Cooking with Caitlin: Get bubbly over the Pig by toasting the runners with champagne floats

CINCINNATI - Whether you’re running, walking, cheering, or working as a grunt, there’s a good chance you’ll be tangled up in this weekend’s Flying Pig Marathon festivities. After months and months of planning to make it all happen, this week we taper ourselves in preparation for the main event. On these days, much is made of healthy proteins, energy-boosting electrolytes and carbo-loading to get our bodies through the race. But we have some thoughts on the fluids your mind and spirit should look forward to enjoying after crossing the finish line…

How about something bubbly to celebrate an undertaking as phenomenal as the Pig? For participants, cheerleaders and grunts alike, there is no better way to wrap the race than with a sweet spread of champagne floats. Serve them as the signature cocktail of an early-afternoon happy hour on Sunday, and scoop them right through supper as a hard-earned dessert.

Here begins a very basic design on a champagne float, colored pink in honor of the Pig. Keep reading for all sorts of ways to tailor the tastes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of Champagne
  • 2 lbs. Frozen Strawberries
  • Fresh Thyme

Instructions:

  1. Combine the frozen strawberries with 1 cup of cool water in the blender. Turn to high speed and blend to a smooth consistency. Transfer to an air-tight container and store in the freezer.
  2. When you are ready to serve the floats, scoop the frozen blended strawberries into the bottom of some champagne flutes, a set of special glasses, or a tray of disposable cups. Pour the champagne until the glass is half full. Garnish with fresh thyme and enjoy right away.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 0 Minutes Yields: 12+ portions.

Tips + Tricks:

**Any sparkling wine will do the job; choose according to the level of sweeten you desire. Play with everything from a less sweet brut champagne to a definitely sweet Moscato.

**Substitute lemon, blood orange, mango, or any flavor sorbet for the strawberries. Have fun with fresh herbs too; tear into rosemary for heartiness, tarragon for a licorice flavor, or mint for crispness.

**Prepare a “bar” of float elements and invite your guests to make their own: Line up a rainbow of fruit sorbets over ice. Offer champagne, prosecco, and even sparkling water for the kids to pour over their scoops. And be generous with options for garnish – fresh fruits, small cookies, toasted nuts, candy swizzles, and the aforementioned herbs play very well with the other ingredients.

For the love of flying pigs, enjoy responsibly. Too many toasts could translate into a 2015 registration before you’ve even bounced back from ‘14… (Wink.)

Photos courtesy of Cara Hummel Photography

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