Luckily, I had set myself some really narrow guidelines. I wanted to somehow incorporate both gin and champagne but without veering too far into sweet territory. Desserts should be sweet, drinks should not. Emily introduced me to Hendrick's quite a few years ago and we have a well established champagne tradition from college, and I knew there must be a way to pair the two.
The cherub's cup was basically the only drink I found that met my criteria and it forced me to go purchase St. Germain, which I've been dying to do based on the bottle aesthetics alone. Win win! This drink is fairly similar to a French 75, but with a bit of a dressy twist thanks to the strawberries and elderflower. I can see this being a great standard for spring/summer parties.
Cherub's Cup (original recipe available all over the place - modified loosely to fit a large pitcher - I think it's a 52 oz one)
1/4 cup sliced strawberries + more for garnish
1/2 cup St. Germain
1 cup Hendrick's gin
1/3 cup lemon juice (this was NOT exact, so you can adjust)
~ 1.5 bottles dry sparkling wine (I just filled the pitcher)
*the original recipe also calls for simple syrup, but I tasted the drink and decided to leave it out - if you prefer sweeter drinks, you can add simple syrup or superfine sugar to taste*
:: Muddle your strawberries with a bit of the St. Germain (it's easier to muddle if you're working with a small volume - I always forget this and try to do it with the entire batch and whatever I'm muddling keeps floating up to the top, annoyingly).
:: Pour the muddled berries and all the hard alcohol into a large pitcher. Stir in the lemon juice and the sparkling wine and taste to make sure you like the proportions. You can make a bit more of the St. Germain + gin mix and add it in if you like. Add additional sliced berries to the top for a pretty finish.
I was preparing this super last minute, panicking slightly over the time, and realized I hadn't juiced the lemons yet. And then remembered that a couple months ago I'd frozen some leftover fresh lemon juice in an ice cube tray. I can't tell you how relieved I was - I needed those spare 30 seconds to get into real clothes. They had the added advantage of keeping the pitcher cold. Now I'm going to try to remember to always have lemon juice cubes on hand.