Day 153 – National Champagne Day (New Year’s Eve)

Now this makes sense.  What better beverage to celebrate on New Year’s Eve than champagne?  Champagne and New Year’s Eve go hand in hand, and rightfully so.  It’s a time to celebrate.  A time to say good bye to the old year filled with memories both good and bad and welcome in the new one which gives us hope and promise of good things to come.  I’ll toast to that.

Our New Year’s Eve plan was exactly what we wanted: dinner at home, just Lola and me, having a cozy evening together.  We are not all that keen on going out for NYE.  We’d much rather go low key.  If we fall asleep before midnight, we are ok with that.  That’s just how we roll.  We still make it festive, but we just keep it simple, so that was our plan.  I went out in the afternoon to gather some groceries for our dinner and while I was out, I picked up a bottle of champagne to help celebrate the night.  Our menu for the night would be lamb lollipop chops cooked on the grill topped in a Green Goddess Mint Sauce.  It’s a recipe I found from Dan Akroyd of all people (yes Dan Akroyd of Saturday Night Live fame).  He shared it with Martha Stewart on her show and it’s pretty darn good, especially the dipping sauce which is made with fresh mint, cilantro and scallions.  I also made some Betty Crocker cheesy scalloped potatoes (the kind from the box) because they are awesome.  It was a nice little accompaniment.

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While I was grilling the chops, which only take a few minutes, I popped open a Miller High Life. I only tell you this because anyone familiar with the history of Miller High Life knows that it is the champagne of beers (at least it is according to their longstanding slogan).  If I was having a beer on Champagne Day, it should definitely be the champagne of beers.  That’s kind of a weird slogan, as if whoever created was trying to class up the act.  But beer and champagne aren’t all that relatable.  It would be like touting a Fish Filet sandwich as the caviar of fish sandwiches.  But kudos to good marketing because calling a High Life the champagne of beers is a slogan I’ll always repeat and hear from others.  It’s a good product (you may know I am a fan), but it’s no substitute for the bubbly.

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When I was at the package store, I bought a bottle of Rivarose Brut sparkling rosé wine.  To clarify, champagne is a term used for sparkling wine with grapes harvested specifically in the Champagne region of northeastern France that adhere to rules requiring secondary fermentation.  That’s pretty specific.  So all champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne.  Champagne can get pricy here in Rhode Island and I’m not all that much of a connoisseur, so I ask that you forgive my selection for not being actual champagne.  Sometimes you have to be practical and for all intents and purposes, having some sparkling wine was just like having champagne.  It opened with the pop of a cork, it was bubbly and tickled my nose and we were celebrating with it.  It was completely champagne-like in every way except for not meeting the very specific definition of champagne.  I was ok with that and I hope you are too.

What intrigued me most about this bottle was that it was pink because it was a sparkling rosé wine.  As soon as I saw it, I started humming the song “Hotel California” and the verse about “pink champagne on ice” began looping in my head.  It’s funny how that kind of thought process works.  That’s what made me purchase it.  I think I should bill Don Henley for it.  In any case, when I went home, I put it on ice and gathered for the feast in the master’s chambers … I mean kitchen.

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We popped the bottle open around 8 pm after our lamb chop dinner and gave a toast to both the new year and a fond adieu to 2016.  We both agreed that 2016 wasn’t all that bad.  Sure it had some pretty low lows in there, but we survived.   We are still pretty happy people and we had each other.  It was worth toasting.  The struggle continues into 2017, but making sure we celebrate all the good things will be important to survive.  That was what we toasted with a clink of our glasses.  The champagne (ok, sparkling wine) was pretty good.  Crisp, on the sweeter side, but smooth.  As good as any sparkling wine I’ve ever had.

I should mention that Lola had one of those mornings where she was up super early (like 5 am early), so we both knew there was a big probability she might not make midnight.  She also wasn’t much in a drinking mode either, so she had a sip with our New Year’s toast and then put the glass down.  I on the other hand seemed to be ready to roll.  Maybe I had just pumped myself up for it, maybe it was just a tasty vintage or maybe it was this quest that was pushing me, but I finished my glass and then poured another.  And another.  After much debate about what to watch, we decided to go with a classic movie that we had never seen: To Kill a Mockingbird.  Perhaps it was a tribute to the 2016 death of Harper Lee, but it was the one thing from the Netflix menu that intrigued us both so we put it on and settled in.  We started watching.  Perhaps it was the soothing tone of Gregory Peck’s voice, but Lola started to doze in and out.  I ended up killing the bottle of champagne with Scout and Boo Radley.

Lola woke up well before midnight and we were able to ring in the New Year together (and also cringe at Mariah Carey with the rest of the world).  I’m sure it may seem like a pretty lame night, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.  It’s just what we wanted to do.  We celebrated with champagne, we had a great dinner and we enjoyed each other’s company.  That’s a pretty nice place to be and a good way to face the new year.  We are both eager for what 2017 will bring.  We hope it brings health, and hope, and fortune, and happiness.  We hope we keep laughing together.  We just have hope, which is what every New Year should hold (along with a glass or two of some sparking wine).

Happy New Year to one and all!

Next Up: National Polar Bear Swim Day 

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