Bright and Bubbly

Caracol's Champagne Cocktail Gets a Wall Street Spotlight

Shades of Life puts a new spin on an old party staple.

By Katharine Shilcutt December 15, 2014

In between stories of Christmas angels in Germany and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe's family legacy, I was surprised to spot a local connection while paging through yesterday's Wall Street Journal: the Shades of Life cocktail at Caracol, listed as one of the reasons the champagne cocktail is making a comeback this holiday season.

The dual-toned cocktail that also features ruby-hued Lambrusco—a dry, bubbly, red counterpart to Champagne—was created by beverage director Sean Beck, who also heads up the programs at sister restaurants Hugo's and Backstreet Cafe.

Shades of Life has a decidedly Texan bent, with the addition of mezcal giving it a smoky flavor and winter citrus giving it a tart spark. Caracol calls it a variation on the classic Mexican paloma; we just call it damn good.

You can try the Shades of Life yourself at Caracol, where it's best enjoyed at the bar during happy hour: that's when all Gulf oysters (some of the best in the city) are half off and when you'll find excellent $7 bar bites, Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. And if you want to give it a shot yourself, the Wall Street Journal helpfully included a recipe, which also calls for a sprig of fresh thyme and pouring the Lambrusco gently over a bar spoon so as to achieve that two-toned effect. That sounds like a lot of work, though. I think I'll let Caracol make mine for me.

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