The Champagne Cocktail is an all-time favorite, which I’d drink a lot more if it didn’t entail opening a bottle of something bubbly. It’s delicious, elegant, and easy, which combined with aforementioned need to open a bottle, makes it perfect for entertaining.
Douse a sugar cube in bitters, drop it into a champagne flute, top with bubbly and serve with a twist. That’s it – fast and easy. You’ll see that the recipe follows the original definition of a cocktail: spirits, sugar, bitters, and water – only the last missing in this case. The Champagne Cocktail dates from the mid-19th century, with accounts of drinks that approximate it predating Jerry Thomas’s How to Mix Drinks (The first manual of mixology). His 1862 edition serves it without sugar, over crushed ice, but by 1867, he’s added the sugar and whittled it down to a single cube.
The constant stream of bubbles, caused by the rough surface of the sugar cube, adds a festive visual. I find that the wine goes faster than the sugar and often top up guests’ glasses.
- Cold wine (get your ice bucket out!)
- A chilled glass, if possible
- Dry bubbly, but not too expensive, or you’re better off drinking it plain. Prosecco is too sweet, I like a Cava.
- Pour the champagne slowly, down the side of the glass, to save the bubbles
Champagne Cocktail Recipe
- 1 cube sugar
- 2-3 dashes bitters
- 1 lemon twist
- 3 oz Champagne very cold
- Soak sugar cube in bitters
- Drop into glass
- Top with Champagne
- Serve with twist