Champagne is an exquisite and costly ingredient. A luxurious sip that doesn't need any other ingredients to shine.
But at the same time, Champagne works amazingly well in a variety of drinks. Combined with fruity, sweet, and sometimes fresh flavors, it can lift your cocktails and confer class.
The interesting bit here is that in most cases, Champagne lifts a drink by creating additional layers of flavor and adding some sparkling to a flat cocktail. It brings it all together.
In the Champagne cocktail, however, it is the other way around. All the ingredients are there to complement and enhance the experience of drinking the finest Champagne.
And due to the simplicity end elegance of the drink, it's a perfect drink to enjoy on New Year's eve or other festive events.
How to make a Champagne cocktail
Unlike many other cocktails that need to be shaken or stirred, you can simply assemble the Champagne cocktail in a Champagne flute. The first step is to coat your sugar cube with Angostura bitters.
Then drop the soaked sugar cube into a chilled Champagne flute. Pour over the Cognac and fill up the glass with bubbly Champagne.
Finally, an elegant garnish of lemon peel will make the drink perfect. Ready to be served at your next New Year's eve event.
Which Cognac for the Champagne Cocktail?
The Cognac you use for the Champagne Cocktail should definitely be one of good quality. Champagne is such a costly and delicate ingredient, and you don't want to spoil that.
And even if you opt for another, less pricey sparkling wine than Champagne, the Cognac still needs to be able to enhance the taste.
On the other hand, premium Cognac would also be wasted in a mixed drink. So, I like to go with a decent and versatile mid-shelf option, like the Hennessy V.S. or the Hennessy V.S.O.P.
History of the Champagne cocktail
Like so many other classic cocktails, the recipe for the Champagne cocktail first was mentioned in Jerry Thomas's book The Bartender's Guide. A bible for every (home) bartender that includes an endless list of classic cocktail recipes.
A few of the recipes in the book are outdated due to the unavailability of certain ingredients. But that is not the case for the Champagne cocktail.
In his first recipe, Thomas just asked for Champagne, sugar, cocktail bitters, and lemon zest - all still readily available today. Still, the recipe did evolve over time.
Interestingly the drink was served on crushed ice and in a tumbler back then. Which is, in turn, as far from today's version as possible, I would say.
And then it seemingly wasn't Thomas who came up with an idea: Robert Tomes mentioned the drink seven years before in his book "Panama in 1855".
Along with the name of the cocktail, he also described how it should be served. But he left out the recipe. He wrote:
"A bottle of prime sparkling "Mum" was brought, a refreshing plateful of crystal ice, fresh from Rockland by the last steamer, and rather a medicinal looking bottle, upon which was written in direct, brief terms "Bitters"."Robert Tomes, Panama in 1855
That looks pretty much like the directions Jerry Thomas listed in his first book. Over time Tomes further improved the recipe by reducing the amount of ice and replacing the tumbler with a goblet glass.
Today's recipe is even more refined. The ice is gone completely, and to enhance the depth of flavors in the cocktail, a splash of Cognac joined the mix.
Other cocktails made with Champagne
This drink is only one of many cocktails made with Champagne. For a long time, they were almost forgotten and only served on special occasions because they were expensive.
However, during the past couple of decades, affordable quality sparkling wines like Prosecco, Cava, etc., entered the international market. So by replacing Champagne with another quality bubbly, these cocktails become more approachable again.
And honestly, they're too good not to be ordered and served in bars and restaurants.
Think of the Mimosa, one of the most famous brunch cocktails. Or the Kir Royale and the classic French 75. All of them are classy, elegant, and refined drinks even though they're so easy to make.
There are also more complex Champagne cocktails. The Russian Spring Punch, for instance, is a different story. But, nonetheless, these are delicious cocktails that shouldn't be forgotten.
Or you can try out cocktails like the Bellini or Aperol Spritz or the famous Barracuda cocktail.
- 1 Jigger
- 3.5 oz Brut Champagne
- 1 oz Cognac
- 3 dash Angostura bitters
- 1 Sugar cube
- Lemon peel (garnish)
- Coat and soak the sugar cube with Angostura bitters and drop it into a chilled Champagne flute.3 dash Angostura bitters, 1 Sugar cube
- Pour chilled Cognac over the soaked cube.1 oz Cognac
- Then top with Brut Champagne and garnish with lemon peel.Lemon peel
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