I love a good, dark beer. But sometimes beer brandishing the color and viscosity of used motor oil does not appeal to everyone. Enter The Black Luxury; a game day cocktail that combines the seductive sophistication of Spain with America’s favorite pastime – football.
If you’re a regular reader you know we love Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine created in 1872 by Josep Raventós. From the same word in Latin for cave, “cava” is a Greek term historically used to refer to high-end table wine, or a wine cellar. Caves were used in the nascent days of Cava production for the preservation or aging of wine. Cavas are now synonymous with Spanish family traditions and are often consumed at baptism celebrations with even the newborn getting a taste of her pacifier dipped in the wine.
So how and why did Raventós baptise Spain with this lovely sparkler? Well, at the time, the vineyards of Penedès had been devastated by the phylloxera plague. The predominantly red vines were being replaced by large numbers of vines producing white grapes. After seeing the success of the Champagne region, Raventós decided to create the dry sparkling wine that has become the reason for the region’s continued success. In the past the wine was referred to as Spanish Champagne (no longer permitted under EU law), or colloquially as champaña or xampany.
But back to our cocktail. The folks at Friexenet (pronounced “fresh-eh-net”) hooked up with mixologist maestro Javier De Las Muelas, innovator and Manager of restaurants and cocktail dining in Barcelona, Madrid, San Sebastian, Gerona (Aiguablava), Palma de Mallorca, Boston and Bali, to create Freixenet’s The Black Cocktails Collection. The collection features 12 different cocktails using Freixenet’s most popular cava, Cordon Negro Brut, as the base.
They have also created a really cool app in Spanish, available on iTunes and Google here.
It tastes a bit like a dark chocolate blackberry Lambic. We didn’t have any gold flecks or olive picks handy, but we did have some football picks to help us get into the Super Bowl spirit.
Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut is 12% alcohol by volume and is sold in several sizes including a 3-pack of 187 ml each, perfect for mixing in cocktails. The 750 ml bottle is priced under $10.00.
Make it Local! Grab a Neighborhood Stout
As the #1 imported sparkling wine in the world, Cordon Negro Brut is available in nearly every wine venue. You can find Blackberry liqueur in your local liquor store, as well as a good dark stout like Guinness. But I like to mix it up with some other craft beers. Some of my favorite’s are Young’s Double Chocolate Stout from England, Left Hand Milk Stout (Colorado), Stone Brewing Company Imperial Russian Stout (California) and Deschutes Brewery Obsidian Stout (Oregon).
But suppose you want to choose sides? Say, for the Super Bowl?
If you’re a Seattle Seakhawks’ fan, we recommend Pike Extra Stout, a year round full-bodied velvety malt textured beer with hints of chocolate, licorice and espresso. The third oldest independently-owned brewery in Washington, Pike Brewing Company is located right beside Seattle’s Famous Pike Market Place, and is a great place to visit, eat and drink!
Don’t feel deflated Patriots’ fans, New England is home to many a brewery both micro and mega, so you won’t have to break many rules to find one. Head to the grocery store and pick up a Samuel Adams Cream Stout.
Maybe your team is sitting at home from playoffs heartbreak, or just bad officiating. If you cannot bring yourself to watch the big game (even if just for the commercials) you can still enjoy this cocktail with a local twist! If you’re a fan of Pro Bowl MVP Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions, Bell’s Brewery makes a number of fine beers including Kalamazoo Stout.
Still cannot believe that Dez Bryant did not complete the process? For incredulous Cowboys’ fans, Texas is home to a number of breweries producing stouts. Some of my local favorites are Saint Arnold’s Winter Stout, (512) Imperial Stout, and Southern Star’s Buried Hatchet Stout. Shiner Brewery has a lower alcohol (5%) Chocolate Stout called Birthday Beer that is quite a bargain!
Want to find a stout to make your own Black Luxury and to cheer your team on? Check out Beer Advocate’s database of over 5000 stouts still in production here.
Of course, feel free to celebrate any occasion with a bottle of Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut all by itself.