Who’s up for a little recycling? Or maybe this is upcycling, since you could argue that we are going to make something better than it was. I am about ready to put a wrap on this champagne kick we have been on for the last couple of weeks, but I am going to leave this chapter with a helpful tip on what to do with leftover champagne. I know that this idea of leftover champagne is as foreign as the concept of leftover bacon or biscuits, and while it seems unlikely, it is theoretically possible. So in the spirit of trying to be accountable for your mistakes and making the best of things, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the Champagne Daiquiri.

Actually, leftover champagne happens more often than it should. You know how it is, everyone is having a good time, you pop another cork to refill a couple of glasses. The next morning you find half a bottle of no longer bubbly floating in a champagne bucket of tepid water. Normally, you would just pour that down the drain as you began to clean up, but there is a better way, make champagne syrup. This recipe comes to us from Marissa Barlow of Chicago’s Cold Storage. She, allegedly, worked this one up as a way to use open bottles of champagne while also trying to create a cocktail version of one of her childhood favorites, Baskin-Robbins Daiquiri Sorbet. I am a big fan of the classic Daiquiri and it’s many variations, so I am looking forward to trying this deceptively simple recipe.

First, you are going to need to make that champagne syrup. Nothing could be simpler as it is equal parts of flat champagne and sugar, heated and mixed till the sugar completely incorporates. Pop it in a bottle and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. I made mine with 1/2 a cup of each, but that is only because my bottle of Burlwood Cellars Brut had that much left in it. Measure your leftover champagne and adjust accordingly. Once you have that ready, grab your tins and pop in 2 ounces of white rum, I chose Havana Club 3 year; 3/4 of an ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice, 3/4 of an ounce of champagne syrup and 2 drops of Darjeeling Tea and Chamomile bitters by Droplets. Add ice and give it a good shake to “The Never Ending Story” by Limahl, who also happened to be the lead singer for Kajagoogoo, though he would probably be too shy to tell you that. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with some lime peel moons and some of the family jewels, suitable for the Moon Child in all of us. Strain into a chilled coupe as cold as the waters in the Swamp of Sadness. If you think of Artax in this moment, it is totally appropriate to add your tears to the cocktail.

This is a simple drink, but it works on every level. Obviously, your rum choice is going to influence this one heavily, which is why I went with some of the good stuff. The champagne syrup is a delicate flavor, but definitely present. This one is a solid riff on this drink and what a great excuse to upcycle that flat champagne. Just think, you could drink this one and feel good about helping the environment, as long as you recycle that bottle afterwards. I mean, it’s a small step, but as long as you aren’t sipping this one while setting fire to the rainforest, I think it counts as a good deed.

You could use a darker rum here if you want that flavor, but I went light to get that very white drink, which inspired Laura to add diamonds to the mix and get my mind running down that Never Ending Story rabbit hole. That’s a generally positive thing, I remember loving the story of Atreyu and the Moon Child and how Bastian could save the day by simply taking part. A few years ago I was in Munich, with time to kill, never once realizing that they have one of the original full-sized Falkor, the Luck Dragon props at Bavaria Filmstadt. Not only that, but you can ride him and they have a big fan to blow your hair while they take your picture as you take to the skies on the back of the world’s most popular cocker spaniel, I mean luck dragon. That’s a thing I could have done, except for my total ignorance of its existence. Trust me, next time I am in Bavaria, I am making a special trip. How cool would that be, to become a part of the Never Ending Story, just like Bastian did at the end of the movie. Child me loved that part, adult me feels like that was a particularly lazy bit of writing, but no one is knocking my door down to write yet another sequel, so who am I to judge. That’s right, I am Monkeybrad and I am going to judge.

Sure, the ending was a bit of deus ex machina, I can forgive that, but what the hell was going on in the writers mind when he let Artax sink into that swamp? Seriously, dude, who hurt you? I can see an argument for “kids need to get tough” and “life’s not fair” but really, you are going to slowly let the horse sink into the swamp of sadness, showing us its fear, letting us hear the screams. Way to let us participate in Atreyu’s life-altering terror. I don’t just blame the writer, but also the producers who did not make that cut, the director that filmed it, the designers who created that amazing set, the editors who chose to keep that in the film, and so many more people who should have stood up and asked “Why are we doing this?” Any one of those folks could have saved a generation from those emotional scars, but they remained silent. I understand that those folks grew up after being forced to read “Old Yeller” and “The Yearling” and any other number of “coming of age” stories, but even having suffered through that, you don’t let the pet and friend die onscreen. That’s just dirty pool. It’s heartbreaking enough to hear the gunshot from off camera.

Try to remember, we want things to be better for those who come after us. It’s not that hard. If you see a situation and your response is to make sure that no one gets to go through that without suffering at least as much as you did, well you are doing it wrong. If your plan is to make sure they “learn character” it’s a bad one, since you clearly did not. Life is hard enough, even when everyone is pulling together to try and make things better. If you are going out of your way to make things harder for people, especially those who are less fortunate, you missed the lesson. We’ve got to be better than that. It isn’t enough to simply not get in folks way, we have to stand up and speak up when others try to set up roadblocks on the path to success. Suffering isn’t mandatory, so don’t make it hard for folks to get an education or vote and don’t kill the damned horse in front of the kids. Do the good thing, have a champagne cocktail, help save the world and stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.