Bubbly Champagne makes the perfect, effervescent pairing for potato latkes and other fried foods served on Hanukkah. Here, apple cider enhanced with homemade fennel seed syrup and offset with a splash of lemon juice puts a cozy, winter-friendly spin on a classic Champagne bellini.
The fennel syrup is simple to prepare and keeps well in the fridge, making it the perfect prep-ahead base for holiday cocktails. On the night of the party, just pour, swizzle, and serve to keep guests' glasses clinking.
For the syrup:
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 cup water
For each cocktail:
1/3 cup apple cider or unfiltered apple juice, chilled
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Make the fennel syrup: Coarsely grind the fennel seeds in a spice grinder. Place in a small saucepan and add the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes.
Pour the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer set over a small bowl and let cool until room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the cocktail: For each cocktail, place the fennel syrup, apple cider, and lemon juice in a tall Champagne flute and stir to combine. Top with Champagne.
- Make ahead: The syrup can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.
Reprinted with permission from Little Book of Jewish Appetizers by Leah Koenig, copyright (c) 2017. Published by Chronicle Books.