Edible flowers add sparkle to bubbles
If you can afford a truly fine bottle of champagne for New Year's, you probably shouldn't mess with it. But if you're drinking bubbly that's a bit more modest, dress it up.
Drop a few berries into that champagne flute -- raspberries or strawberries are particularly nice. They'll be pretty, and afterward you can enjoy their liquor-infused flavor.
For something more exotic, the Australians offer edible hibiscus flowers. Place them in the bottom of your glass and they'll bloom amid the bubbles.
The blossoms are preserved in a ruby-tinged sugar syrup. Add them to sparkling wine or mix them into cocktails -- martinis, mojitos and bellinis are compatible -- along with some syrup, for a berry flavor and pinkish tinge. Afterward, the jelly-like blossom can be eaten like candy.
Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup sell for $12.99 per 8.8-ounce jar -- that's about 11 flowers -- at R. Field Wine Co. inside Foodland supermarkets, or online at www.wildhibiscus.com.