New Year’s Eve is staring us in the face, and with it comes the feeling that you really need to serve champagne – the bubbly stuff goes hand-in-hand with celebrations. You can stick with a traditional toast at midnight, or splurge a little and enjoy some classic (and easy) champagne cocktails.

Champagne cocktails have been around pretty much as long as the cocktail itself. Mark Twain mentioned champagne cocktails in Innocents Abroad in 1869. There’s a recipe for a champagne cocktail in Jerry Thomas’ The Bartenders Guide in 1862. And champagne cocktails weren’t restricted to upper-crust gentlemen out on the town or travelers exploring Europe. Mrs. Beeton’s  Book of Household Management, indispensable advice for all proper women, included recipes for punches made with champagne and liqueurs or brandy with its first publication in 1861.

Yields 1

Classic Champagne Cocktail Recipe

5 mins Prep Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Champagne or sparkling wine
  • Orange or lemon twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. Soak the sugar cube with bitters and drop in the bottom of a champagne flute.
  2. Top with champagne and drop in the twist for garnish.
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Quick tip: Don’t feel like you have to break the bank to enjoy champagne. There are delicious sparkling wines in almost every price range. And don’t be intimidated by flying champagne corks – opening a champagne bottle is surprisingly easy.

It’s hard to get any simpler. The cocktail is slightly sweet without being syrupy, and it looks pretty. What more could you want for a party?

Another classic is just a pup in comparison. The Kir Royale is a variation of the Kir, which traditionally uses a dry white Burgundy and is served in a standard wine glass.

Kir Royale Cocktail Recipe

  • 1-2 tablespoons creme de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur)
  • Champagne
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Add the liqueur to the bottom of a champagne flute, and top off with champagne. Garnish with the lemon twist.

Quick tip: Champagne first or liqueur first? Pouring the champagne over the liqueur mixes the drink evenly, but pouring the liqueur into the champagne creates a beautiful shaded drink. There’s no right answer – it’s just a matter of personal preference.

If you enjoy champagne cocktails, there’s a wonderful book you should add to your collection: 101 Champagne Cocktails by Kim Haasarud