Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail & Baked Brie #recipe by @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: You remember that scene in Casablanca where Viktor Lazlo (Paul Heinrich) and Elsa (Ingrid Bergman) sit at the bar and order champagne cocktails? In that era, the champagne cocktail was basically champagne served over a sugar cube. 

Just the beginning of the swooning, darling. There is so much more to the champagne cocktail. This version is divine, and the colors are perfect for the season. 

And it’s perfect with Baked Brie. You’ll forgive the lack of pictures; no idea why I didn’t photograph it at the time we made these drinks – I promise, I hadn’t already indulged – but it was such a perfect combo that I had to include it. And you’ll get the idea quickly, I promise.

Or you might want to try these Cranberry Baked Brie Puff Pastry Bites, which I shared my first holiday season on the blog. Totally delish -- and there are pictures!

Cheers to you, my friends. Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy holiday season! 

Pomegranate Champagne Cocktails

Adapted from the Williams Sonoma blog

For each drink:

1 ounce pomegranate juice

1/2 ounce Grand Marnier

3 ounces sparkling wine

Pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)

Pour the pomegranate juice and Grand Marnier into a chilled cocktail glass or Champagne coupe. Top with the sparkling wine and stir gently. Garnish with few pomegranate seeds and serve immediately. 

Makes 1 drink.

Baked Brie

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 14-16 ounce wheel brie 

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. 

On a lightly-floured surface, roll the thawed pastry into a 15 inch circle. Slice brie in half horizontally and place on the pastry. Layer the bottom half with the parsley and almonds, reserving a teaspoon or so of almonds for the top. Replace the top half. Brush edges of pastry with the egg wash and wrap sides over the cheese. Place seam side down on a baking sheet. Brush with egg wash. Bake 20 minutes. Top with remaining almonds and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with crackers or a sliced baguette. 


From the cover of BITTERROOT LAKE, written as Alicia Beckman (Crooked Lane Books; available in hardcover, ebook, and audio): 

When four women separated by tragedy reunite at a lakeside Montana lodge, murder forces them to confront everything they thought they knew about the terrifying accident that tore them apart, in Agatha Award-winning author Alicia Beckman's suspense debut.

Twenty-five years ago, during a celebratory weekend at historic Whitetail Lodge, Sarah McCaskill had a vision. A dream. A nightmare. When a young man was killed, Sarah's guilt over having ignored the warning in her dreams devastated her. Her friendships with her closest friends, and her sister, fell apart as she worked to build a new life in a new city. But she never stopped loving Whitetail Lodge on the shores of Bitterroot Lake.

Now that she's a young widow, her mother urges her to return to the lodge for healing. But when she arrives, she's greeted by an old friend--and by news of a murder that's clearly tied to that tragic day she'll never forget.

And the dreams are back, too. What dangers are they warning of this time? As Sarah and her friends dig into the history of the lodge and the McCaskill family, they uncover a legacy of secrets and make a discovery that gives a chilling new meaning to the dreams. Now, they can no longer ignore the ominous portents from the past that point to a danger more present than any of them could know.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Watch for her first standalone suspense novel, Bitterroot Lake (written as Alicia Beckman) in April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books.

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by her website and subscribe to her seasonal newsletter, for a chat about the writing life, what she's working on, and  what she's reading -- and a free short story. And join her on Facebook where she shares book news and giveaways from her writer friends, and talks about food, mysteries, and the things that inspire her.


  1. Pomegranate! Champagne! Brie! You are indeed a woman after my own heart, Leslie!(Besides being a wonderful writer!) Happy Holidays
    to you and D!

  2. Both recipes sound like so much fun, Leslie. Thanks!

    1. Fun is an essential ingredient for holiday food and drink, don't you think?

  3. A more posh alternative to a mimosa, I like it!
    And red is a more festive colour, too.

    1. Red to brighten the winter darkness -- though I do love me a good mimosa!

  4. What a great combination! And, of course, pomegranate is good for you!

    1. What? Are you saying champagne isn't good for me?!!?