Serving one specialty cocktail at your holiday party is an easy way to impress your guests and avoid having to stock up your bar with an endless number of liqueurs, bitters, and syrups. Experimental Cocktail Club ($23; amazon.com), a collection of recipes inspired by a bar franchise of the same name, will see you through at least the next 85 soirees with its impressive, kooky, and classic beverages. Experimental Cocktail Club, which has locations in Paris, London, and N.Y.C., was established in 2007 by childhood friends Romée de Goriainoff, Pierre-Charles Cros, and Olivier Bon. Their creations simultaneously celebrate the history of cocktails while kicking them up several notches—consider the "Winnie the Pooh," which puts a twist on the classic Negroni by subbing out traditional gin and sweet vermouth for white light rum and white vermouth. Below, a recipe for “Madame Rêve,” a fruity, spiced champagne cocktail perfect to cap off any evening.
1 large strawberry
3/4 fl oz fresh lime juice
2 fl oz spice-infused Aperol, see below for recipe
Champagne, to top
For the spice-infused Aperol:
1. Place star anise, vanilla pod, cloves, whole nutmeg and cinnamon stick into the bottle of Aperol and leave to infuse. The longer you leave it, the stronger the flavor, so test from time to time and strain when you are happy.
For the cocktail:
1. Place the strawberry in a cocktail shaker, muddle, then add the lemon juice and Aperol.
2. Top up with ice, then shake vigorously until frost appears on the outside of the shaker.
3. Double strain into a chilled coupette, top up with champagne, and serve.