The Champagne Cocktail is a Timeless Drink Meant to Impress

Champagne toasting bright lights
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There are many Champagne cocktails, but only one Champagne Cocktail and it is a classic drink that everyone should know. It adds a little pizazz to the average glass of sparkling wine and you and your guests will love it.

The bitters and brandy bring a refreshing warmth to the drink and the sugar cube dissolves to create a beautiful fountain of bubbles that is a very fun visual effect. If you are serving this for others, pour the Champagne in front of them and let the drinker enjoy the spectacle!

Choose a good Champagne for this drink because it contributes the majority of the flavor. The better tasting the Champagne, the better the cocktail will be.

What You'll Need

How to Make It

  1. Place the sugar cube in the bottom of a Champagne flute.
  2. Saturate the cube with bitters.
  3. Add the brandy.
  4. Fill with Champagne and watch the sugar cube dissolve.
  5. Garnish with the orange slice and cherry.

The Key to a Great Champagne Cocktail

For this and all Champagne cocktails, add the Champagne at the very last minute.

  • Open the bottle right before serving for the freshest bubbles and the best visual as the sugar cube dissolves.
  • For faster service at a party, prepare all of the glasses you need with everything except the Champagne.

How Strong Is the Champagne Cocktail?

Wines vary in their alcohol content and to estimate the strength of the Champagne Cocktail, let's stick with the average of 12% ABV for the wine. Assuming you pour 5 ounces of Champagne, your drink would weigh in around 17% ABV (28 proof).

Even with an 80-proof brandy, it's still a relatively light drink in the cocktail world. The wine world is another matter and in that context, it's pretty hefty.

Variations on the Champagne Cocktail

As you might imagine, a drink as old and popular as the Champagne Cocktail has inspired a number of new renditions. If you just can't stop mixing your Champagne, give one of these recipes a try.

The Champagne Fizz

Also called a Diamond Fizz, the Champagne Fizz is like the refined big sister of the Gin Fizz. It is the use of champagne, rather than soda water, that distinguishes the two drinks and brings this one closer to the Champagne Cocktail.

  • The egg of the Gin Fizz is often skipped in the Champagne Fizz, though you can choose to add it. If you do so, shake more than normal.
  • You will also notice that this drink follows the fizz characteristic of being served over ice - a rarity for Champagne cocktails.

Tip: Choose a nice London dry gin and a dry Champagne (labeled brut) for the best Champagne Fizz.

To make the drink, mix 2 ounces gin, 1-ounce fresh lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a highball glass filled with ice before topping it with Champagne.

The Woodford Reserve Champagne Cocktail

This Champagne Cocktail is from the picturesque cookbook, "The Woodford Reserve Culinary Cocktail Tour." In it, the brandy of the traditional Champagne Cocktail is replaced with bourbon and instead of a sugar cube and bitters, it employs a sweet vanilla simple syrup.

To make the drink, pour 1 ounce Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey into a Champagne flute with 1/2 ounce vanilla simple syrup, then top with 4 ounces Korbel Champagne. Garnish with half a vanilla bean.

About That Vanilla Bean... While a vanilla bean garnish sounds like a great idea and does make a stunning presentation, it can be an expensive option. A single bean can cost over $10 and you may want to think about saving these precious beans for uses other than a garnish (like the simple syrup). The drink looks great without it.

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