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LIVE 24-SEVEN


distilled from palm tree sap and not (apparently) unlike soy sauce. Hardly surprising then that Champagne soon jumped ahead in popularity!!


By the end of the 19th century,


most New Year's parties were serving Champagne. In the five decades leading up to the start of the century, champagne sales


skyrocketed from 6 million bottles per year to a staggering 28 million, and in the 1930s a popular New York restaurant made sure it was the thing to drink.


The restaurant was Café Martin, opened in 1902 by a pair of French brothers, the Martin brothers, who had opened their first restaurant a few decades before. By 1903, the menu advertised their selection of 69 different Champagnes. Their importing of these Champagnes was a hugely profitable part of their business and New Year's became one of their biggest, most profitable days.


PROHIBITION?


The US was still importing Champagne during prohibition… just using less direct (illegal) routes. Around 70 million bottles of Champagne were still shuttled into America between 1920 and 1933.


In 1926, many people fell sick (with more than 30 dying) after drinking alcohol poisoned by the government in an attempt to curb holiday drinking. Some estimates suggest that the nationwide alcohol poisoning programme killed somewhere around 10,000 people. I knew nothing about this…very sober food (and drink) for thought!!


Celebrating the arrival of the New Year took root across Europe and by 1800 it was common to remain awake until midnight, when church bells tolled and firearms fired. In some cities, it became tradition to roam from house to house, with the full expectation you’d be invited in for a drink…and I have to confess, I do love the whole ‘open house’ tradition.


In 1967, the winner of LeMans was evidently the first to celebrate by shaking and spraying a bottle of Champagne, bringing in an era in which athletes celebrate by pouring one of civilization’s most sublime discoveries over the heads of sweaty fellow competitors – though many of the Champagne houses now have a ‘special’ style of the house wine especially for these occasions, which is reassuring….it just seems a terrible waste otherwise!


So, we come to one of the most important and memorable parts of New Year’s Eve, the popping of the cork. Whether it be Champagne, Cava, Prosecco or other, it’s the ‘pop’ that marks a moment in time, after which everything will be different…at least until the morning!!!!


I wish you all a Happy and Peaceful New Year, filled with all manner of good things and, most importantly, much love.


Also, a huge thank you to Katie and her incredible team, who New Year after New Year, produce a magazine that has never ever, been surpassed in its field.


I raise my glass to you all!! Santé x


95


LIVE24-SEVEN.COM


WINING & DINING WINE EXPER T


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