wise decision about what you want to do. If he is impatient, starts to get petulant, then RED FLAG CITY. There are some dudes (I have personal experience on this one) who will want you because you're wanted by someone else, but then will go back to not giving you your propers once they have you. (the fact that he has communicated his desire to get back together with you now, in the face of you dating others, I think is itself a bit of a red flag).

Feel free to add any more info that you think will help us dissect and Hairpinify your issue! I hope this helps!


@secretbees One more thing. The great thing about Best Friends is that you can make new ones, you can even do this while keeping the old ones. I have 5, some I see almost daily, some I only every talk to every couple of months. It might hurt like crazy if your friendship ends or changes, but it might end up leading to wonderful things.


@secretbees yes, relationships change ALL THE TIME. don't be afraid of it! these changes are usually for good reasons, and aren't necessarily bad things.

Roxanne Rholes

@Sherlock One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from an older friend. I was complaining about my boyfriend's family, and she told me that as stuffy and unromantic as it seemed, I needed to evaluate whether or not I could deal with these people for the rest of my life.

She explained that the longer I dated him, the harder it would be to break up, and that at some point we might get engaged, and then the decision would be even tougher to make. As friends, you won't have to deal with them, but if you ever get married, they're going to be your family, too. I know, I'm a huge downer. But this was something I spent some time struggling with and I'm glad I sorted it out.

Another thing to think about: do you want to put up with these people for a man who applied the word "possibly" to the situation? And if HE told you his family hates you...then that's a pretty mean thing to tell a ladyfriend.

Mad as a Hatter!

@Roxanne Rholes you all are right. I think in the end we'd both be happier if we didn't get back together. The hardest part at this time is getting out of this limbo.

Emotions are stupid.

Mad as a Hatter!

@secretbees Okay so I'm thinking one of the best ways to get over this dude would be to get on a new one. Time to flirt my ass off.

Elaine Tary@facebook

Happy New Year!
Have you ever felt life is lonely and sometimes even boring? You may need a fresh thing to excite your mind. My best friend ,she met a sexy man and they love each other! they date via online dating -casualloving dot c'0M-it's the most effective place in the world to connect with, to find intimate encounters.There you may easily have free scamming with charming and sexy girls or handsome men....
Hope you like it!Good luck!

Faintly Macabre

@Elaine Tary@facebook Free scamming??? But I can get that right here!






Hot damn I love me a champers (or any sparkling wine) cocktail. DRINK ALL THE BUBBLES.




GLORIA FERRER BLANC DE NOIRS! $14 and worth every cent. I've run the gamut on champagne/sparkling wine and this is by far my fave. and cheap.


What is the most champagne-like nonalcoholic beverage available? I ask because sparkling cider from IKEA ain't cutting it any more .


@Nutmeg I like to get a really good sparkling water that has a lot of carbonation (I'm big on the Gerolsteiner lately) and then add a tiny bit of simple syrup and some berries or muddled mint. Ginger syrup is good too.

screwball cate

BAREFOOT! Like 5.99 a bottle for their bubs. Coincidentally the same price I just paid on Amazon for Robyn's "Body Talk" album. I feel effin rich as shit with just 12 bucks right now people. Catch on y'all.


I am very much confident that this is very nice Posting done by you. I always find you your blog interesting. bulk sms nigeria

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account