New Year’s Day is fast approaching. That means a huge celebration of the year we just finished and a leaping off point for the year we are about to tackle. Major celebrations are equated with bringing out the bubbly. The corks are going to pop and champagne is going to flow. It is a lovely, crisp and effervescent drink on its own. It is also a great base for some delicious cocktails.
Champagne in a cocktail has been around for as long as champagne has been around. Here are five cocktails you can make for your guests to add a little more flavor to the mix.
Punch It Up
Punches are classics when it comes to cocktails; people would mix up huge batches for self-service at parties, meetings, and creating Constitutions. It is a simple, delicious way to get a cocktail into your guests’ hands as they walk in the door. Here is a concoction from Allrecipes that is typical of a punch recipe:
Champagne Punch (makes 35 4 oz. servings)
1 12 oz. can of cranberry juice concentrate
1 12 oz. can of pink lemonade concentrate
1 6 oz. can of limeade concentrate
1 bottle of chilled white wine
1 liter of soda water
2 bottles of chilled champagne
In a large punch bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Add a large block of ice to keep it all cold. Garnish with sliced lemons and limes.
Simple to make and delightful to drink. You can change the flavors to the taste of your guests, just mind the proportions.
Keep It Simple
People hear the word “cocktail” and think of something complex, yet elegant. Good cocktails can be just two or three ingredients mixed in the proper proportions. A Black Velvet can be made with ingredients you already have at the party!
Stout (Guinness is the traditional choice, but select your favorite)
In a glass, mix equal parts stout and champagne. It is just that simple. Just pour SLOWLY. Champagne fizzes a great deal when you add things to it.
Gotta Go Back In Time
Casablanca is one of my favorite movies of all time. Captain Renault spends a good deal of the movie ordering and consuming champagne cocktails. It is not a generic cocktail name, but something specific (and simple) to make.
1 sugar cube
4 dashes Angostura bitters
Put the sugar cube and bitters into a champagne flute or coupe. Pour the champagne over the other ingredients and garnish with a twist of lemon. Enjoy!
Before processed foods, sodas and easily accessible juices, sugar and bitters were very popular ingredients used to flavor drinks.
Show Off Your Skills
Here is a rare gem of a cocktail. It was created in Louisville in 1917, named after the hotel it was invented in, then lost until 1997 when it was printed in New Classic Cocktails. It is a vintage cocktail that has not caught on, and I have no idea why. It is delightful.
1 oz. bourbon
.5 oz. orange liqueur
7 dashes Angostura bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
5 oz. champagne
Pour all the ingredients except for the champagne into a flute and stir. Add the champagne and give it a few more gentle stirs. You can use an orange twist as a garnish.
It takes a few more ingredients, but it is well worth it. Bitters last for a long time, so you can play with different cocktail and cooking combinations through the year.
I have been known to play with an ingredient or two. One of my favorite things to do as a bartender is make things up on the spot, using past recipes as a base to launch off of. This recipe is a result of that.
Ginger Spiced Champagne
1 oz. ginger liqueur
.5 oz. raspberry liqueur
1 oz. cranberry juice
Mix all of the ingredients except for the champagne in a champagne flute. Add the champagne and give it a gentle stir or two.
The ginger and cranberry add a little bite to the sweet champagne. It may take a few ingredients that you do not have around the house, but the end result is well worth it.
One thing to remember about using champagne with a cocktail is that the champagne should be the star. It is more than just a mixer; it adds sweetness and sparkle to whatever it is being mixed with. Of course, if there is any champagne on January 1st you can make mimosas. Happy New Year!