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What is your favourite champagne cocktail recipe?

sarah galvin Oct 31, 2008 05:03 PM

I wasn't sure if I should post this on the wine board or the spirits board. I am having a cocktail party and want to offer a champagne cocktail as their welcoming drink. I want it to be easy and liked by most people. I am not interested in a fruity drink. What have you tried and like?

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  1. s
    squidly RE: sarah galvin Oct 31, 2008 05:20 PM

    I love French 75s, which are easy to make and delicious. Here's an example recipe : http://culinariaeugenius.wordpress.co...

    I stole a trick from a restaurant in my area that makes them with meyer lemons. Seriously wonderful.

    -Another Sarah G.

    2 Replies
    1. re: squidly
      SteveG RE: squidly Nov 6, 2008 10:07 PM

      Totally agree. French 75s, made with a gin heavy on floral notes and light on juniper (i.e.,Damrack or Hendricks), are entirely worthy of decent sparkling wine or low-end champagne.

      For the kir/belini types of drinks, any sort of bubbly between $10 and $20 seems to go down just fine.

      1. re: squidly
        sarah galvin RE: squidly Nov 10, 2008 05:05 PM

        I finally made a modified French 75 - with gin and bitters and sugar cube. I like it! I had forgotten about your recipe, now I'll try it with lemon juice rather than bitters. But....I can only handle a touch of gin! They are killer.

      2. TonyO RE: sarah galvin Oct 31, 2008 05:34 PM

        Splash of Chambord topped with Champagne and a fresh raspberry.

        Happy Halloween !

        1. z
          zin1953 RE: sarah galvin Oct 31, 2008 07:00 PM

          Favorite recipe?

          1. Chill bottle of Champagne.
          2. Open bottle of Champagne.
          3. Pour.
          4. Drink.

          I know lots of people love Champagne cocktails, but I just had to throw in that I've never tasted one I preferred to "straight" Champagne. But that said, I would urge you not to use a top-quality Champagne in your cocktail. A Charmat bottling from California, or an Italian Prosecco, will work just fine . . .

          13 Replies
          1. re: zin1953
            sarah galvin RE: zin1953 Oct 31, 2008 07:57 PM

            I know, I know. What can top champagne!

            1. re: sarah galvin
              maria lorraine RE: sarah galvin Oct 31, 2008 08:36 PM

              Sarah, I'm with zin1953 here...

              If you really wanted to play around with a "Champagne" cocktail to greet your guests, I'd be tempted to buy an inexpensive Rose sparkling wine that still tasted all right -- say the Mumm Napa Rose Brut, and add a splash of cranberry or pomegranate juice -- so it's pink on pink -- and garnish with a cranberry in the bottom of the flute...kinda seasonal.

              I recall the old "Champagne" cocktails with the angostura bitters and sugar cube, the Bellini, the Kir Royale, and several others. But you never muck with good Champagne, as you probably well know...

              1. re: maria lorraine
                tmso RE: maria lorraine Nov 1, 2008 02:44 PM

                Sure, you don't much with the good champagne, but what's wrong with mucking with the okay stuff? I'm perfectly happy to drink a nice glass of bourgogne aligoté all by its lonesome, but if I'd like to have a kir, I hardly feel like it's a crime. Some lower-end champagnes are in the same category for me (although they tend to cost too much for what they are, unlike aligoté) -- I'll happily drink them, but I'll happily drink them with cassis or violette as well.

                But to answer my own question, I think drinking or mucking with the okay champagnes is generally a rip-off. Buy two bottles of the same quality Sekt, prosecco or cava, or spend a few bucks more on a better bottle.

                1. re: tmso
                  maria lorraine RE: tmso Nov 1, 2008 06:23 PM

                  "Sure, you don't much with the good champagne, but what's wrong with mucking with the okay stuff?"

                  To quote a famous movie line, "You talking to me???"

                  I said mucking with inexpensive sparkling wine was fine, even providing a recipe for suitable mucking with the Mumm Napa Rose Brut.

                  If you like enjoy a Kir Royale, Bellini, or other sparkling wine cocktail, by all means, please enjoy them and muck to your heart's content. I'll even join you occasionally, especially in the summertime for fresh white peach Bellinis on the porch for brunch. But if you try to muck with my Krug or RM, I may get violent.

                  We're not in disagreement so I'm not quite understanding your post.

                  1. re: maria lorraine
                    tmso RE: maria lorraine Nov 17, 2008 02:26 AM

                    I thought I was talking to you, anyhow. The point I was trying to make, without too much success it seems, was: I totally agree with you about not messing with Krug, and about going ahead and messing with cheaper sparklers. But, I fear that people often dismiss better Proseccos, Cavas and Sekts as being only good for mixing, and often hold lower-end Champagnes is a reverence they don't deserve. A lot of the latter are no better than Sekts that cost half as much -- while at the same time, there are some very nice Sekts that cost about the same as low-end champagnes, but would be too nice to use as a mixer.

                    Not sure if that's a disagreement with you or not, it wasn't clear to me from your posts.

                    1. re: tmso
                      maria lorraine RE: tmso Nov 17, 2008 06:29 PM

                      Yes, yes, very nice. Good points. No, not all Champagnes are, ahem! Champagnes.

                      I truly did not understand your first post. Thanks for clarifying.


                2. re: maria lorraine
                  SteveG RE: maria lorraine Nov 6, 2008 10:15 PM

                  Maria, what do you know about Roederer Estate's low end California stuff? It used to be my go to cheap Rose, but recently it seems to have fallen off in quality. Are they using new vineyards, expanding production too much, etc.? The higher end stuff still seems the same.

                  In my experience it strikes me as a better value than Mumm's low end stuff.

                  1. re: SteveG
                    maria lorraine RE: SteveG Nov 6, 2008 10:34 PM

                    Just had a glass two weeks ago (as a greeting!) and it seemed kinda like nothin'.

                    Roederer Estate changed their winemaker, perhaps changed their fruit-sourcing,
                    perhaps over-expanded and quality suffered as a result. But no, it's not the same.I believe Jason (zin1953) wrote a post within the past year about the changes in RE. I'll see if I can find it.

                    But for a Champagne cocktail, cheap RE would be fine. The Mumm Rose --
                    in contrast to the RE -- has more Pinot Noir heft...better for food and for a cocktail.

                    I'd love to try a Mumm Rose cocktail with a dosage of Cointreau, a splash of Pom, and a long spiral of orange peel. I may hate it, but I'd like to try it.

                    1. re: maria lorraine
                      mengathon RE: maria lorraine Dec 31, 2008 11:14 PM

                      Maria, remember when I didn't care for the Mumm rose? I think I've come around on it! I had a glass this past week, and it was, well, pretty damn good! Maybe it was because it was free. I'll try a second bottle on my own dime.

                      1. re: mengathon
                        maria lorraine RE: mengathon Jan 4, 2009 10:27 PM

                        Happy New Year, meng...
                        It's the not the finest Rose Bubbly, but for $13 -$15, it's got a great QPR. As does the Brut Prestige, also by Mumm Napa Valley.

              2. re: zin1953
                ibstatguy RE: zin1953 Nov 1, 2008 06:10 AM


                1. re: ibstatguy
                  TonyO RE: ibstatguy Nov 1, 2008 07:07 AM

                  I somehow doubt the IP was wondering what to do with a case of 1996 Krug.................

                  1. re: TonyO
                    zin1953 RE: TonyO Nov 1, 2008 09:32 AM

                    I should bloody well hope not!

              3. Gussie Finknottle RE: sarah galvin Nov 1, 2008 07:51 AM

                There is nothing you can add to Champagne that doesn't detract from one of the most enjoyable drinks in the world.

                If you intend spoiling your Champagne, please do leave a few glasses untouched for people who appreciate it.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Gussie Finknottle
                  sarah galvin RE: Gussie Finknottle Nov 1, 2008 12:28 PM

                  I am torn. I love champagne alone. I even like the other sparklies like cava and prosecco.

                  1. re: sarah galvin
                    zin1953 RE: sarah galvin Nov 1, 2008 12:51 PM

                    There are countless delicious sparkling wines from around the world, not only from the Champagne region of France.

                    You might want to seek out, as but one example, a Vin de Bugey-Cerdon. There are low in alcohol, typically about 8 percent, and quite fruity; off-dry, but not cloying (think of a well-made Extra Dry, rather than a Brut, but with more finesse); and with a pale pink-to-rosé color. The two best I have found are the Domaine Renardat-Fâche, which is imported by Louis/Dressner (see http://louisdressner.com/Renardat/ ); and the one produced by Patrick Bottex, which is imported into the US by Kermit Lynch (Kermit's website is horrible, so see http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku... for a description). I think you'll like them.

                    1. re: zin1953
                      sarah galvin RE: zin1953 Nov 1, 2008 01:10 PM

                      Perhaps I should serve a rose champagne/sparkling wine rather than the cocktail idea. It would be much simpler.

                      1. re: sarah galvin
                        zin1953 RE: sarah galvin Nov 1, 2008 02:45 PM

                        The Wine Cellar in Calgary appears to have some Lucien Albrecht Cremant D'Alsace Brut in stock -- very tasty!

                        1. re: zin1953
                          sarah galvin RE: zin1953 Nov 3, 2008 08:01 PM

                          I just checked their website and couldn't find it. I'll have to drive down and ask. Thanks for the tip.

                          1. re: sarah galvin
                            zin1953 RE: sarah galvin Nov 4, 2008 06:04 AM


                            CSPC PRODUCER Our SPARKLING YEAR PRICE
                            718195 Lucien Albrecht Cremant D'Alsace Brut $20.99

                            1. re: zin1953
                              sarah galvin RE: zin1953 Nov 4, 2008 07:53 AM

                              Wow! That's service and such a good price point. I'll be down.

                              1. re: sarah galvin
                                maria lorraine RE: sarah galvin Nov 4, 2008 09:06 AM

                                That Jason is sum-thin'.

                2. p
                  pickypicky RE: sarah galvin Nov 1, 2008 08:02 AM

                  I disagree with many above. ANY sparkling wine works in a champagne cocktail, even the $3 bottles. That's the beauty. The bubbles make it all good. I love (even though you said not "fruity") the "Me and Mrs. Jones" cocktail from the great book SHAKEN AND STIRRED, from NYT colum of same name. (Remember that song? The drink feels like that exactly. Very seductive.)

                  1/2 oz dry vermouth, 1/2 Rose's Lime Juice 5 oz champagne or sparkling wine, 1 oz chambord, 1 or 2 dashes maraschino cherry juice, dash of bitters, maraschino cherry if you like.

                  Chill everything. In champagne glass add lime juice, and Chambord. Fill the glass with champagne. Top with vermouth, cherry juice and bitters. Garnish with cherry (optional) The layers merge lazily together and the only problem is drinking too many and going astray during the party.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: pickypicky
                    zin1953 RE: pickypicky Nov 1, 2008 09:32 AM

                    >>> I disagree with many above. ANY sparkling wine works in a champagne cocktail, even the $3 bottles. That's the beauty. <<<

                    Who are you disagreeing with? The whole point IS to use inexpensive sparklers!

                    1. re: zin1953
                      pickypicky RE: zin1953 Nov 1, 2008 12:09 PM

                      I was disagreeing with the commentors who said that a champagne cocktail is a ruin of good champagne. True. A champagne cocktail should only be made with an cheap bubbler. And I've never found one so bad it couldn't be used in a ch. cocktail. . .

                    2. re: pickypicky
                      Gussie Finknottle RE: pickypicky Nov 1, 2008 10:10 AM

                      If you're talking about $3 bottles then you are not talking about Champagne.

                      1. re: pickypicky
                        sarah galvin RE: pickypicky Nov 1, 2008 12:27 PM

                        This sounds wonderful but I think a little too complicated for a larger party. Can most of it be made in advance and then just top up with champagne.

                        And, BTW, I'm not using the expensive stuff!! But I do think that I should use something decent, like a prosecco or cava.

                        1. re: sarah galvin
                          pickypicky RE: sarah galvin Nov 1, 2008 03:03 PM

                          Sarah, if you mean the "me and Mrs. Jones" cocktail-- yes, you can prepare in advance. A pitcher of the Chambord and lime juice (increased per proportions), the champagne opened, and a pitcher of the vermouth, bitters, and cherry juice. practice pouring into a glass to see the right amount for each. Then it's just three pours. there's just something about cocktails that elevates an event. I have friends who won't drink champagne no matter how fine it is, but they won't turn down any cocktail, if it's free. (And you might want to experiment on a few pre-drinks. Always fun)

                          1. re: pickypicky
                            sarah galvin RE: pickypicky Nov 2, 2008 12:49 PM

                            I agree - 'there is something about a cocktail that elevates an event'. I have already had a bottle of sparkling vino sampling recipe - I guess another bottle wouldn't be that bad! Cherry juice? I have never had that.

                      2. c
                        C4E RE: sarah galvin Nov 1, 2008 04:43 PM

                        I love good Champagne but if you are looking for a cocktail, I would have to go with Kir Imperial -- Chambord and Champagne topped with either a fresh raspberry or thin slice of lemon peel.

                        Kir Royale is also good - Champagne with Creme de Cassis

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: C4E
                          brandygirl RE: C4E Nov 1, 2008 05:42 PM

                          I agree. A nice sparkling wine (good enough to drink on its own) with a splash of Chambord or Creme de Cassis is a festive, easy cocktail. Those who prefer to drink the sparkling wine straight can also easily be accommodated.

                          Another idea is adding a splash of St. Germain to the sparkling wine. It's delicious.

                          1. re: C4E
                            sarah galvin RE: C4E Nov 2, 2008 12:50 PM

                            I was thinking of using frozen raspberries ( I froze them in season) as a garnish. I guess if I keep them 'frozen' that would be ok.

                            1. re: sarah galvin
                              maria lorraine RE: sarah galvin Nov 2, 2008 03:20 PM

                              I'd be tempted to not do anything sweet to start-- it'll wreck palates for later.

                              How much checking into old Champagne cocktails have you done, Sarah? I ask because 20+ years ago, I hosted a Champagne cocktail party and researched the old recipes. We all got schnockered that evening, but it was a great party. The recipe and ingredients for each Champagne cocktail were arranged in groupings at the bar.

                              I remember one cocktail that was the best -- inexpensive bubbly, a "dosage" of brandy, a long spiral of lemon peel cut with a channel knife a la Martha Stewart, and a drop of bitters. Clean, savory, citrusy.

                              You may want to keep an eye on your guests' "comfort." Perhaps assemble a silver platter of water bottles, aspirin, ibuprofen and taxi certificates. Plenty of hot coffee, tea, other non-alc cocktails at the ready. Cocktail parties can get, um, rambunctious when nobody's looking. (Part of the point.)

                              1. re: maria lorraine
                                sarah galvin RE: maria lorraine Nov 2, 2008 05:43 PM

                                That was the recipe I was thinking to do. Just a touch of brandy though! I'll pick up one of those channel knives. These are clients...so I hope they don't get too rambunctious! Wouldn't be pretty!

                          2. g
                            grantham RE: sarah galvin Nov 2, 2008 04:40 PM

                            Our favorite champagne is Nicolas Feuillatte from Epernay, which is one of our favorite towns in all of France. Our aperitif du jour for a birthday brunch today was this wonderful champagne combined with my wife's homemade raspberry cordial. Perfect pre-election birthday cocktail. Who knows what we will be able to afford after the election? Salute!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: grantham
                              brandygirl RE: grantham Nov 2, 2008 08:15 PM

                              I love the Nicolas Feuillatte Rose. I think it's even better than the Billecart Salmon Rose that everyone raves about.

                            2. h
                              himbeer RE: sarah galvin Nov 2, 2008 07:02 PM

                              How about a champagne punch? I don't remember how my sister made it [I don't think ginger ale was involved] but lots of blueberries, grapes and raspberries. She made nonalcoholic punch drinks with fruit and 7-up for the kids.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: himbeer
                                sarah galvin RE: himbeer Nov 3, 2008 03:19 PM

                                I had considered a punch - one that you would add the champagne to their glass after pouring in a little of the punch. Then the fizz would stay - it is a 'come and go' party so spans over about 6 hours.

                              2. AnneInMpls RE: sarah galvin Nov 3, 2008 10:51 PM

                                Sarah, greeting guests with a champagne cocktail is a lovely idea! (And we Champagne purists should untwist our knickers and assume that Sarah meant "sparkling wine" instead of really expensive French Champagne.)

                                My favorites:
                                - The classic Kir Royale: a generous splash of cassis with sparkling wine.
                                - Sparkling wine and Chambord (black raspberry liqueur)
                                - Sparkling wine and Grand Marnier
                                - Campari-Grapefruit Champagne - sparkling wine, Campari, splash of grapefruit juice

                                Something that sounds great, but which I've never had:
                                - Bellini Royale - sparkling wine, peach juice, and a raspberry or a splash of Grenadine

                                Maria Lorraine's idea of bubbly, brandy, lemon, and bitters sounds really good, too.

                                For sparkling wines, I really like Gruet (from New Mexico) and Zardetto Prosecco. Your local wine store can probably recommend others that would make good mixers.

                                For recipes, see this site:

                                Have a great time!

                                1. k
                                  kasiav RE: sarah galvin Nov 4, 2008 05:34 PM

                                  Saw this article today and thought it might be of interest - it details an entire 'cookbook' of champagne cocktail recipes and highlights two recipes from the book


                                  1. k
                                    kenito799 RE: sarah galvin Nov 12, 2008 10:24 AM

                                    1/2 oz St Germain elderflower liqueur
                                    1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
                                    fill with Champagne/sparkler of your choice

                                    We (crazily) drank these last NYE with many wonderful Chmapagnes, arguably an extravagant waste--I think these would also be great with a cheap dry cava.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: kenito799
                                      sarah galvin RE: kenito799 Nov 12, 2008 09:46 PM

                                      I am, in fact, using a cava. Have to find that liqueur. Haven't seen it here.

                                      1. re: sarah galvin
                                        AnneInMpls RE: sarah galvin Nov 13, 2008 10:08 AM

                                        If you're anywhere near a German or Scandinavian deli, perhaps you could use elderflower syrup instead of the liqueur. (I found elderflower syrup at Ikea a while back - not sure if they still carry it.)

                                        Great idea, kenito - thanks for the recipe.


                                    2. Munchkin RE: sarah galvin Nov 17, 2008 07:12 AM

                                      Victoria's Secret Pink: Combine 1 ounce vodka (Belvedere preferred), ¾ ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur and ½ ounce Fragoli strawberry liqueur in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled, sugar-rimmed martini glass and top off with ¾ ounce champagne (Moet & Chandon preferred). Garnish with a ball of pink cotton candy.

                                      1. sarah galvin RE: sarah galvin Nov 17, 2008 02:02 PM

                                        Thanks to all. With all the enthusiasm for the French 75, I made it, but much weaker with the gin! The other choice was what I called fruity - just a little bit of raspberry juice and a whole frozen raspberry ( I put them up in season ) and topped with bubbly.

                                        Most people opted for the fruity one! Hardly any takers on the French 75. I quite liked it. I ended up using cava Pares Balta at $18/bottle. It was very nice. I tried the Cremant d'Alsace at a cocktail bar and it was wonderful! But I couldn't get downtown to buy it for the $20. The other wine store I stopped at was asking $27.

                                        1. maria lorraine RE: sarah galvin Dec 5, 2008 06:07 PM

                                          "Champagne cocktails make your holiday parties pop"
                                          from the San Franciso Chronicle today:

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: maria lorraine
                                            maria lorraine RE: maria lorraine Dec 23, 2008 03:03 PM

                                            Oh, but wait, there's more...

                                            From Bloomberg today:
                                            Champagne Cocktails Get Splash of Absinthe, Shot of Tequila

                                            1. re: maria lorraine
                                              susancinsf RE: maria lorraine Dec 25, 2008 10:30 AM

                                              Santa brought hubby a bottle of Absinthe for Christmas, because, well, neither hubby nor Santa had tried it, and they were both curious...hubby being the internet guy, looked up absinthe recipes online, and found the following cocktail, supposedly one of Hemingway's favorites:

                                              Death in the Afternoon:

                                              One jigger of Absinthe
                                              add chilled champagne until it turns cloudy

                                              Drink three to five slowly....

                                              Here's to Papa.

                                              Conclusion: it is important to get the proportions right, by waiting for that cloudiness, and that was tough to do in our champagne glasses which lacked enough volume (starting with less Absinthe might have helped). We were using J Cuvee 20 Russian River sparkling wine, since that is what happened to be available, and I don't think that was a good match, too citrusy perhaps? (but then again, the J cuvee 20 is a bit too citrusy for my taste even on its own).

                                              I think hubby is going to stick with some of the more traditional ice water-sugar cube preparations for his gift. The cocktail does has good potential as a party conversation starter however....

                                              1. re: susancinsf
                                                maria lorraine RE: susancinsf Dec 27, 2008 11:40 PM

                                                Here's to Papa. Very nice post.

                                                Coincidentally, I happened to be researching the cocktail mauresque this evening (pastis and orgeat syrup) and I came across a mention of

                                                Death in the Afternoon

                                                which sounds to me like a Fellini movie...

                                                and a mention that the cocktail could also be made with pastis, instead of the wormwood-infused absinthe that Papa no doubt drank. I learned the cloudiness results when water or a liquid with water is added and some of the thujone, the sage-flavored component of wormwood, comes out of solution. Wild.

                                                More on absinthe, the formerly forbidden wormwood component thujone,
                                                and the Death cocktail here:

                                                Now I'm curious why Hemingway named gave both the cocktail and the book the same title.

                                                1. re: maria lorraine
                                                  SteveG RE: maria lorraine Dec 31, 2008 12:21 PM

                                                  Normal Pernod (not the wormwood original) also turns cloudy. I always thought it was the anise, and that seems to be correct. The essential oil trans-anethol comes from star anise, and is also a significant ingredient in Ouzo. You can read more about it if you google the Ouzo effect:



                                                  "According to Elke Scholten, now based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, and her colleagues in France and the Netherlands, the white emulsion that forms when the aniseed-flavoured alcoholic drink is mixed with water, defies the rules of theoretical chemistry.
                                                  'The usual theories don't apply here,' Scholten told Chemistry World. Her experiments showed that, contrary to the usual behaviour of oil-water emulsions, the stability of the droplets increased as more ethanol was added to the mixture. Since the oil is soluble in ethanol, this would be expected to make the emulsion unstable and decrease the size of the oil droplets.
                                                  Stable emulsions can usually only be produced by shaking, disrupting the solution with ultrasound or adding a chemical that affects the surface tension of the solution. But Pernod and water spontaneuosly forms an emulsion - a process that could be valuable to industry if it can be harnessed. "

                                                  1. re: SteveG
                                                    maria lorraine RE: SteveG Dec 31, 2008 12:49 PM

                                                    Thanks for that. I always love "Mr. Science" stuff. The NY Times article above says, "The key constituent of wormwood is a chemical called thujone, which gives it — and absinthe — a penetrating evergreen aroma. (Thujone is also a major component of the herb sage.) Thujone and the other aromatic compounds are what cause absinthe to become milky when it’s diluted. The aromatics are more soluble in alcohol than in water, so when the concentrated spirit is cut with wine or water, they cluster together in tiny droplets that reflect light from their surfaces. Instantly, what was a clear liquid clouds over."

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