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When I was twenty I left my family to live on Jersey, which is part of the Channel Islands and situated just a few miles from Northern France. Although they depend on Britain for defense and foreign affairs, the Islands have their own governments and are considered tax havens.
I look back on my four years there with so much fondness, as I made some wonderful friends, travelled frequently for lunches in France and had some truly memorable experiences. Needless to say money went a lot further over there — and it just so happened that it was in Jersey where I developed my liking for pink champagne.
Several years later, in London this time, I studied at a cooking school from which I graduated with a diploma in food — and wine! Whilst those frequent wine tasting days are a thing of the past, once in a while I do like to think I could celebrate an occasion with a glass or two of something that I know won’t challenge my body in quite the same way.
Making this pink “champagne” takes a little bit of thinking ahead. Whilst it’s extremely simple to do, both stages need time to either infuse or strain, so plan ahead. But rest assured this won’t leave you feeling like a bear with a sore head next morning!Gerolsteiner is perfect for this recipe as it is delicate and lightly sparkling. I find the heaviness and big bubbles of Perrier and the like to be way too heavy, so don’t buy those. Cheers!
- For the lemongrass syrup:
- 2 rounded tablespoons honey
- ¾ cup filtered water
- 2 large lemongrass stalks, chopped
- For the raspberry cordial:
- 2+1/2 cups frozen red raspberries (I use one 284g packet from Stahlbush)
- 1 cup filtered water
- Lightly sparkling water (I recommend Gerolsteiner)
- Needed: clean jelly/nut bag or piece of muslin
- For the lemongrass syrup: Put all the ingredients into a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the honey. Turn down to a brisk simmer and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely. Leave for 6 hours to infuse. Makes ⅓ cup.
- For the raspberry cordial: Meanwhile, put the raspberries into a medium pan along with the water. Bring up to a simmer and cook for around 18 minutes until the fruits have completely broken down. Remove from the heat, set aside and allow to cool.
- Set a jelly bag or large fine sieve lined with muslin over a medium bowl. Add the raspberry cordial contents and leave for a couple of hours for the juice to drip through. Don't push it along or you'll make the juice cloudy. This will yield around ½ cup.
- Once the lemongrass syrup is cooled, combine it with the raspberry cordial.
- To serve, pour 1 part cordial mixture to 1½ parts sparkling water into a jug and taste. You may like yours stronger or weaker so adjust accordingly. When you've found the ratio that works for you, pour into champagne glasses.