Life can be a Dream

The Beloved and I became civil partners in 2006. We were amongst the first people to do so, within a few months of the law changing. Because it was such a new thing, there were no established conventions or traditions for what should happen at such a celebration. In many ways, it was nice to build our day from scratch. We kept the invitation list short, just immediate family, and treated everyone to lunch afterwards. Obviously, it was important to us to serve an aperitif before lunch, but what to have? Both sherry and Champagne seemed more formal than the atmosphere we wanted to create for our day. I can't remember which of us first suggested the Dream cocktail, but as soon as it was mentioned we both knew it was the perfect aperitif for us.

We had encountered the Dream cocktail the previous summer, in Salvatore Calabrese's Classic Summer Cocktails, and we fell for it immediately. It combines one of my favourite cocktail ingredients - Dubonnet - with citrus flavours and Champagne. Dubonnet is sweet, deep red and flavoured with raw coffee beans and spices. It gives the cocktail a rich colour and depth of sophistication. The citrus flavours come from orange liqueur and grapefruit juice. We've played around with these ingredients over the years. Calabrese specifies Cointreau as the liqueur, but we use Triple Sec more often than not. They're both Curaçao liqueurs and taste very similar. We just happen to have Triple Sec in the house more often. Calabrese doesn't specify what sort of grapefruit juice to use. Pink grapefruit is slightly sweeter and gives the finished cocktail a dusty rose colour. White grapefruit is sharper and makes the drink a more vibrant orange colour. Take your pick; they're both delicious.

The barman at the venue had never heard of the cocktail when we were planning our celebration. It was a terrible hardship to have to make several visits to teach him to make it and coach him in getting it just right. Fortunately, all that hard work paid off: our guests enjoyed it as much as we do. Serving the cocktail gave us plenty of time to take photos of our gathered family and to relax and take in the importance of the occasion.

To make a Dream cocktail

30ml Dubonnet
15ml Cointreau or Triple Sec
15ml grapefruit juice

Stir the first three ingredients together in a mixing glass full of ice. Half fill a Champagne flute with the mixture, then top up with chilled Champagne.

We have been civil partners now for over 14 years. We regularly serve a dream cocktail before  summer dinners and usually make one or two to celebrate our anniversary. It holds a very special place in our heart.

Dedicated to the memory of my late mother-in-law, Jean Mather,
who welcomed me into her family and gave me her son to love.
Rest well, Mam.

Next Time: exploring rum


  1. What a beautiful blog. Your dedication at the end made me cry and it was so lovely to see the two of you so happy on your partnership day.

    1. Thank you. The photo of Jean was taken on that day, too. It's good to remember her looking so smart and well.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Fine food with fine beers

Once upon a Time... (Apologia pro curriculo meo)

Spritz and more