Cheap Champagne-palooza (part 2)

champagne banner

Ok, I know it’s well past New Year’s Eve, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop drinking bubbly. My intention was to get this out before the year changed, but we ended up in a bar with a bunch of crazy guys from Holland–I got distracted (and possibly a little tipsy playing the alligator game). Anyway, part one of this post covered prosecco and this installment is covering the cheapest of the cheap. My directions to the panel of Cheap Women was pretty much along the lines of “go find the cheapest shit you can and drink it”. So, let’s see what the bravest of the ladies picked and what they had to say about them.

Baby New Year knows how to start the year off.

Baby New Year knows how to start the year off.

Lil' Brut

Lil’ Brut

I chose to review Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvée over the other options, thinking I might get a better “champagne”. Nope. The “crisp apple flavor” the label mentioned, tasted mainly bitter and somewhat sour, not exactly what I would call “crisp”. It was as if I were drinking a diet coke. I hate diet coke. I do, however, like Brut “champagne”, but this Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvée, did not measure up. The Big Brute took one sip, compared it to Sprite, and then poured out the remainder of the glass. I hate Sprite. We went out to meet friends later that night for a New Years Eve celebration, and when the free champagne was passed around, I passed on having a glass (actually plastic cup). The Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvée, put me off having a second sip of “champagne” for the night. I toasted the New Year with Modelo Especial and a long kiss from the Big Brute, instead. I give this 1 press on nail.

Jezebelle Noir

Jezebelle Noir

Barefoot Bubbly Cuvée. I like the name. It just sounds fancy… Without the fancy price! I bought this bottle of champagne after a long day of Christmas shopping with my three kids. Let’s just say I was already trying to pry open the bottle with my teeth in the car on my way home! But don’t worry–I didn’t. I don’t drink and drive with the kids in the car. Anyway, I made it home and popped that sucker open lickity split. I waited for the bubbles to settle after erupting from the bottle, then I took a swig. Sppppppppplahhh!!!! What the? It wasn’t even swallowable! It was bitter and dry and just flat-out nasty! Tasted like monkey vomit! Or how I would imagine monkey vomit would taste like. Rating: 1 press-on nail.

Fab photo courtesy of Kittie Tattinger.

Fab photo courtesy of Kittie Tattinger.

Kittie Tattinger

Kittie Tattinger

Cook’s Brut Grand Reserve Rocks! I was shocked, so was my dh! I really thought it would suck so I prepared myself with putting happiness around me. 1st- had it for breakfast on NYE. 2nd- pulled up London’s 2012 to 13 NYE fireworks on YouTube. 3rd- used a mustard jar from Paris. I’m missing Europe and really want champagne…. First taste? nice! Second? nice! Rest of the glass? Yum…gone! Dry but not too dry. No funky aftertaste. The rest of the bottle went down quick and wished I had bought more.

4.5 press on nails. (-.5 as no height on the cork). Would buy again and hide the label. Great cheap plonk for a boozy bird!!!

Sassy Bubbles

Sassy Bubbles

Cook’s Brut Grand Reserve. This was kinda decent for the price, & if I were a teenager again I’d have totally traded in my Purple Passion! I tried, but I just couldn’t talk myself into loving it. Not sure how it got its name, cuz nothing about it shouted grand or reserve! I tried it alone first & couldn’t drink it by itself – I ended up enjoying it as a mustache mimosa! Every cheap    Champagne/sparkling wine girl needs a mustache wine glass!  2.2 press on nails

Tipsy Tiffanie

Tipsy Tiffanie

In an effort to do something for my fellow man before the end of 2013, I dove head first into the world of cheap champagne last night.  By cheap- I mean Cook’s Extra Brut….$7.95.  My hopes were not high, but armed with my best friend and Dirty Dancing on tv who could go wrong?  I’m not one for fancy stemware all the time, but we figured this might be an occasion for champagne glasses.  The first glass was brutal, but being true alcoholics, we choked it down and persevered and poured another glass.  We unanimously decided it tasted a lot like sparkling apple cider.  You know- the kind in the Welch’s bottle in the juice aisle at your local Wal-Mart?  By the time we got to the end of the bottle, we were wishing Patrick Swayze was standing in the living room threatening anyone who puts baby in the corner! All said and done- I’d give it 1.5 Press on Nails.  Would I drink it again….in a pinch….HELL YES!

Moxie Mimosa

Moxie Mimosa

Cook’s Extra Dry: The Book Club ladies and I met Saturday morning for our Christmas party, and to taste test our champagne. While our omelettes in a bag cooked (recipe posted further down), we tried our bubbly. I do believe this is the first time we ever drank Cook’s naked – meaning without it being in orange juice first. Who knew it tasted like old socks? Dirty, old socks! Hold your nose, and keep drinking until the timer goes off and your omelets are done. Now, reward yourself by putting some orange juice in your dirty sick champagne!  If give Cook’s 1 press on nail by itself, and 2 1/2 in a mimosa. But, I give the ziplock bag omelets 4 press on nails!

Venus DeRiesling

Venus DeRiesling

To quote my best friend about our libations this fine evening: “they were both crapass!” I dug deep bc i had to play catchup and drink 2 champagnes: Cupcake Prosecco and Cook’s Extra Dry. After a trip to Walmart, a bowl of hearty homemade chili, and Memphis fudge pie, me, my bff and Dallas bestie set out to do our Hussie duty, Now my bff is visiting from Memphis and was pretty excited @ Prosecco bc she just loves Prosecco…. Well, not this one. To quote my other girlfriend tonight, “it tastes like alcoholic tonic water” and made us wish we were back in our crazy, broke, college days sucking down Boones Farm! Speaking of stuff we sucked down in our glory days gone by… Cooks was a step up in that we didn’t have to pour the entire can of peach nectar into our glasses to stomach this swill.  Our assessment: Prosecco rates 1 press on nail,  and said nail fell off and cracked in half. I should’ve used super glue to hold it on and it probably would’ve tasted better than that Prosecco.  Cooks rates 1 press on nail that stayed glued!

Sparkle Spumante

Sparkle Spumante

yellow tail sparkling white wine. I should have known to stay away from anything that’s name gave me a mental image of a fluffy dog’s pee stained ass (I know- but once you’ve had to scrub dysentery off a mean Pomeranian’s ass, the image never leaves you). Usually you do the walk of shame the morning after drinking; I did the walk of shame buying this one. I should have worn a disguise because my little wine guy looked at me with a very disappointed expression. This stuff comes from Australia. I like Australia and have had massive fun with Australian friends. This stuff they should keep down under–way under. Pour it around your tents to keep dingoes from stealing babies. I couldn’t make it through half a glass, but it did make great mimosas the next day. Save this for that purpose or to take your nail polish off with. 1 dingo-chewed press-on nail by itself but makes a 3 press-on nail mimosa.

Dom Bigolo

Dom Bigolo

yellow tail sparkling white wine: Took a sip. Looked concerned. Left room and came back with scotch. No nails for you.

Chardonnay-nay Jones

Chardonnay-nay Jones

yellow tail sparkling rose wine: It looks so pretty and pink in the glass with all it’s bubbles, it makes you feel a little sexy like when Matthew McConaughey suddenly swaggers into your dream. You start feeling all flirty and girly and the bubbles make you tingly, then you take that first sip and–Oh, My God!! Suddenly it’s Dallas Buyers Club Matthew–naked!! No matter what, you can’t get that image out of your brain or taste out of your mouth…unless you keep drinking. Eventually your tongue doesn’t care, you finish the bottle and go on to have dreams about Todd Bridges (Willis) taking you to the circus. 1.5 press-on nails.

The Lesson: Because Cheap Don’t Mean Stupid

Ok, usually I blow your mind with some trivia so you can show off at your next “Cousin So-in-so got out of jail” party, but not this time. I just didn’t feel like doing the research, so the ladies came to the rescue. Thee girls happened to send little extras in with their reviews, so I thought I’d include them here as useful tips. First a health tip from Lil’ Brut.

The more blueberries you shove in to your champagne glass, the more nutritious your "champagne" becomes. (backdrop courtesy of my daughter's princess petal dress).

The more blueberries you shove in to your champagne glass, the more nutritious your “champagne” becomes. (backdrop courtesy of my daughter’s princess petal dress).

Who knew that being healthier could be so easy. In fact, Moxie Mimosa supplied us with a healthy recipe that uses plastic bags and boiling water–cheap woman version of Julia Child!

Here is the recipe for an omelet in a bag wine tasting brunch:  Write your name on a ziplock bag, put your preferred omelet ingredients (already set out in bowls by your hostess) in the bag, then add 2 eggs and zip the bag. Smash it all up together and throw all the bags in a big pot of boiling water. Set the timer for 13 minutes and open your champagne. Open the bag with your name on it, and pour your perfectly prepared omelet onto your plate. Kids and old people will love ’em!

Now, that’s my kind of recipe. Sassy Bubbles didn’t send a recipe but she did send a nice photo of an accessory that makes any cheap bubbly or mimosa even more fun to drink.

Mustache glass!!

Mustache glass!!

All the cheap women of the blog hope your 2014 has started off great. We’ll be back soon with some recipes to help make the most of cheapest, nastiest bubblies out there.

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New Year’s Eve Cheap Champagne-palooza (part one)

New Years is comin', y'all! Get your sparkle on, cheap ladies.

New Years is comin’, y’all! Get your sparkle on, cheap ladies.

The blog may have taken a week off for the holidays but the cheap ladies did not. They kept on drinking, staying true to their commitment to help out the cause and to stay drunk enough that no relatives were shanked or drowned in a punch bowl of nog. Christmas week I assigned the girls three bottles of prosecco and this week I was very loose with my instructions but insisted that what they tried had to be cheap–rollin’-pennies-for-smokes-cheap. But I’m gonna stretch this out Hollywood style and break this into 2 parts when really one would do. On with the show.

The Lesson: Because Cheap Don’t Mean Stupid

Prosecco? For some this may leave you with a blank face just like cava did, but I can clear it up real quick. Prosecco is simply Italian sparkling wine. Cava is spanish this is Italian. I personally love me some Italy so I was excited about this assignment. If they sold blow-up gondolas at the WalMart, I would have bought one and stuck it in the bathtub with me while I drank (probably not safe, so don’t do it and then sue me because your stupid ass drowned). Outside of where it’s produced, another main difference between prosecco and champagne is that the latter is typically produced using the Charmat method, meaning the secondary fermentation takes place in large, stainless steel tanks instead of the bottle. This helps to keep the price down but the DOCG does allow for use of the classic method as well.

DOCG? No, it’s not a new rap group made up of Snoop Dog and Kenny G’s children, it’s an agency of the Italian government. Remember that the Italians and the French are sticklers for authenticity and tradition, so the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita=controlled designation of origin guaranteed) is the FDA, ATF, Secret Service, FBI, Big Brother, etc… They make sure stuff is what it says it is and writes a bunch of rules to keep those Italians from slipping fakes past us by distracting us with their sexiness. Inspector 12 makes sure the tighty-whiteys are the real deal here in the US while Giancarlo makes sure your prosecco is labeled correctly with Brut or Extra Dry. Another variant with prosecco is that it comes in either spumante (fully sparkling) or as frizzante (lightly sparkling). Spumante is the more expensive of the two.

Inspector !2 working hard for the US.

Inspector !2 working hard for the US.

The DOCG working hard for Italy.

The DOCG working hard for Italy.

The Line-up:

the italian suspects

LaMarca Prosecco

Well, according to their website this Italian sparkler is supposed to be the bomb. It claims to be named one of the top 100 wines and has been featured in several magazines. Let’s see if our cheap women think it stands up to the hype.

Moxie Mimosa

Moxie Mimosa

So, this morning we tested LaMarca Prosecco. Pretty bottle, kind of Tiffany blue with a silver crown and silver foil on the cork. Today was Chinella Tequila’s birthday (her witness protection name), and she’s been depressed ever since she lost her toes, so I thought a bottle of bubbly in its own jewelry box would be just the thing to cheer her up. Sadly, the LaMarca was a lot like some men I dated in my younger days–all show and no go. It had a nice satisfying “Pop” and sigh when opened, and the first taste was really nice, but it had a kind of lingering aftertaste, and lost its bubbliness quickly after pouring. It did not taste any better in the Mimosas, and Cindy was beginning to wonder if you got a discount on your pedicure if you didn’t have toes on one foot!
I give it 2 1/2 press-on nails!

Asti BoomBoom

Asti BoomBoom

So I was given the LaMarca prosecco to try this week. I even had a fancy pants shindig to bring a bottle to.  Everyone was excited to try it, until we actually tasted it. I can’t believe I paid $13 for what essentially tasted like unsweetened ginger ale. It was bitter and very flat tasting. The color was nice, and it was fizzy, but no one was able to get through a glass. We finally got the bright idea to add some sangria which at least made it tolerable.  The $10 bottle of Friexenet I had last week was much better. Save your money and pass on this one.

I give it 1 Press-on Nail.

2 of the five ladies were unable to participate this week due to cramps and probation hearings; and one of them just got drunk and confused, but I’m printing her story for the hell of it (and because it made me laugh).

Cristal Chandelier

Cristal Chandelier

Guess what?  I found the Barefoot Bubbly’s evil twin….pink color and all!Last week I had a holiday party to attend and I may or may not have started my own pre-party before my friend to pick me up.  We then headed to Trader Joe’s to grab more beverages and I racked my brain trying to remember my assigned bubbly for the week.  I told the helpful clerk it was, “some kind of prosecco…but you guys might not have it, so just recommend something.”  And so he did.  I was already a fan of prosecco and when he mentioned it had a touch of cranberry added to it, my already fuzzy brain thought, “Score!”  I should have known I was in trouble when my friend giggled as she grabbed herself a 6-pack of winter brew.  (note to self….never take drink recommendations from a boy who looks all of 15 years old)We arrived at the party and everyone loved my sparkly pink drink…well, at least they liked the color.  We all agreed it tasted like cranberry sprite with a kick (sound familiar?) but at that point I didn’t care because it was all I had to drink and I couldn’t remember the correct rhyme for which drinks are ok to drink before others to prevent a wicked hangover.  So I drank the whole bottle–from a plastic cup.
And possibly showed my boobs at one point…after sending my husband a naughty text. So…even though I couldn’t finish the Barefoot Bubbly we reviewed the first week and I only gave it 2.5 press-on nails, I’m going to give this one 3 press-on nails because I had an awesome time at the party.  So awesome that I put my contacts in the wrong sides of their case when I got home and momentarily thought I was going blind the next morning when I went to put them back in.  Also, I seem to remember someone else in the group doing that a time or two (cough cough).  I have no clue what the name of the stuff I drank was called, but it’s some kind of pink prosecco and I think it was like $4.99 for the bottle.  Does that make me a cheap drunk?

May or may not be a photo of Cristal after drinking the Trader Joe's bubbly at her party.

May or may not be a photo of Cristal after drinking the Trader Joe’s bubbly at her party.

The verdict: Well, if LaMarca was to stand on it’s own, it would get a whopping 1.75 nails. That ain’t good. If we throw it a bone and include the mystery Trader Joe’s ranking as a little dose of Viagra, it rises to a 2.1. That still ain’t too good. Our advice looks like it’s saying “don’t take it to parking lots or fancy parties, but if you can find the Trader Joe’s shit, somebody is gonna see some boobies.”

Cupcake Prosecco:

Cupcake is an American made prosecco that uses grapes from Italy (maybe Inspector 12 moonlights for them). It uses the Charmat method we covered up there (go read it if you skipped over it–this ain’t the damn ACT). I don’t know much but the annoying little video intro on their web page made sure to tell us over and over that Cupcake was “America’s Favorite Premium Wine.” Uh…I’d like to know what they meant by premium and how they surveyed America because I don’t think any of us were asked. Let’s see if we agree with their claim.

Jezebelle Noir

Jezebelle Noir

My assigned champagne this week is Cupcake Prosecco. I have to say I was a little concerned about drinking alcohol while on pain medicine for my back. Web MD says not to. Eh, to heck with it. What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger, right? So here is my review. I thought it might be a little sweeter because of its name, “Cupcake”. Instead it was kind of fruity. Sort of peachy-ish. I also noticed that it was very bland and flat. However, that very well could be because I disguised my alcoholic beverage in a Phineas and Ferb cup full of ice. I told myself to give a proper review I should finish off my drink and poor another one in a fancy glass – no ice. It was a little  more carbonated  but still a little bland and flat. Once again, finished the bottle. If you ask me if I would purchase this champagne again… Probably not. 2 press on nails!

Lil' Brut

Lil’ Brut

Pinot Noir is my favorite wine, so as I was purchasing Cupcake Prosecco, I noticed the Cupcake Pinot Noir, and since the Big Brut was off in the woods for the weekend hunting for meat for the family, I thought I might as well try both; it’s not like I had anything else to do. Both were good. But we’re judging the Prosecco, not the Pinot Noir here. During a very late brunch with a friend – can you call it brunch when you eat at 3:00 pm? – , we popped open the bottle. It was dry but fruity. It went down so very easily and changed our conversation from how we log on to our computers when we telecommute when working from home, to Art Bell’s retirement and other strange things “west of the Rockies”.  It left me wanting more, and yes, I turned the bottle upside down in search for the last little bit towards the end of the meal. I give this 4 press on nails but not more, because I could see the fruitiness of the champagne, though not sweet, becoming a bit too fruity for me if I had more than two glasses. Maybe. Or maybe, given the opportunity, I would drink the entire bottle. We’ll never know.

Kittie Tattinger

Kittie Tattinger

I would like to start my review by stating I’m thrilled to be drinking after 3 weeks of pneumonia! I was afraid this would skew my view as everything would taste great….but it didn’t. I reviewed Cupcake Prosecco. Hmmmm, Cupcake?? Ewwww! What kind of name is that? I like big dry red wines and Brut champagne- just the thought of a cupcake in liquid form made me want to mini-gag. At first sip I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t as sweet as I imagined (I was envisioning a fluffy white frosted cupcake, with sprinkles!) so I took another sip and then another. There really was no after taste…until it warmed up by 5 degrees. When I took my last few sips from the first glass there was a notable artificial peach after taste. Memories of fuzzy navel hangovers from college hit me like a mac truck. I’m now on my second glass and that is all I taste. Drat! I’m not going to be able to finish this on my own. Epic FAIL.   This is definitely a breakfast bub. It needs a splash of O.J. to calm down the peach flavour. Your other option would be to drink it, PDQ!  I rate this 2.5 press-on nails. The cork hit the 20 ft. ceiling to land in the dust collector- that alone awards it ½ a nail. Would I drink this in the morning if it was the only bubbly we had? Yes, out of necessity, however I would never go out and buy this for me or anyone I like very much.

Venus DeRiesling

Venus DeRiesling

To quote my best friend about our libations this fine evening: “they were both crapass!” I dug deep bc i had to play catchup and drink 2 champagnes: Cupcake Prosecco and **Cook’s Extra Dry. After a trip to Walmart, a bowl of hearty homemade chili, and Memphis fudge pie, me, my bff and Dallas bestie set out to do our Hussie duty, Now my bff is visiting from Memphis and was pretty excited @ Prosecco bc she just loves Prosecco…. Well, not this one. To quote my other girlfriend tonight, “it tastes like alcoholic tonic water” and made us wish we were back in our crazy, broke, college days sucking down Boones Farm! Speaking of stuff we sucked down in our glory days gone by… Cooks was a step up in that we didn’t have to pour the entire can of peach nectar into our glasses to stomach this swill.  Our assessment: Prosecco rates 1 press on nail,  and said nail fell off and cracked in half. I should’ve used super glue to hold it on and it probably would’ve tasted better than that Prosecco.  Cooks rates 1 press on nail that stayed glued!

The Verdict: Cupcake seemed to be all over the place on the rating scale but the average came to under 2.5 nails. That being said, you may hate it or you may love it. Test it on a friend or some bitch at the hair salon you don’t like and go from there. **We’ll be looking more closely at the Cook’s review tomorrow when we dig deep in the cheap just in time for New Year’s Eve.

Ruffino Prosecco:

Ruffino is Italian made and those Ruffino folks have been making wines since 1877, so I’m guessing they might know something about it. This prosecco is classified as Extra Dry by those DOC folks, meaning it has a little more sugar in it. Let’s see what the panel had to say.

Sassy Bubbles

Sassy Bubbles

I found this one at my new favorite place to go in Hot Springs. The guy who runs it sounds just like Larry the Cable Guy & told me he’d order anything I want & have it in a week!  I feel that I EARNED this beautiful bubbly treat this week after all the shopping & wrapping!!! I give Ruffino 3.25 press on nails. It was good, it tasted like a nice dry crisp white wine with carbonation. It got 3.25 because it has a funky aftertaste. The good thing is after you’ve consumed enough, you could care less about the aftertaste!!

Sparkle Spumante

Sparkle Spumante

Roll me in this liquid glitter and give me a pole. It was a bottle of pale, sparkly happiness with just the right amount of sweet. The only down side is that the usually-drinking-expensive-single-malt-scotch husband liked it too. He stole half my damn bottle. If I’d been carrying a knife in my bra he would have gotten shanked…or I would have just accidentally stabbed myself while trying to prove I could still do the splits (I can’t). I give this party nectar 4 extra long and trashy Press-on Nails.

Dom Bigolo

Dom Bigolo

Panties were dropped. I give it 12 nails.

** We’re not sure what kind of 12-fingered carny folk Dom dated in his past, but we’re going to assume that means a 5.

The Verdict: This one looks like a winner. If those lazy whores Granny Hooch and Chardonnay-nay Jones had done their job we might have a different opinion, but since they didn’t–Ruffino gets 4 Press-on Nails. That ain’t bad at all.

Now, go out and try some Italian other than the waiter at Macaroni Grill named Tony Jr. and we’ll see you with our review of the cheapest sparkles out there. And until then, help me wish a big, FAT  HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Asti BoomBoom!!!

Asti may be just that, but she's my friend. Happy birthday!

Asti may be just that, but she’s my friend. Happy birthday!

Cheap Champagne for Cheap Women: The Threesome

This week's selections and one photo-bombing cookie jar.

This week’s selections and one photo-bombing cookie jar.

 

This week we decided to do something a little different so that we could get as many reviews in as possible this month. I split the group into 3 (The Harlots, The Hussies, and The Floozies) and assigned each group a different bottle of bubbly. I tried to balance the groups between those who love sweet to middle and those who love middle to dry. It’s not a perfect system, but if you’re looking for that–you are SOOO reading the wrong blog. Since I snuck a really sweet one in on the group last week, I tried to make amends with those who are still cursing my name, and assigned three brut bubblys. But before we get started, I need to introduce you to a new member of our tasting team…

Trashy 14Moxie Mimosa:

This little mama actually grew one of these other cheap women in her oven, but we’ll never tell who. These day this witty granny works her way around the legal system (we’re just not sure which side of the bars she’s on). She spends her weekend furloughs running an underground gang of grandmothers who loiter in parking lots and get kicked out of restaurants for smuggling in booze. With parental guidance like that, you can see how the rest of us turned out this way.

The Lesson: Because Cheap Don’t Mean Stupid

All 3 of our selections this week are produced using the same method used to create traditional champagnes from the Champagne region of France– methode Champenoise. The secondary fermentation must take place in the bottle to qualify for this distinction. Domaine St. Michelle is produced in the US but Freixenet and Juame Serra Cristalino are both produced in the Catalonia region of Spain. Sparkling wines from Spain are called Cavas. There are laws in Spain that govern how they are produced. Not only must Cavas ferment in the bottle they will be sold in, they must also ferment for a minimum of 9 months. So, if you’re downing some of this Spanish bubbly, spraying it on your friends or licking it off of them, remember that a lot of time and effort went into making that sparkly goodness. Another note is that these wines are produced by using 3 types of grapes: Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarello. And now that we all feel a little smarter and can show-up the little know-it-all at the office Christmas party, let’s get on with the show.

The Three Amigos

After buying all three of the assigned beverages at my local Market Street, I got down to business. The first thing I had to do was pretty these bottles up a bit. I sent them all for some Glamor Shots so they wouldn’t feel self conscious. (An ADD side note: I actually worked for Hollywood Portraits when I was 19 and going to college. I apologize now to all the women who I plastered with 13 coats of orange base and layers of green eye shadow. I’m sure Karma got me back.) Anyway, Here is the first bubbly…

Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut

December 2013 103

Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut

According to the makers, this is the most imported sparkling wine in the world.  It is a traditional Cava and rests in the bottle for up to 18 months–inside a cave! The first thing I noticed is that the bottle is beautiful. It makes it look much more expensive than it is. The Barefoot Bubbly just looked cheap, but these guys have really gone out of their way to dress up their product. Nobody would have to use any of my Cheap Disguise ideas if they decide to take this to a party. Now, this is how the Freixenet folks describe this bubbly…

“Cordon Negro Brut is crisp, clean and well balanced. It is medium-bodied with a palate of apple, pear and bright citrus flavors with a moderately long finish and a crisp touch of ginger. It goes great with any type of food.”

Now, let’s see what our panel of cheap ladies had to say:

Trashy 14Moxie Mimosa:

Freixinet brut (hard to spell at 6am). The bottle is very classy looking for the price. I test-tasted it with my parking lot friends and they all agreed it was not very tasty by itself, but later was great in Mimosas. It did make a lot of bubbles, which is good in a champagne and helped it mix with the orange juice in our travel mugs! 3 Press-on Nails

trashy 5Sassy Bubbles:

As you know, this week I tried multiple places to buy the Jaume Sierra Cristalino & it isn’t available.  Since AR is still behind the times, I bought the Freixenet. I’m not sure if it’s because I’d already had a few beers when I popped the champagne cork, or if it was really that good, but after the first champagne flute, I drank it straight from the bottle (keeping it cheap here in the Natural State)! I give it 3.5 press on nails! It wasn’t pretty in pink, but it was beautifully bubbly. It had a crisp, clean taste- I enjoyed it so much I finished the entire bottle!

Trashy 22Asti BoomBoom:

I was a bit nervous about what sort of beverage I might have to drink this week, since last week’s assignment looked like what I imagine Barbie urine looks like.  I heaved a sigh of relief when I saw that I got to sample some Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut. This has to be one of my favorite inexpensive Champagnes and it has been my go-to sparkly party beverage for years. The Lords of Cheap Champagne must have been smiling down on me. I happily trotted off to Wal-Mart to throw a bottle in my cart.  It was a busy week here at my house, with lots to celebrate. Finally on Friday, I had a quiet moment where I could pop that bad boy open!I poured the bubbly into a large pilsner glass because I couldn’t be bothered to go digging out a proper champagne flute. Close enough, right?  My glass erupted with bubbles like my kids’ science experiment gone right.  The bubbles settled and a lovely pale golden color was revealed. I sniffed and the scent was light and crisp – not perfumed or floral.  I took a sip – Aaaah. Not to sweet, not too dry, not too bubbly. It goes down a little too easy, and before  you know it, the bottle is light and so am I. And what do you know, a knock at the door and my friend shows up with a huge trophy shaped like a giant rooster that she won at her job. Sounds like a good reason for a toast to me. We pass around the bottle one more time with the perfect drink to toast over a giant plumed and bedazzled cock, uh I mean rooster. 4 Press-on Nails!

Trashy 20Chardonnay-nay Jones:

Drinking the first glass you feel like “I’m the shit” because it tastes like the real deal. But after a couple more glasses the dryness starts to get to you and you have the horrible realization that maybe you just aren’t as classy as you thought you were. If you’re only going to have one glass (and who the hell does that?) then this is worth a solid 4 Press on Nails, but if you want to drink the whole bottle like a proper cheap woman does, then this gets 2 Press-on Nails.

Trashy GodivaGranny Hooch:

I know a gimmick when I see it; I invented it – dancin’ around a horse with  nothin’ but feathers between me and the droolers – you git the idea. I didn’t think much of this bottle as I pried out that chubby cork. Kept shaking my head thinkin’ this black bottle ain’t nothin’ more than a giant feather fan. There ain’t nothin’ sexy about a feather fan unless the chicken holdin’ the feathers is sassy enough to strut and squawk at the same time. Let me tell you, this champagne can make me sing all night long. I glued five press-on nails, but that pinkie one broke when I twirled my old feather fan, so Freixie just gets four and half.

Trashy 19Monet Chandon:

The bottle: Friexnet Brut The time: 5pm The activity: making dinner.  I cracked open this bottle as I settled down to make dinner and I have to say it did an excellent job of keeping me company! The dry fizzy bubbles were the perfect accompaniment as I fried burgers in a pan! By the time we sat down to dinner I didn’t mind that the burgers were a bit charred! 🙂 4 Press-on Nails.

The Verdict: The average score of this bubbly came to around 3.6 Press-on Nails. That ain’t too bad. If you like dry, consider Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut for your next bottle of cheap sparkles.

* *Ok, here’s an inappropriate but true story surrounding this last bubbly. Most of the women on this panel live in the South. If you live there or have visited there, you understand. If not, I’ll educate you. We speak different and the education system occasionally stills leaves children behind. In fact, a lot of them just jump right off that bus and run away. I got a text from a participant asking in a tongue in cheek manner about the political incorrectness of the name. This is how that text string continued:

Me: “Well, the “e” (in Negro) is short instead of long. That makes it Spanish instead of White Cracker.”

Her: “That’s not how the expert at (blank) liquor store pronounced it!”

And welcome to the South, people. I’d love to hear how he pronounced the Freixenet part. Frex-e-net?

Domaine St. Michelle Brut

This sparkling wine is produced in the good ol’ US of A. The grapes are grown in Washington state. The company uses the traditional (Champenoise) method to produce this bubbly but have the integrity to not label it as champagne since it comes from the pacific northwest (I may be cheap but I admire folks who respect tradition). They rank their Brut as middle of the road–not too sweet and not too dry. Let’s see what our girls had to say.

Domaine St. Michelle

Domaine St. Michelle

Champagne dancerLil’ Brut:

My first glass of Domaine St. Michelle Brut was so yummy, that it was with an unwilling heart that I offered a fellow wife, at a football watching party, a glass of it from my bottle. Luckily, she declined. My second glass tasted even better; cold and crisp, it did not coat my tongue in sugar as the last champagne we judged had. So, with an even more unwilling heart, I offered a glass to another woman at the party. Were my feelings hurt when she declined as well? No. But I did not want the champagne to feel bad, so I finished off the bottle. I may have no idea who won the football game, but I believe I have found a new “go to” champagne, and so I bestow upon this bottle 4.5 press on nails. The only reason I did not give it 5 press on nails (AKA-a panty dropper), is because my panties did not fall off…that I remember.

champagne blk n whtJezebelle Noir:

My assigned champagne this week was Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut. I heard that it was one of the ‘best of the cheapest champagnes’, so I was anxious to give it a taste. Well, ok a guzzle… Ok, I drank the whole bottle. Ehem…by myself. After my first sip I remember thinking, “Whoa, ok… so that’s why they call it ‘dry’.” It literally made my tongue stick to the top of my mouth and my cheeks suck in! It was very, very bubbly. The first few sips had a strong and tart aftertaste, but I didn’t mind. Before I knew it I was on my third glass and trying not to slur my words or run into any walls! I would like to score this champagne 4 press on nails.

champagne purple dressTipsy Tiffanie:

The Domaine St. Michelle was better than the Barefoot Pink Bubbly. We cracked it open and shared it with our 18 year old college freshman who had just finished finals and is home for Christmas with a friend. They thoroughly enjoyed it but that isn’t saying much for two kids who will drink Mad Dog, Boone’s Farm and Milwaulkee’s Best on a regular basis! I give it 3.5 press on nails. The boys would have given it a 5!

The Verdict: The average score for Domaine St. Michelle came to 4 Press-on Nails! If this bubbly was a cheap woman she’d be the prettiest damn girl at the tractor pull. If you want a dry sparkling wine, with a fun label that was made in the states, give it a go.

Juame Serra Cristalino

Juame Serra Cristalino

Juame Serra Cristalino

This little sparkler has got a bit of an infamous reputation. You see, the Cristal people didn’t like them naming this cava Cristalino. They got their French panties all twisted up, sued them and won!! Now the Juame folks have to put a disclaimer right on their front label that declares them to not be affiliated with the Cristal folks in any form or fashion. Since this little bubbly has seen the inside of a courtroom, it must be naughty–I like naughty.

But this cava has another little sticker on it too. That one says “Value Brand of the Year–3 Consecutive years–Wine & Spirits Magazine.” That’s not too shabby. Cristal may have all the rappers, ballers, young hollywood and reality stars with too much money for their void of all talents, but Cristal has….well, it has us… and…hmm…Well, I’m sure Lindsey Lohan tried to snort it off some DJ’s lap at some point. Anyway, we decided to offer this little trouble maker up to our panel of cheap women. There was just one little problem, two of the women in this group live in a state that doesn’t import from this company. That just made this little number even more of a bad boy, but it didn’t change the fact that we didn’t have a full panel. To make things worse–we were all covered in an ice storm. As much as I tried to make my dog pull me around the neighborhood to find a substitute, she wouldn’t do it (shitty excuse for a husky mix). So, I did what I had to do. I made the hubby stand in. I know. I’m ashamed. He isn’t cheap or a woman, but I had to work with what I had. Anyway, on with the review.

Trashy GodivaGranny Hooch:

Jaume is the kind of beverage that can get my twinkie twirlin’ again. It fizzed up real nice like and didn’t get all high and mighty when I used that ice cube to give it a chill in my glass. Now I tried it all proper-like chilled too. I tossed the bottle into the fridge to get the whole kit and caboodle cool while I sipped on my first glass. Jaume was good to me and didn’t get all gross and syrupy, makin’ me need to take a chaw to git rid of the taste. That blasted thumb nail wouldn’t stay on so Jaume gets four of ‘em.

Trashy 16Sparkle Spumante:

The bubbles!! There were so many they made me tingle in a good way. The first sip did make my mouth feel like I’d been licking a sponge and it sucked all the moisture out of my mouth. It was tart and tangy and after the first glass, I didn’t care so much about my particle board tongue. It could easily disguise itself as something more expensive. I hate to admit it but I wouldn’t have minded a tiny bit of sweetness. Nothing too much- just a little sweet to its sass. I’m sure if I’d managed to drink the entire thing my panties would have come off. Wait! I don’t wear panties. I’m giving this Spanish bubbly 3.5 Press-on Nails.

TRashy gigoloDom Bigolo (emergency male participant):

It’s dry. (After requesting some elaboration several days later) No panties were dropped, I can tell you that much. 3 of those nail things.

The Verdict: This naughty little bubbly came in with 3.5 Press-on Nails. I paid $6.99 a bottle while it was on special, making it a great choice if you’re needing to serve a bunch of folks at say a family party for the next time uncle Jess gets out of jail. It also makes great mimosas, so give Juame Serra Cristalino a try.

And that’s it for this week, friends. I hope you have your holiday shopping done, if not, you’ll probably run into me. Please ignore the smell of liquor and my twitching eye (and give me at least 10 feet of personal space). And one final word, raise a glass of cheap bubbly in the name of Chardonnay-nay Jones–it be her birthday today! Cheers!

And just in case there’s a lady out there who doesn’t think Karma has given me enough punishment for poking her in the eye with blue mascara, here is an early ’90’s Hollywood Portrait of yours truly.

A totally convincing biker bitch ready to shank you with a purple eyeliner pencil.

A totally convincing biker bitch ready to shank you with a purple eyeliner pencil.

Cheap Champagne for Cheap Women: Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato

champagne pink vintage

Welcome to the first official review for Cheap Champagne for Cheap Women!! (Let’s all take a moment to picture this as a big boat with an old lady in a funny hat smashing a bottle of bubbly on the hull.) And on with the show!

Our first victim product is Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato Champagne. I chose it because it’s cheap, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was the pink that pulled me in. This bottle of California sparkles can be bought pretty much anywhere: Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, Walgreens, etc… Hell, I wouldn’t blink if I saw it being sold at a roadside tamale stand. Before we get down to what our group of esteemed critics said about this particular libation, let’s learn something.

The Lesson (Because Cheap Doesn’t Mean Stupid): Moscato–the Quick and Dirty Facts

Moscato is a sparkling wine that typically comes from Italy. It’s made from moscato (muscat) grapes. Being that Barefoot works out of California and Argentina, my 7th grade Geography class is telling me this wasn’t made in Italy (thank you Mr. Davis for educating me–I know you’re proud). So,that being determined, we’ll assume that it was made with muscat grapes but nowhere close to Italy.

Now, let’s talk about those bubbles. As you remember from my first post, bubbles in fancy French champagne come from a traditional method called Méthode Champenoise. This is a second fermentation that takes place in the bottle. It takes longer and requires pride in tradition as well as lots of patience (something the French possess but not so many Americans). The Barefoot people don’t do the super cheap system of directly injecting CO2 into this bubbly, but it uses the Charmat method. This means the secondary fermentation takes place before bottling while the wine sits in big metal barrels. It ain’t the fancy French method, but it ain’t soda pop neither.

We’ve gotten the region, grapes, and bubbles out-of-the-way. The only thing left is to explain the color. Pink! Where does it get that blush and bashful hue? Well, most pink moscato is made from Muscat Blanc grapes but is infused with some red wine like merlot, pinot noir or whatever red wine they had laying around. I couldn’t find out exactly what they put in Barefoot Bubbly’s moscato, but who cares–it’s pink!!

And with that…

barefoot

Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato Sparkling Champagne

This is what the folks at Barefoot Bubbly say about their pink moscato– “Deliciously sweet and bubbly with flavors of red tree fruit and fresh berries. A creamy finish collides perfectly with candied cherries and sweet citrus flavors making it the sweetest Bubbly we’ve got.”

My first thought was that they also refer to their sparkling wines as champagne when they really aren’t, so I was already hesitant to believe their description, but that’s why we’re tasting it.

They went on to suggest pairings with this bubbly– “Get the night started with
some cheese, sweet treats and some fresh fruit!”

When I read in the comment section on their page  that one drinker strongly suggested that you mix it with diet Mt. Dew, I knew we could be in some trouble. Let’s see what our panel of cheap ladies had to say.

The Review

Trashy 9Cristal Chandelier:  Sweet Jesus (with the emphasis on the sweet)! Smells better than it tastes. I like bubbly stuff, but this reminded me of a Shirley Temple for grown-ups. I probably would only drink it again if it was free – and I was already drunk on good champagne. It sure is pretty, though! I was going to give it a 2 but I’ll give it 2.5 Press-on Nails. I don’t want it to feel bad because it’s nasty.

trashy 5Sassy Bubbles:  I knew it would be sweet when I heard moscato– Surprisingly, it didn’t taste as sweet as the moscato wine I’ve sampled before. The bubbles seemed to make it a drier version. Still, I’m not a big fan. It was so pink & pretty & I love the way it bubbles, but I just can’t get past the sweet. I enjoyed it much better today as a mimosa! (A side note: You should’ve seen the blonde locks of the dude who sold it to me. He was jammin’ to the Beastie Boys & had the longest, thickest hair, most girls would be jealous of.) 1.5 Press-on Nails.

Trashy 20Chardonnay-nay Jones:   It reminded me of cheap white zin and Sprite, not that it kept me from drinking the whole bottle. It made me burp–a lot. But after my third glass, I didn’t care and it paired well with my Lean Cuisine chicken/broccoli shit.

2 Press-on Nails

Trashy GodivaGranny Hooch:  Let me tell ya girls, I’ve made moonshine outta horse apples that tasted better than that sickeningly sweet, sorry excuse for a sparkly. Those Barefoot people need ta find their shoes and walk on over to a different grape, Leave those more muscato grapes alone; makes me embarrassed for ’em. I give that bubbly 1 Press-on Nail–pressed right onto my middle finger.

Trashy 16Sparkle Spumante:   It looks really pretty and has tons of bubbles. *takes first sip* When the hell did Juicy Juice start making wine? Yeah, there are hints of fruit alright–apple juice and NuGrape. But I muscled through and by the third glass my tongue was numb and it went down pretty easy.

2 Press-on Nails

Trashy 8Bianca Blanc:   Does shit come in pink? Does it come in a bottle? Yes it does! Did that stop me from drinking the entire bottle? Nope. Did somebody accidentally drink it before work and have to call a friend to drive them in? I’ll never tell, but if they did–they made twice the tips.

2 Press-on Nails

champagne purple dressTipsy Tiffanie:    First of all, I couldn’t find it in the small ass town that I live, but it was not to be deterred. I decided to go Christmas shopping in Shreveport and stopped at a gas station in Homer, LA. To my surprise, they had it!  (Please note that this station also sells grinders and scales for “tobacco use only”. Shopped all day long and decided to stay at the new Jimmy Buffett casino. After shopping with 4 kids in tow, we sent them to the movies and hit the casino. I won $1300 on a nickel slot machine and decided to go back to my room and celebrate with my bubbly. I had two other “of age” people with me and we all thought it was pretty good. I don’t know if it was because I had been drinking for several hours beforehand though. My husband says it takes a little like Diet Cherry 7-Up, but that did not deter him.  I would give it 3 but I’m afraid that would be the other alcohol talking.  Over all I give it 2.5 press on nails!

Champagne dancerLil’ Brut:   Just way too sweet!!! An after taste of vomit. That may be because I’ve vomited sweet champagne before.  However, for a sweet wine it is not awful. I will give this 2 Press-on Nails.

Trashy 6Venus Riesling:  Now, I like sweet and when I say sweet…where I come from, we make tea by making simple syrup: dumping a cup or two or three of sugar into half a cup of hot water. For sweetness, a 3. Bubbles and fizz, a 4. Overall flavor, for $10 it’s pretty good, but I’m partial to pink moscato (can’t stand moscato though). Like pink lemonade vs lemonade–I can tell the difference. 4 Press-on Nails

champagne blk n whtJezebelle Noir:  I score Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato 4 Press-on Nails. Why? Because it was cheap, it had my mother with a practically broken back dancin’ and me rollin’ on the floor laughin’!

What all that means:

Well, the average score for Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato comes to a whopping 2.35 Press-on Nails. If you’re a high school football player and that’s your GPA–congrats you have a full scholarship! If you’re a non-sport-playing student with that GPA–welcome to telemarketer training! If you’re a wine and that’s the score you were given–ehhh. You’re middle of the road. It won’t kill the opossum living under your porch, but it won’t impress those uppity in-laws either. I do want to note that this panel has a lot of dry-lovin’ ladies on it. If I take the scores from just the girls who love sweet–it got a 4! If I include the sweet-middle girls–it’s over a 3. So, that being said, if you love sweet bubbly and want something pink, you should give this a try. If you like it dry–this probably ain’t for you.

A final note: All of these reviews made me giggle and laugh, but I have to say my favorite came from Jezebelle Noir. Why? Because it was a great reminder of what champagne is all about. It’s about celebrating life and having fun. It’s about bringing people together. We can’t all afford Cristal and Dom, but we all deserve to feel like we can, and that’s what this little blog is all about. Grab a bottle, follow along and dance on some tables while you’re at it.

Next week join us for a threesome! (All of a sudden the number of male subscribers went through the roof.) We’ll be reviewing 3 different brands of sparkling, liquid magic. Cheers!!!

*Want to get to know the panel batter? Read their bios here.

The Cheap Women Who Chug Cheap Champagne

Champagne cheap

If you read my last post you know that I’m dedicating this month to rating cheap champagnes. More specifically, a team of highly skilled “cheap” women has been assembled to rank bubbly from the divine to the rank and all that’s in between. It’s time to meet these women who so unselfishly took up the flag and agreed to march their livers  onto the battlefield, all in the name of protecting others from shit-tay (that’s French talk for crappy) wine.

The Women:
Now, I describe them as cheap, and that can mean a bunch of things, including thrifty. But if you google “cheap” or “thrifty” women, you get a bunch of coupon clippers, and that ain’t funny. Google “trashy” and it’s a whole other story. So, for the sake of funny, you’re getting trashy in all of it’s loose morals glory.

champagne purple dressTipsy Tiffanie:

This fiery Arkansas mama was permanently banned from the PTA when they discovered
her sneaking vodka inside a Capri Sun juice pouch.

Trashy 6Venus DeRiesling:

This sci-fi hottie was raised on the mean streets of Memphis, but don’t be using no bad grammar around her or she’ll grab your dangling participle and shank you with it.

Trashy 8Bianca Blanc:

This tiny Jewish mommy keeps the Carolinas smokin’. Her curves will make a blind, Baptist man yell “Mazel Tov!”

trashy 5Sassy Bubbles:

This bubbly blonde’s career in medicine backfired when she realized her cleavage was causing more heart attacks than she could help.

Champagne dancer Lil’ Brut:

Don’t let her refined, ladylike ways fool you. This ginger is the reigning champ in the underground Downton Abbey rap battle circuit. And she just released 3 mix tapes. Word to ya mum!

Trashy 20Chardonnay-nay Jones:

She inspired Sir Mix A Lot’s “Baby Got Back”,  but now this witty mama spends her days drinking at her government desk.

Trashy GodivaGranny Hooch:

She may have invented lap dancing during her vaudeville days, but now she just gets confused and rides her horse naked through town.

Trashy 22Asti BoomBoom:

She invented twerking almost 20 years ago between honor classes. This super mama is still the master of the craft, but now she calls it Zumba.

champagne blk n whtJezebelle Noir:

After school her house is like the little ol’ lady who lived in a shoe, but Jezebelle KNOWS what to do–vodka!

Trashy 19Monet Chandon:

This Brit speaks French and sips tea. Too posh to be cheap, you say? Nope—she lives in Jersey and has chickens in her yard.

Trashy 9Cristal Chandelier:

Don’t call this funny mama short—she’s “fun size.” She earned infamy among the neighborhood Bunko groups when she showed them she could hold a glass of whiskey between her boobs while she sewed her own thong.

Trashy 16Sparkle Spumante:

This ADD mama doesn’t wear panties, but, if she did, she’d hot glue some gitter on those bitches (but still end up forgetting where she put them).

Trashy 7Kittie Tattinger:

This creative, globetrotting girl got stuck in Texas, but her liver still pretends it’s in Rome. When not bathing in red wine, she likes cats and futbol (sometimes together).

And now for technical garbage……….

………………………….

The Rating system:

trashy plastic fingernails

We couldn’t just stick with a boring system of stars to rate these beverages. We had to come up with something that fit the theme. I finally decided on something that screams “cheap trying to be classy” (just like the sparkling wine we’re sampling)–Press-on Nails!! Am I right? I mean, nothing compares to red, plastic talons stuck on your fingers with sticky tape. So that’s it–the bubbly will be graded on a scale of 1 to 5 Press-on Nails. 1 nail means that particular drink should only be used for poisoning varmints or a cheating man. A score of 5 Press-on Nails means this is some high-class shit–we’d drink this stuff ’til our panties fell off (AKA- a panty-dropper).

The Lesson (Because Cheap Don’t Mean Stupid): Deciphering the code

Ever stared at the selection of bubble juice and scratched your head over all the dry, extra dry, Brut, etc..? Well, fear not–I shall give you the public school version of this lesson. It all has to do with sugar and how much is put in the batch of bubbly. In real honest-to-God champagne there’s a process of removing the sediment from a bottle after it’s fermented. That process is called disgorging. After that’s removed there’s space in the bottle that needs to be filled. That’s done with reserve wine. That process is called dosage and can affect the sweetness of the champagne. Some champagne producers don’t do the dosage part and that makes a very dry bubbly referred to as Brut Nature. But…

…we ain’t dealing in the good stuff. I doubt very seriously I will come across a Brut Nature within the cheap budget (but I’ll do my best). So, with that said, let’s look at the scale used to describe a wine on the sweetness scale.

Extra Brut/Brut Zero: Dry. Bone dry. Drier than a post-menapausal woman sleeping in the desert.

Brut: Crisp and dry but won’t make you feel like you dragged your tongue over a plank of plywood.

Extra Dry: Are you starting to scratch your head yet? I think the French just like to play little pranks on folks. Extra Dry is middle of the road, Not too dry and not too sweet–just right. That little delinquent, Goldilocks, would like this one.

Dry: In Frenchy prank language, dry actually means fairly sweet. If you lean towards sweeter, but just can’t take a moscato, go for this.

From that you move into the really-sweet-might-get-a-cavity stuff like the above mentioned moscato or a riesling. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. If you like it sweet–you like it sweet.

And until next time, here’s a quick shout out to some of the places I found these amazing photos: Missy Vintage, Vintage Venus, Johnny’s Vintage Archives and Vintage Photos of Burlesque Dancers. I’d also like to recommend the Pinterest board where I found most of those amazing book covers: Black Suede (I dig her stuff and I think you will too).

Cheers!

Cheap Champagne for Cheap Women

champagne quote

I know that Mondays are usually reserved for Mommy’s Little Helper posts, so don’t worry, this won’t stray far from that theme. You see, I’ve become obsessed with champagne ever since my birthday party this past January where I decided on a pink champagne theme. That obsession got my little wheels turning.
Champagne is lovely and sparkly and girly. I’m not always girly, but when I am–I’m damn girly! I would love to sip champagne more often than I do, but that would impact my budget and the law frowns on me sending my children to school in clothing fashioned from plastic grocery bags and cereal boxes. That’s when I came up with a solution–drink cheap champagne!

Just looking at that makes me feel more girly.

Just looking at that makes me feel more girly.

And that is when the lightbulb sparked in my head. What if I do a series of posts dedicated to finding the best of the cheap champagnes? I could do taste tests! Yes! I could assemble a panel of “cheap” women to taste cheap champagne and rate it. Brilliance! I mean, why not sacrifice a few liver cells for the greater good of all the other on a budget cheap girls out there? I’m a giver, people.
So that’s what I’m doing. I’m assembling a national team of cheap women experts to lend their taste buds and opinions to the blog. Their identities will be concealed to protect the innocent (and keep child protective services at bay), but their opinions will be uncensored.
Who doesn’t want to base their beverage purchases off the opinions of women who know there’s nothing that says you’re a woman like red nail polish, a good-fitting bra and glitter? And, if you think about it, it’s the perfect time of year to explore some sparkly drinks. We’ll give you the scoop on the best of the lowbrow brew, so you can disguise those bottles with some glitter and serve it up with pride at your holiday shindig. Yee haw, bitches–it’s gonna be fun!!
Now, to pass the time while I assemble my crackhead crack team of fluzzies, I’ll give you a quick and dirty (who doesn’t love that?) course on the fizzy stuff.

Cheap Doesn’t Mean Stupid: Lesson 1

It ain't real if it ain't from France.

It ain’t real if it ain’t from France.

Not all champagne is created equal. In fact, a lot of stuff sold as “champagne” is an imposter–a hooker in wife’s clothing. A sparkling wine shouldn’t be referred to as champagne unless it was produced in the Champagne region of France. I agree with that. I understand why all those little French guys get their berets in a knot over this. ( I recently discovered my novel is being pirated online, so I know what it’s like to feel like all your hard work has been shat upon.) That being said, the name of the series will keep the word champagne in it even if we’re really sampling sparkling wine (it just sounds better).
And that brings us to said sparkling wine. That’s pretty much bubbly made anywhere else in the world, whether that’s a vineyard in California or a whorehouse in Nevada. We’re not judging where it comes from, just what it tastes like.
What are the differences you ask? Well, outside of where it is produced, it comes down to how those magic little bubbles get in the bottle. In real champagne they are formed during the second fermentation that takes place in the bottle. With sparkling wine, most are shot up with CO2 just like a bottle of soda pop. So they’re still sparkling and festive, just cheap! Think of champagne as the Marilyn Monroe or Liz Taylor of drinks, while Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are the sparkling wines (they’re pretty, sparkly and fun, but they just can’t shake the “cheap” off).

And that’s it for our first lesson. Next time you’ll be introduced to our panel of experts and given a second little dose of knowledge. Until then, stop by my Pinterest page and have a look at my Pink Champagne Party Board. It’s snazzy!

Mommy’s Little Helper Monday: Thanksgiving Edition

I know it’s been awhile. I even missed my favorite holiday of the year–Halloween. I’ve had some crazy health crap going on that made it pretty much impossible to read or write. If you want the full story, head over and read “Suck it, Iritis!” on my other blog. If not, let’s dive on in…

"Yeah, I got the daughter in the clinic getting cured off the Wild Turkey."

“Yeah, I got the daughter in the clinic getting cured off the Wild Turkey.”

It’s Thanksgiving week. If you were unaware of that little fact, I want whatever drugs you’re taking. This little holiday started when a bunch of white pilgrims (who’d made themselves home on property that didn’t belong to them) realized they couldn’t take care of themselves. The Natives felt sorry for them and carted food over to help them survive the winter. They played nice, but then the pilgrims invited their friends to come bunk with them and they all went on to steal the Natives’ food and land while killing them off with delightful diseases.

gobbler cartoon

If you think about it, the holiday hasn’t changed too much. The family invites everyone over, even the family members you don’t really trust or like. So forty-year-old cousin Greg comes over to eat. He’s been in rehab a couple of times and even though he failed out of sword swallowing school, his band just got a gig at the school craft fair. You feel sorry for him and it really seems like this time he’s learning from his mistakes. He convinces you that he should stay in your basement for awhile. You’re drunk on carbs, so you agree. Two months later all of your food is gone, the cat and several pairs of your panties are missing, and your kids come down with crabs by just walking through the basement. You try to kick him out and that starts a war with his part of the family, even though they didn’t want him in their house.

gobbler 3

See! Dysfunction has remained a part of this holiday since its inception. Crazy=tradition.

I’ve actually been pretty lucky in the Thanksgiving department. It wasn’t until my 20’s that they took a nosedive. I can’t go into the details, but the retelling of the WORST Thanksgiving I’d ever had came in second place in a radio contest looking for the most dysfunctional holiday story. That was an anonymous contest and this blog is not built for concealing my identity, so I’ll just let you imagine the worst.

Now, let’s get on with the important stuff. How do you survive the holiday? Liquor!! My holiday has always been spent in the home of a Southern Baptist minister, so liquor was about as welcome as satan (even if he showed up with a nice pie). But the house has passed on to my grandmother and now to us. We keep the libations hidden, but they’re there. So, sticking with the idea that liquor is more important than some damn green bean casserole…

THE LIBATION:

Wine, beer and even a neat bourbon are just predictable and boring. I couldn’t let a nice merlot be my suggestion for a Thanksgiving themed drink. I had to dig deep into the depths of Pinterest. And I found all types of things on there. Lots of mulled apple crap and hot buttered rum (just the thought of that made me want to baste myself in it). But what to choose? I wanted something that just screams Thanksgiving louder than uncle Dean having a flashback of Vietnam. So I decided to make something up. I concocted a drink that gives you the entire Thanksgiving experience in one big glass. Ladies and gentleman, I give you…

THE GOBBLER (AKA The Alien Chicken)

My youngest son's first turkey art from preschool. He brought it to me and proclaimed it an "Alien Chicken." there's no denying he's my child.

My youngest son’s first turkey art from preschool. He brought it to me and proclaimed it an “Alien Chicken.” there’s no denying he’s my child.

What’s the staple of pretty much every Thanksgiving celebration? The turkey. Those poor birds must have been velociraptors in their past lives and racked up some seriously negative karma. Even Ben Franklin couldn’t save their feathered asses. Their fancy cousin, the eagle, got the glam job and the turkeys endure colonoscopies of stuffing. But regardless, my drink had to represent that bird, and the only way to do it was with some Wild Turkey!

So, grab some of that shit and pour it in a glass. (I even discovered that they now make a honey and a spiced version if you want to really give it a holiday flare.)

Now that the dead bird is taken care of, what else just exudes this holiday? Hmmm….there’s mashed potatoes…yams…dressing….gravy…pie. PIE!!! Holy pilgrim hat, how could I forget pie?!? There’s so many kinds of pie: pumpkin, apple, pecan, chocolate, coconut, lemon…oh, sweet baby Jesus in a “My first Thanksgiving” onsie, I can’t choose. I say you just grab a flavor liquor of your choosing and throw it in the cup along with another helping of the Wild Turkey.

Not good enough? Well, if you need it to look all Martha Stewart, throw in some sliced apples, a cinnamon stick  and some cranberries. Hell, I say you stick a wedge of pie on the rim as garnish. Now that would be a f*ckin’ drink.

Still not up to what you were picturing? Well, I can’t blame you, because I’m not representing the mother of all carbs– the true star of the holiday table–dressing! I mean, that’s what the holiday is all about. But as much as I love the stuff, I’m not dropping a blob of it into a perfectly good Big Gulp cup of Wild Turkey, so I’ll try another approach. We’ll represent that casserole of goodness by “dressing” up our drink. Crafting a festive little  coozie will keep the kids busy, fancy up your drink, and disguise it from others. You can tell the family it’s just a big glass of tea. If they ask for some, tell them it’s laxative tea. If they still want some, just pretend your laxative tea has kicked in and hide in the bathroom the rest of the night.

The Gobbler

The Gobbler

Now, if this isn’t fancy enough for your little holiday party then you must think your special. But it’s the season of thanks and brotherly love, so instead of making fun of your snobbery, I’ll direct you to a nice long list of fancy drinks. But don’t come crying to me when you realize they don’t have handmade turkey coozies. Your loss, pal.

And that’s all I got for this little blog, because my youngest has started puking and has a fever. I have to give it to him for bringing some authenticity to the holiday. The pilgrims gave small pox to the natives and I’m sure he’s going to give fifth’s disease or something to the rest of us. And that brings us to a quick

DUH-I-ALREADY-KNEW-THAT-HELPFUL HINT:

If there’s just not enough whiskey in Kentucky to get you through the holiday with your family, then I suggest you educate yourself on the various communicable diseases. Scan WebMD and learn all the symptoms of various illnesses that you can fake to keep you out of the festivities. There’s nothing like a case of pertussis or the measles to make the family revoke your invitation to sit at the kids table. Have no shame? Offer up syphilis or the clap to give you your “get out of jail free” card. Need something that will give you a permanent exile? Go for Hep C or leprosy (nobody wants a hunk of nose falling off in the cranberry sauce).

And that’s it, folks. Go out there and make some dysfunctional memories that even the best sitcom writers can’t come up with.

Gobble! Gobble! (That's Turkey for "cheers")

Gobble! Gobble! (That’s Turkey for “cheers”)

Mommy’s Little Helper Monday: Back to School Edition

The first day of school at our house this morning.

The first day of school at our house this morning.

It’s Christmas for mommies!!!! Yes! All over the country moms woke up with a little extra pep in their step. I even dare to say that smiles actually crossed thousands of faces BEFORE they had their coffee. Looking at the three stuffed backpacks and lunches hanging on their hooks in my kitchen this morning  was better than stockings stuffed with diamonds and chocolate. If I could sing without making the dog pee herself from fear, I would be belting out a mash-up of “Get the Party Started” and “Let’s Go Crazy.” I mean, what better way to start a celebration than throwing Pink and Prince together?

Yeah, I parent through embarrassment.

Yeah, I parent through embarrassment.

I decided the only way to truly celebrate is with champagne, so…

The LIbation:

Champagne makes everything better. I believe we should all have adorable leather holsters to wear that are designed specifically to carry a split of bubbly. Louis Vuitton could make a killing producing those (hint hint). Until then we’ll just have to hide them in our purses and bras (if you have big, oddly shaped boobs). I love champagne and even had a pink champagne themed birthday this year. There’s no recipe for it to share, so I thought I’d just post some pics.

Just looking at that makes me feel more girly.

Just looking at that makes me feel more girly.

What every woman should have in her home.

What every woman should have in her home.

What should greet us in the kitchen every morning.

What should greet us in the kitchen every morning.

If looking at these lovely photos don’t make you want to sit back with a glass of nose-tickling bubbles, there is something seriously wrong with you. I’m having trouble concentrating on work now that I’m staring at these. If you want to see more pretty photos and find links to their sources, go to my PInterest board Pink Champagne Party. Look around and enjoy all the sparkly, girly goodness.

Now would be the time for me to pass on some type of useful tip, but I’m all out of time and energy. So I’m going to turn to someone famous to pass on some wisdom that sticks with our bubbly theme.

The Duh-I-Already-Knew-That-Helpful-Tip:

champagne quoteAnd one more quote from one of my literary heroes who obviously knows what he’s talking about.

F. Scott Champagne quote

Mommy’s Little Helper Monday (Royal Birth Edition)

July 2013 141

Pip! Pip! Cheerio! Jolly good! God bless the Queen!

Ok, now that I’ve used all the stereotypical English terms I’ve heard in movies and most likely insulted all of my British friends in the process, let’s get on with it. Congrats to William and Kate on their eight pounds of precious Prince George! I will admit that I was hoping for a little princess but I’m obviously not good at influencing the sex of babies with my wishful thinking as I am the mother of 3 boys.

Anyway, I figured  the fact that dear Kate chose to push out the little royal on a Monday was a bloody good sign that I needed to pull myself out of my current project and post a blog. Needless to say, this will have an English flair to it. The problem with this endeavor is that outside of watching Love Actually about 20 times, reading ALL of the Harry Potter books in two weeks, and being able to name at least 3 of the Spice Girls…I know very little about British culture.

Sure, I’ve been to London, but it was a 24 hour stop on our way to Italy. If it hadn’t been for my husband’s lovely cousin, all we would have seen was our hotel and the Tower Bridge. But with a quick trip on the tube (ooo…be amazed by my London slang) we were whisked away by our generous family for a whirlwind trip that included Abbey Road and the house boat Richard Branson began making his millions from. Now, it wasn’t the Jack the Ripper tour I had my heart set on (have I mentioned I studied forensic psychology?), but it was a blast that I can’t wait to do again.

My resource, Sam, cooking fish and chips for their annual St. George's party.

My resource, Sam, cooking fish and chips for their annual St. George’s party.

So, since my knowledge is limited on all things across the pond (outside of 19th century serial killers and the Bard), I have turned to my amazing, wonderful, genuine, kind, beautiful, hilarious, creative friend–Sam!! You may think that I’m just buttering her up with all those compliments so she’ll help me out, but it’s all true. She’s also ADD like me and often makes me feel better by falling short in the “keeps a perfect house” category. She also loves wine, belly dancing and swimming naked!! She even has an honest to God pub in her house!!!! And the cherry on the top of this awesome friend sundae–she’s British!!!

Now don’t get any ideas and try to come kidnap her. I found her first!!! But tonight I am willing to share her knowledge with you to make this royal edition the best it can be. Pip!! Pip!! And cheerio…again!!

The Libation (the pint):

Sam informed me that when a baby is born in England the father will often head to his “local” (pub) and buy everyone a round of drinks. This is called “getting the baby’s head wet.” Now, I figured the baby came out pretty wet but apparently amniotic fluid doesn’t substitute for a good ale. I’m not quite sure I can picture William doing this but I bet Harry would gladly do it on his behalf.

Our "local"-- The Aidan Arms. It just happens to be in the home of our lovely friends, Bret and Sam. The beer is lovely but it's the friendship that makes it special.

Our “local”– The Aidan Arms. It just happens to be in the home of our lovely friends, Bret and Sam. The beer is nice but it’s the friendship that makes it special.

Now, I think this is a grand (that’s sounds pretty English to me) tradition…for the father. But what about the mum? When does she get her chance to “get the baby’s head wet” outside of pushing him out and giving him a bath? Sam has assured me that Brits aren’t as stodgy when it comes to drinking some wine when you’re pregnant or nursing. Her midwives even prescribed her a large glass of red wine every night to help relax her irritable uterus. Hell, that idea sounds so good I think I’ll go get some wine right now to relax my uterus (nevermind that I don’t have one).

So, where is the libation recipe in this dribble? If you aren’t good with downing a yard of Carlings or a “dirty chicken” with your closest mates at a local pub, or maybe even kicking back some wine with some ladies with grumpy reproductive organs, then maybe these classic English cocktails will do.

pimms-cup

The Pimm’s Cup:

Sam said this is something like a British Sangria in that it’s basically liquor with fruit floating in it. All you need is some ice, Pimm’s, lemonade (the British word for 7up, Sprite, or ginger ale), cut-up fruits and veg, and some mint. Sam says that mint was too posh for the concoction they made at her old pub in London, and I say that cucumbers are just gross. I mean, if I want a salad I’ll order a salad, but it’s up to your taste buds.

So grab your pitcher, dump in some ice, pour in one cup of Pimm’s no. 1 Cup, 3 cups of your “lemonade”, and a whole bunch of chopped-up fruit (apples, oranges, lemons, berries, and cucumber and mint if you must). There you go! Easy! The perfect drink for the old trouble and strife while she’s on the dog and bone (that should make Eliza Doolittle proud).

If you're still holding a grudge over that whole taxation without representation thing and need to "Americanize" this drink--serve it in some mason jars like they did over at Brooklyn Supper.

If you’re still holding a grudge over that whole taxation without representation thing and need to “Americanize” this drink–serve it in some mason jars like they did over at Brooklyn Supper.

(For a more proper recipe go here or over to the above mentioned Brooklyn Supper.)

The Duh-I-Alread-Knew-That Helpful Tip:

Me and Sam at my birthday party. She made it more special than I could have imagined.

Me and Sam at my birthday party. She made it more special than I could have imagined.

Find a good friend. Seriously. Find one amazing friend who absolutely won’t bat an eye if you show up at her house wearing your 8-year-old’s field day t-shirt and your husband’s swim shorts because they are the only 2 items of clothes that aren’t attracting flies. Have a friend who is able to recognize when you are teetering between an overdose on your homemade cocktail of wine, “borrowed” ADHD meds, and chocolate and beating the shit out of people with an umbrella. This is the friend who laughs with you, cries with you, and helps buy the plastic tarp and shovels when you’ve “accidentally” back-over the neighbor who keeps releasing his dog into your yard to crap. And when you find this friend, make sure you reciprocate. LISTEN to them. SUPPORT them. Make sure you extend the same kindnesses they do to you. Don’t just talk to them when they call you–call them. It seems like common sense, but eventually people notice when they’re the one making all the effort. Make conversations equal. Don’t say “hello” and immediately turn the conversation into something about you. Love and connection is what every single human needs and craves so if you’re lucky enough to find someone you click with, cherish them.

The Funny:

Well, I spent a couple of hours making a funny little bit in photoshop only to realize I was using a Getty image for the base. I’m all about paying people for their images but they need to make it more affordable for bloggers who are making approximately Jack shit off their blog. There are also little rules about not manipulating the image once you buy it. Maybe one day I can afford to do the same shit Perez Hilton gets away with on his page (and mine will be funnier). Unfortunately there are too many bloggers I’m hearing about getting lawsuits slapped on them to take the risk. My personal Facebook friends can see my little invention on my personal page but the rest of you will just have to rent Austin Powers. Until then, a photo I cannot be sued over. This is the sign that hangs over Sam’s amazing stove.

Sam's sign

Amen!

Mommy’s Little Helper Monday: 4th of July Edition

Yes, I realize it’s Wednesday Thursday! I’m all confused because my husband is home and my brain has turned to something resembling a disgusting gelatin salad. Why? Because this thing called “summer break” happened. If you’re a teacher or live in a state with year round school (lucky bastards), then you were overjoyed by this occasion. If you are like me and have too many little boys and not enough meds, then you probably felt like you were dropped into the middle of Apocalypse Now. It took some time, but I’ve finally crawled out of the trenches and I’m back at work, spreading my bad advice to the world of frazzled moms.

Crap! I think Charlie the kids are coming.

Crap! I think Charlie the kids are coming.

So, let’s get down to business…The 4th of July. Honestly, I’m not even a big fan of the holiday. I like to refer to it as National Rednecks Blow Shit Up day. You see, I live in Texas. Texans like to use gunpowder to make things go “BOOM”. It doesn’t matter if it’s a string of firecrackers in a metal trashcan or a bullet in a deer. They like loud noises and if there’s some blood or something dies–all the better!! Now you won’t see this down in Highland Park but I don’t live there. I live up in “horse country.” There are plenty of wealthy folks out here, too, but as they say “you can take the redneck out of the trailer park but you can’t take the trailer park out of the redneck.”  Anyway, fireworks are prohibited in our neighborhood, but rednecks who’ve weaseled their way in here don’t give a Roman Candle full of shit about no damn ordinances. “By God, this is America! George Washington and all his folks didn’t blow the shit out of some indians and redcoats AND pour coffee in a lake just so we couldn’t set off some firecrackers in our own damn yard!” And because this is the mindset of a few of my neighbors, they will set those damn bottle rockets and Black Cats off until 2am. It makes me crazy. It makes me want to go out there and strangle them with their wife-beater, but there’s another damn ordinance against that , too.

When Earl Ray accidentally breaks bottle for launching rockets, Jimmy Wayne steps up and offers his ass crack like a true American.

When Earl Ray accidentally breaks the bottle for launching rockets, Jimmy Wayne steps up and offers his ass crack like a true American.

Ok, enough bitching. Let’s focus on the fun things about the holiday. My husband’s family always invites us to come out to their land so my boys can indulge in a redneck-lite version of the holiday. Their older cousins take them to the dock of the pond and help them shoot off lots of fireworks. It satisfies their deep boy craving for explosives, and I get to watch it from a “farm-house” that’s nicer than my real house (these are Highland Park people). The best part about the time is that my husband’s family likes to drink. This year’s theme is “Chili dogs and Champagne.” Now, tell me you aren’t jealous.

Speaking of liquor….

The Libation:

I know that you’re probably expecting some fancy red, white and blue layered drink called an Independence Bomb or Liberty-loda or Screw John Hancock Against a Wall. But all of those require way more effort than I’ve allotted for this little blog. I have to save my energy for breaking up fights, washing off marker tattoos they’ve drawn all over their faces, and requesting that every dinner conversation does not start with trying to slip some reference to balls or nuts in (I know, it’s a bad habit I’m trying to break).

july drinkIf you’re expecting something fancy like above, head on over to RollingOut and get the recipe. If you’re in Apocalypse-Jello-Brain world like me, stick around. The OCD Martha Stewart part of me would love to make those beautiful drinks, but my reality is making the half-ass Martha side of me give you this…

One of the best summer beers I've had!

One of the best summer beers I’ve had!

Shiner’s Ruby Redbird has become one of my favorite summer beers EVER! And it is a perfect drink for my 4th of July libation pick. Why? There’s no fancy glasses required or layering. It has the word “red” in it so it qualifies as patriotic. And when you see your neighbor trying to use his ass crack to shoot off rockets you can take one of these over to him, saving him a trip to the ER and you a trip to the therapist. I’m not going to get into all the details of what makes this beer taste yummy to me. For that I’ll send you over to the folks at Summer Beer Review. Why them? Because when I was looking for photos of the beer their’s had flamingos in it.

Now, if beer isn’t your thing, you need help; but until you get that help, I’ll give you one more idea. Make a simple drink (cranberry and vodka, margarita, champagne, martini, straight ethanol) and sugar the rim with Pop Rocks. Yep, Pop Rocks!! Who wouldn’t have fun with that? In fact, I’m even making Pop Rock truffles today to take to the family shindig.

Snap! Crackle! Pop! your way to sweet oblivion.

Snap! Crackle! Pop! your way to sweet oblivion.

Go to Pizzazzarie to get the good on this mouth-full of fun. You know you want to.

Duh-I-Already-Knew-That-Helpful-HInt:

I have to change the title of this little bit because it’s just a bitch to type out. Anyway, here’s that hint: DON’T LET YOUR KIDS SHOOT OFF FIREWORKS!!!! I know this is a ceremony for entering manhood (turning 6) in many parts of the south, but it’s stupid. I admit I have an extreme phobia of fireworks, but it’s with reason. I actually know people who have been badly injured by fireworks. A good friend of my god-daughter had a massive hole blown in his thigh. I have the picture on my phone and show it to my older boys so they understand these aren’t Nerf fireworks–they don’t bounce off. I may scar them emotionally by doing this, but they can hide those scars for a therapist or horrible girlfriend to dig up later. Finger stumps and melted ears are harder to hide. If you have a tough gut and no gag reflex from years of cleaning up puke and patching up your kids after they shank each other with Legos they’ve melted down, then go Goggle “firework injuries” for a very blunt reminder of what they can do.

The Funny:

I know, I was going down a depressing path there, and I’m trying to remedy that. But what can I post for this 4th themed bit to make you giggle? If rednecks shooting bottle rockets from their asses didn’t do it, I may have to dig deep. Hmmm… I’ve searched and searched and found some pretty disturbing stuff but nothing that really made me laugh. Oh, well. I guess that means we should use this time to reflect on the sacrifices our forefathers made to form this country. Let’s take a minute to be thankful for all of the blood they shed so that we could have the freedom to do this in their honor…

God bless America

God bless America