Casual Holiday Brunch with #Freixenet

The holidays are a magical time of year. There are tons of opportunities to host your friends and family and create special moments together. But by New Year’s Day we are all pretty tapped out in the energy department. A casual brunch is all you need for starting off the new year on the right foot.

Bubbles are a must at brunch. Not only do they pair really well with most breakfast foods, but a glass of sparkling wine generally makes any occasion feel a bit more special. Freixenet (pronounced Fresh-eh-net) is a great option for your brunch beverage needs. Not only is it easy to find (available in most grocery stores including Trader Joe’s), but has a great price point, although they don’t sacrifice the quality just to be more cost effective. Total win for us.

The Cordon Negro is crisp and clean with notes of citrus and a hint of ginger (yes please). Not to mention the black bottle is totally chic and dare I say a bit sexy…It is a versatile Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and goes really well with foods with spice like a flavorful breakfast sausage or charcuterie tray. And for the first time in 20 years, Freixenet has launched a new variety, the Cordon Negro Brut Sweet Cuvee (notes of peach and tropical flavors). This blend is a bit sweeter making it the perfect morning wine. Yes, I said that. This goes perfectly with something like a raspberry Danish (my fave brunch treat that happens to be store bought, can’t be any easier) or to sip on its own. Don’t get me wrong, it is still quite dry and not overly sweet. You will never find me drinking a sweet wine.

Being that it is brunch, make sure to still offer the traditional morning beverages like tea and coffee. And if the morning is chilly think of offering an optional “hot toddy” like the hot whiskey and honey that is my husband’s family’s tradition. While you are aiming to keep it easy, you still want to make sure that your guests needs are met (within reason).

No need to go crazy on the decorations. Simply use what you have to set a pretty table. Use sparkly leftovers from your festive New Year’s Eve celebrating to give the table some drama. I added a string of crystal shaped lights to the table to make it look like it was glowing. Lights are a fun way to decorate and I wish that people used them more throughout the year instead of just at holiday time. Using leftover wrapping paper creates the world’s easiest table runner and if you can’t leave well enough alone (that is my personal motto) add some coordinating fabric to give the table more texture. And of course fresh flowers never hurt.

Since New Year’s Day is a lazy day for us where we lounge in pajamas and just relax after late night festivities, the food must be kept simple. Quick, pre-made bacon quiche bites are perfect and are delicious when paired with the Cordon Negro Brut. Set out the food, a self-serve drink station and your work is done. Have you heard of using marmalades in your cocktails? Kind of the perfect accompaniment for brunch, am I right?

Freixenet has a really fun promotion happening right now. They’ve been touring the country in a pair of MINI Coopers. With stops at retailers and restaurants, they’ve been sharing samples of the sparkling wines and playing games for a chance to win a 2 year lease on a brand new MINI Cooper! You can play too. Look for “hidden bubbles” with reward codes throughout their site, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages, as well as at the tour stops. Once you find the bubble, visit www.findthebubbles.com to enter the codes. Good luck!

Who says the holidays are the only time for bubbles? Make it your resolution to sparkle 365 days of the year with Freixenet cavas. Our sparkling wines come in a variety of different styles to suit any moment or mood. Cordon Negro Brut, our classic Black Bottle Bubbly, is great as an aperitif before a night out on the town or at home with takeout pizza. Our brand new Cordon Negro Sweet Cuvee is the perfect match for brunch favorites like pancakes and eggs benedict. Visit FreixenetUSA.com for more information about where to buy Freixenet sparkling wines and learn how you could win a 2-year lease on a new 2013 MINI Cooper.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Freixenet. The opinions and text are all mine.

Muddled Ginger Strawberry Sparkling Water

*This post is sponsored by Arrowhead® Brand Sparkling Mountain Spring Water.
RecipeWhelp, its hump day again.  Arrowhead® Brand Sparkling Mountain Spring Water wants you to make a “Feel Good Moment” for yourself today and every Wednesday.  Last week I talked about how much I love sparkling water.  Today I thought I would share one of my favorite ways to drink it.  This muddled ginger and strawberry drink recipe is SO tasty!  My friend Danae mentioned she was drinking this one day on her instagram and I immediately had to try it.  I LOVE fresh ginger but had never thought to add to a drink.

ginger-strawberry-lime-and-mintI very rarely use fresh ginger.  But for some reason I always have some in my freezer.  Ever since I made a syrup with it for homemade ginger ale for my son’s birthday party I have kept it on hand.  The smell always gives me a quick pick me up.  I’m very picky about the freshness of my fruit, but I hate to waste it.  This is a great recipe for strawberries that are looking a little sad.

peel-ginger-with-a-spoonDo you know the trick of using a spoon to peel the ginger?  So easy and quick.

fresh ginger in glassMake this recipe to your taste.  Slice up some fresh ginger and add to your glass.

limesAdd as much lime as you like.  I add 3 of these cut up pieces.

add-fruit-to-glassRoughly cut your strawberries and add them to the limes and ginger.

muddle-fruit-in-glassThen muddle your little heart out.  I’m sure there are rules for not being too rough with your fruit but I just wanted to make sure that I was able to get the limes to release their oils and juice and make a dent in the ginger to release its flavor.  The strawberries get pretty squashed.

Arrowhead Sparkling WaterAdd ice to your glass and top with Arrowhead® Brand Sparkling Mountain Spring Water.  Place a sprig of mint in the palm of your hand.  Clap your hands together a time or two to get the mint to release its fragrance.  Add the mint and a straw to your glass and enjoy.

lime-ginger-strawberry-sparkling-waterThis is super refreshing and delicious.  The fresh ginger gives it a little kick and the fresh lime and strawberry just work so well with it.  You will get pieces of fruit stuck in your straw.  If you give it a little mix with the straw you can see from the shot above that the larger pieces can get stuck up on top of the ice and make it less likely to stop up your straw.

ginger-lime-strawberry-waterOr skip the straw altogether and guzzle the crap out of the this.  It’s that good.  The fresh ginger really makes this special.  Are you a fan of fresh ginger?

Thank you for sponsoring this conversation, Arrowhead® Brand Sparkling Mountain Spring Water.  What are you going to do for yourself today?  Need tips?  Head to their Facebook page to see what others are doing to get through hump day.  Share your moments there too!