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FIND YOUR SPARKLE

Cheery libations to toast the holidays

BY BETH DEMMON | PHOTOGRAPHY BY MANDY SCHAFFER

Considering the crises we’ve collectively endured since the pandemic began, there’s never been a better time to toast to what really matters—family, friends, and fun. And is there a more fitting way to celebrate our newfound togetherness than with bubbly beverages? This holiday season, it’s all about the sparkle and shine of effervescence, a visual and palatable expression of joy in a glass. Plus, you don’t have to know a ton about fizz to find it fun.

“Bubbles definitely bring something to the party. Everyone loves them—instant cheer!” says Juerie Masters, co-owner of Clos Wine Shop in University Heights. And cheer doesn’t have to be costly. “A good dry Cava or Cremant will be great at any party and cost significantly less than Champagne,” Juerie explains, adding there’s a fairly standard baseline consumers can expect when it comes to wine. Sparkling wine starts wide-ranging (including any wine with bubbles) and moves up in quality and price from Prosecco to Cava, Cremant, and, finally, to Champagne. “Cava and Champagne will usually state a dryness level, so look for the words ‘Brut,’ ‘Extra Brut,’ or ‘Brut Nature,’” Juerie advises. Regardless of whether bubbly wine is what you’re after or you prefer a carbonated cocktail, two things are certain: your social calendar and glass are about to be completely full with these local picks.

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THE GENTLEMAN’S WHISKEY SMASH
Gentleman Jack, apricot purée, lemon juice, fresh mint, topped with soda water

This La Jolla institution is guaranteed to quench your thirst for something merry, and this fruit-infused whiskey cocktail is ideal for slow sipping. The soda water keeps flavors lively, and, after a few of these, the party is likely to get livelier as well!
NINE-TEN; nine-ten.com

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FLORA 75
Pisco, botanical rosé vermouth, pomegranate, lemon, and Champagne

Renowned bartenders Leigh Lacap and Eric Johnson are the masterminds behind The Waverly’s cocktail program, and their riff on a French 75 is reminiscent of warm nights with all the sparkle of a holiday favorite. The Waverly Public House; thewaverly.com

GRAPEFRUIT HARD SPRITZER
White wine, organically grown grapefruit, cane sugar, spring water, and a hefty dose of carbonation

Charlie & Echo’s spritzers all sparkle brightly on the tongue, but their grapefruit option is sure to transport you to the tropical getaway we’ve all been dreaming about. Find it online or at local wine shops like Clos. Charlie & Echo; charlieandecho.com

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PUMMARO APEROL SPRITZ
Aperol, Prosecco, club soda, and a slice of orange 

While pizza and beer endure as the quintessential duo, pizza and wine remain an underappreciated pairing that’s perfect for elevating an evening at home or on the town. Pummaro’s authentic Neapolitan pizzas can satisfy the entire family while their refreshing spritz provides cheer for those who choose to imbibe. Pummaro; pummaropizzeria.com

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Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, Non-Vintage

It’s a classic for a reason: with a dry finish, bright flavors, and a crisp bite, this French icon has set the bar high for generations. Best of all? For $65, you can have your Veuve and drink it too. Ranch 45; ranch45.com