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Wine & Spirits

Top Pops: Ten Great Champagnes for 2010


Illustration by Fabrice Fortin for Paris By Appointment Only™

Before you head to the shop to pick up some bottles of bubbly to fête the New Year, check out this alternative list of champagnes compiled especially for ParisBAO by
blogger extraordinare and private wine consultant, Sharon Bowman.

Text Sharon Bowman, photos courtesy Thomas Iversen, Brooklynguy and Gourmet Traveller

One of the greatest pleasures in daily life is something that allows us to slip outside of daily life. Champagne transports us in a way that still wines do not. The distinctive sound of its cork popping, heard across a city courtyard or a bustling wine bar, immediately turns heads and piques desire and appetite. It conjures up images of pleasure and sparkling indulgence. But why leave the bottle in a neighbor’s flat or some other carouser’s glass? It’s the holiday season, and is now the time to start (or continue) a happy little habit that brings joy festivity.

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Cocktail Appreciation Course at the Ritz


Anyone who’s every tried to find a proper American martini (no, not the sweet vermouth!!) in Paris knows that while the city lays claim to many indulgent pleasures, the cocktail is not one of them. Luckily, Colin Field, the master mixologist who transformed the historic Bar Hemingway at the Ritz Hotel from dusty relic to vibrant laboratory of libations, is doing his part to change all that.

While Field’s cocktail philosophy is complex and his affect over-the-top, he’s cocktails are anything but. A minimalist at heart, Field privileges purity, simplicity and elegance above all, going so far as to create his own essences, such as wild strawberry vodka elixirs and homemade coconut liquor, to capture aromas without the distraction of sweet.

colin-mag-20 Author of the best-selling book The Cocktails of the Ritz and winner of multiple awards, multilingual Field  shares the secrets to his craft with a handful of participants several times a month during a special cocktail appreciation course at the Bar Hemingway.

During this stand-out two hour class (which invariably runs over to accommodate Field’s flamboyant storytelling), hear all about the bar’s famed beginnings as Ernest Hemingway’s den of debauchery, sit on Coco Chanel’s favorite seat, learn how to properly shake a mixer, silently pop a champagne cork, refine your taste buds, and conceive of luscious cocktails to impress the kids at home.

Cost: 100 Euros/person

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