O Susana

O Susana

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  1. Who doesn’t love well-chilled champagne?  You may answer that those who disdain alcohol don’t like the stuff, but how would they know if they never tried it?

    My love affair with champagne began when I was about 13 years-old.  Two blocks from our house was a buffet restaurant where we frequently enjoyed Sunday brunch; not because the food was great, but because it was so close that Dad didn’t have to drive us and could enjoy a few glasses of the bubbly without worry.  Apparently, the restaurant had a policy of serving champagne to virtually everyone who walked in that was taller than five feet, because they had no qualms about pouring glass after glass for everyone in my family of eight except for my little sister (who was about eight at that time and therefore under five feet tall), even though all four of my older siblings were under 21.  So we regularly ambled down to the restaurant every third or fourth Sunday, then staggered home filled to the gills with roast beef, eggs Benedict, sausages and bacon, and more than a little very cheap champagne.

    As I grew older, my tastes became only slightly more sophisticated, but mature enough to turn up my nose should someone try to pour me a glass of Andre champagne, but I was not so snooty that I would pass up my own personal bottle of Korbel Brut or Natural.  While not considered by any to be excellent champagne, I still enjoy Korbel, and now Barefoot Winery of Australia has its own champagne that is comparable to Korbel. 


     Even when making a cocktail using champagne, I advise you to avoid Andre, Cooks or any other brand that costs less than $10 a bottle (unless it’s on sale; I frequently find Korbel on sale for $8/bottle).  Unlike many cocktails made with hard liquor, champagne cocktails are usually only slightly flavored with other ingredients so that the taste of the champagne comes through clearly.  If you use really cheap champagne for such a cocktail, your guests may drink it but they won’t like it, and if any already holds a grudge against you it could be a catalyst to harsh payback that would have been avoided easily had you just used Korbel instead of swill.

    As for the name of this drink, O’ Susana, I don’t have any witty or amusing story to go with it.  It just popped into my head—along with a song you may have heard when you were a kid—and stuck.

    Here’s what you do:

    • Chill the champagne in an ice bucket for at least half an hour, preferably for more than an hour
    • Keep the Lemon Cello in the refrigerator until ready to use
    • In a champagne flute, add 1/4 oz. Lemon Cello
    • Fill to the top with champagne
    • Garnish with a slice or twist of lemon

    It’s just that simple.  If you use dry champagne (brut or natural), the drink will be slightly tart but refreshing; if you use a sweater champagne (“extra dry,” a term I have never understood as “extra dry” champagne is the sweetest you can buy) the cocktail will be slightly sweet.

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