Chambourd and Vodka (alternate: If Cosmopolitans Tasted Good)

Here’s my interpretation of a drink I had while traveling a few years ago. After a hectic day of suffering though mass transportation and shopping for gifts, I found myself in a nice lounge in the high-rent district, fully prepared to unwind with some drinks. As a prelude to something more serious, I decided to try a cocktail made with vodka, sparkling wine, and Chambourd, a French liqueur made from black raspberries and herbs. And goddamnit if it didn’t taste good! Once I returned stateside from traveling I was determined to reverse-engineer the recipe. I think it turned out as good, if not better than the original.

This recipe is fairly precise in that you ABSOLUTELY must use Chambourd, a decent vodka, a mediocre sparkling wine, and lemon juice (oddly enough, the lemon is a crucial ingredient) in my exact proportions. And although Chambourd is EXPENSIVE ($35/bottle), it’s fairly intense – so a little is all you need for most drinks. Unless you’re having cocktail parties on a weekly basis, that bottle’s gonna stick around for a bit. I made the investment thinking that I could pass on the remainder of the bottle to my grandchildren. As far as the vodka is concerned the Chambourd, sparkling wine, and lemon juice should kill any harshness – but stay away from anything in a plastic bottle, or anything with “WILD” in its name or a feral animal on the label. I used Skyy and was very happy with the results.

Sparkling wine. I’m not calling it Champagne because only wines from Champagne, France that meet certain restrictions can be called Champagne, and are therefore very pricey. All that’s required for this drink is a sparkling wine made in the Champagne style, unless you’re looking to kill some leftovers from New Year’s Eve. Just stay away from the sweeter varieties; most Brut or Extra-Dry types will do (between the two, Brut is the dryer, but Extra-Dry is by no means sweet). You really need a dry sparkling wine in this case – Champagne or not – to really make this work; something as sweet as an Asti Spumanti will ruin the drink. I used an extra-dry Cava and it did the job just fine. Your local wine and spirits shop should yield a wallet friendly candidate. In short, no Champale.

The portioning on this will make one awesome drink if you have big martini glasses like I do, or two normal-sized drinks if you don’t. In a glass filled with ice, combine the following:

  • 2oz Chambourd
  • 5oz sparkling wine (extra dry or brut)
  • 3oz vodka
  • squeeze half of one lemon into the mix

Next, wipe the rim of the glass with a lemon wedge-it makes a noticeable difference-strain in the mixture, and you’re done! Although I can’t take credit for the inspiration, this borders on cocktail perfection: the sweetness of the Chambourd and tartness of the lemon are balanced by the yeasty-dryness and fizz of the wine, with the vodka warming it all up at the end.


2 thoughts on “Chambourd and Vodka (alternate: If Cosmopolitans Tasted Good)

  1. since we’re now into the 5th day of being stuck inside i’m expanding my drink repertoire, thanks for this recipe, i added a bit more sparkling wine (mainly cause i now have to get through a whole bottle) but the overall effect is great.

    Since you now have chambourd i highly recommend adding it to an irish coffee, just a half shot or less makes a huge difference!

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