RisqueI’ve been lucky enough to try both Toad Hollow Vineyards’ Risqué ($15.99) sparkling wine and the 2014 Toad Hollow Dry Rose of Pinot Noir ($11.99). I have to say tasting both of these affordable wines on a beautiful spring afternoon really made my day.

While both are delicious enough to stand on their own a few masterful mixologists decided to shake things up with the Risqué.

IMG_6221 (1)Toad Hollow Vineyards’ Risqué is a non-vintage, crisp and fruity French sparkling wine with low alcohol (6 percent) and a delicate sweetness. It is made from 100 percent Mauzac, a grape mainly grown in Gaillac and Limoux in southern France. The taste is pears and apples, with nice acidity and a touch of residual sugar.

In honor of Toad Hollow owner Frankie Williams, Bess Bistro in Austin, Texas, serves Risqué as the restaurant’s namesake cocktail.

Check out these 4 Risqué Sparkling Wine Recipes


Crushed ice

5 oz. Toad Hollow Risqué

1 quarter lime

Lime slice

Put ice in a glass, pour Risqué over ice, squeeze lime and stir. Garnish with lime slice and serve.

V Seagrove in Seagrove Beach, Florida gives a nod to Frankie Williams with this delicious drink.


1 ¼ oz. elderflower liqueur

1 oz. strawberry purée or any seasonal purée

3 oz. Toad Hollow Risqué

Rosemary sprig

frankie seagrove 3Combine elderflower liqueur and purée in a shaker. Shake well and pour into a martini glass. Top with Risqué and garnish with sprig of rosemary.

Risqué is made by the méthode ancestrale, which results in a lightly sparkling, medium-sweet wine. The rarely used method involves bottling young wines before all the residual sugar has been fermented into alcohol. Fermentation continues in the bottle and gives off carbon dioxide. The wine is sweeter and less fizzy than sparkling wine made using the Champagne method, and no dosage is allowed. The méthode ancestrale is still used in parts of France, such as in Gaillac and Limoux.

Drink Risqué by the glass with Brie and candied nuts to celebrate the end of the week or take advantage of how it lends itself to a number of cocktail ideas. The following recipes will sparkle for spring & summer brunch, a landmark birthday, or a seductive surprise for a loved one.

Frankie and staff decided to craft their own refreshing and celebratory cocktail recipes to share with visitors:


Rosemary sprigs

1 oz. pomegranate juice

4 oz. Toad Hollow Risqué

Squeeze of lime

Pomegranate seeds

Muddle rosemary sprig with pomegranate juice. Strain juice into a Champagne glass. Top with Risqué and spritz of lime. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and sprig of rosemary.


½ oz. simple syrup (see recipe below)

8 to 10 mint leaves

Dash bitters

4 oz. Toad Hollow Risqué

Crushed ice

Lemon wheel

Muddle syrup, mint and bitters in a double old-fashioned glass. Top with Risqué. Fill with crushed ice. Garnish with mint and lemon wheel.


1 c. water

1 c. white sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Allow to cool. Makes 1 ⅓ c. Keep refrigerated in a glass jar for up to one month.

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