Just after 3pm on Saturday, sub 2 hours before party time, the husband and I went on our final supply run. We needed wine, beer, and bug spray. The food was prepped and the yard was choreographed for maximum guest interactivity (more on that in another post).
Our journey to town needed to be highly efficient, so we went straight to our favorite wine store in Montauk, The Finest Kind. As we were short on time, we originally rebuffed our favorite wine merchant’s suggestion that we duck outside for a tasting of champagne. We didn’t have time built into our schedule to dally with champagne and surely it was a better idea to stay on course and keep a clear head about our party planning selves? But our wine merchant looked so happy holding his big plastic chalice of sparkling pink champagne. And there was fruit in the glass and it was on ice. And really it is rude to say no, it is my year of yes, and the owner’s dog Bailey was outside perched next to the display. Emboldened by these factors we stepped outside to hear the pitch. Best move of the day! Maybe the summer!
The strapping and blond Veuve Clicquot salesperson, we will call him Sven, rose quickly to the occasion. Our sampler cups were filled in no time at all and we got to choose our accoutrement, selecting between grapefruit or jalapeño. We played it safe and went with grapefruit. With one arm slung over Bailey’s golden retriever back and the other jauntily holding my paper sampler champagne cup I had my first taste of pink champagne on ice with grapefruit. Genius!
Clearly the company took notice of the rose rage and then leap frogged right over it. The champagne was brewed to be more viscous (which really is not the most appealing word) so “rich” is what they use in the marketing descriptions and what is written in script across the pretty in pink label. The “rich” brew enables the liquid to co-mingle more effectively with it’s co-stars: the ice and ingredient accessory of choice. On the website they have all sorts of ideas on what to add your bubbly party in a cup. The bottle itself is silver which really makes the pink pop and adds that much more to the festive nature of the offering. Obviously we had to try the jalapeño next…zing! Never would have thought of this myself but the refreshing fizz followed by the zing of the pepper made for a delightful combination.
By this time we were fast friends with Sven (turns out his name is really Blake) and began a bit of wheeling and dealing. I pointed out that the Veuve cups he had in his display seemed like just the right way to introduce the drink to our guests and Sven got more and more generous with things as we bought more and more bottles. We left with one case of Veuve Clicquot Rich, 16 plastic – but seem like glass – flutes, one eye popping orange ice bucket, 4 clear plastic bowls for our sides offerings, and a new book: The Widow Clicquot by Tilar Mazzeo. Nothing makes me happier than when someone hands me a book…well, maybe nothing except, fizzy pink champagne with a jalapeño. I was happy. Blake likes it when his customers are happy. He says it is his job.
And you know who else was happy? About 90 minutes later…our guests! There was much oohing and ahhing as the rich brew was playfully poured into our newly acquired drinking vessels that were filled halfway with ice. Casually our friends chose between cucumber, grapefruit or jalapeño to jazz up their already pretty jazzy drinks.
Some were conservative starting only with cucumber others dove right in and courageously added all three to their first cocktail. There were LOTS of questions about how we made this discovery. I talked fondly of our time with Blake and made a mental note to find out where he might be next (need to work on that). Other customers were running to their cars clutching their cases of party guest pleasers. Everyone was smiling and our guests stayed smiling throughout the night.
I received lots of nice notes the next day thanking us for the party. Usually my husband’s cooking gets all of the headlines in these notes, but not this year. This year the thanks were largely about the pink drinks we handed our guests upon arrival. Thank you Veuve Cliquot Rich and thank you Blake for being at the exact right place at the exact right time and giving us the exact right way to add a zippy punch to our party. It was a crowd pleaser for sure and now a whole lot of my friend’s new favorite summer libation. And a drink that matches the sunset is never a bad idea. Cheers to that!