A cool, classy champagne cocktail to ring in the new year. Even while savouring the old.
There’s been a recent resurgence of love for David Bowie in our home recently. Fueled by his musical brilliance, of course, but also his killer performance in this episode of Ricky Gervais’s Extras.
So when I was naming this cocktail, looking for a way to play on the time/thyme thing, the line “Time takes a cigarette/puts it in your mouth” from Bowie’s Rock-n-Roll Suicide was…well…on the tip of my tongue.
Bowie’s line is a paraphrase from a poem that likens time to a cigarette that can either be smoked up in a hurry or savoured. Speaking quite generally, the song bears witness to the painful end of an era. But also, in my opinion, expresses hope. Or, at least, the possibility for hope.
Nothing is simple. But the complexity is rich. And utterly beautiful.
So the Thyme Takes a Cigarette incorporates a variety of flavors that are meant to symbolize the ever-shifting phases, perspectives and philosophies we artfully weave together to create our lives.
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There’s the dry, herbal tang of gin. Woodsy thyme distilled into a sweet simple syrup. The exuberant effervescence of brut champagne that seems to suck all the moisture out of your mouth even as it slakes your thirst. And the dried cranberries, soaked in gin and Angostura bitters, that add color as well as giving you just enough to ‘chew on’ while you move…joyfully AND mindfully…into your next phase.
The perfect ratio for this cocktail is 1 part thyme simple syrup, 2 parts gin and 4 parts champagne. The exact measurements I lay out in the recipe may vary depending on the size of your flute. Adjust accordingly because you’ll want to fill your glass to the top.
**I feel the need to apologize for the sudden onset of a condition I can only call What’s-With-The-U-Do-You-Think-You’re-British-or-Something-itis. My innate pensiveness around the end of the year plus the Bowie inspiration made me feel that I had every right to spell it “savour.” In fact, it seemed mandatory. **
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- gin to cover
- 5 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 ounce thyme simple syrup
- 2 ounces gin
- 4 ounces champagne
Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring, until sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes.
Strain into air tight container, let cool completely and store in refrigerator.
Combine all three ingredients and store in air tight container.
In a cocktail shaker, with ice, combine syrup and gin. Stir.
Place two cranberries at the bottom of a champagne flute.
Strain gin and syrup into flute.
Top with champagne.
Make the syrup well in advance so it is plenty cool at cocktail time. It will keep in the fridge for 3 weeks to a month.