To me, life and its experiences have always been intrinsically tied to the food we create and consume together. Food has a way of wrapping around our hearts, stirring up magic, and unlocking memories. And have you noticed how everyone’s favorite recipe has a story? It’s always such a privilege to hear these stories from a dear friend or beloved family member while they’re cooking or serving the dish. So as a special holiday treat, I asked a few of the Behaviorists and one guest author to share their own holiday stories along with a favorite recipe.
This week our guest author is Susannah Brinkley from Feast + West. She loves The Nutcracker and was inspired by this famous ballet to create a bubbly, floral drink that’s perfect to ring in the new year! Please give Susannah a warm Model Behaviors welcome!
My fondest childhood holiday memories always come back to one thing―”The Nutcracker.” I haven’t done ballet in years, but a few measures of any Tchaikovsky musical number still send me into pirouettes all December long. I practiced ballet from a young age until a knee injury when I was a teenager. After that, I decided to pursue art and writing over surgery and more dancing.
I figure I was in “The Nutcracker” at least eight times, maybe more, playing everything from a Party Girl to a Gingerbread Child to a Candy Cane. (I was even a Party Boy once, because our company was short on male dancers.) Every year it was more delightful than the last. I looked forward to taking a few days off from school to perform, not to mention wearing costumes, makeup, and glitter!
There are so many foods and cocktails I could make inspired by this candy-themed ballet story. Sugar plums, gingerbread men, Chinese tea cakes—it’s easy to find culinary creativity in the Land of the Sweets.
For this cocktail, the Pomegranate Elderflower Sparkler, I was instead inspired by the Waltz of the Flowers to twirl me into the new year. The champagne bubbles make the pomegranate seeds dance gracefully like ballerinas, up and down and up again inside the champagne flutes. The sweetly tart juice of the pomegranate plays well with dry champagne, and a spot of elderflower liqueur gives the cocktail a subtle floral sweetness. And let’s not forget that pomegranate has some amazing health benefits, like lowering the risk of heart disease and reducing joint pain (source).
I remember the year I had to say goodbye to dancing, because of my injury, and find a new interest to devote my time to. It’s a lot like a new year—a blank page before you. Better to start off with a cocktail, don’t you think?
- 1 ounce elderflower liqueur (I like St. Germain)
- 2 ounces pomegranate juice
- 4-6 ounces brut champagne
- fresh pomegranate seeds
- In a champagne flute, combine the elderflower liqueur and pomegranate juice.
- Top with champagne.
- Garnish with 6 to 8 pomegranate seeds.