Virtually everyone loves a great glass of bubbly for New Year’s be it Brut or Demi-Sec, true Champagne or Cava (or other fine incarnations of sparkling wine like Prosecco, Asti or Sekt). For an elegant twist on traditional fizz however, why not try serving your guests a stylish sparkling wine cocktail instead of an unadorned, plain-Jane flute o’ Champagne.
Now I’m talking about a few simple, classic recipes here. And the three that come to mind are easily made with just good bubbly and a few quality ingredients; no need to muddle mint, flame orange peels or shake and strain either.
Let’s start off with the namesake sparkling wine cocktail, one with the flair of old Hollywood or a Raymond Chandler noir novel. The Champagne Cocktail has been around since the mid-19th century and is one of the official Contemporary Classics cocktails of the International Bartenders Association.
3 oz Chilled Champagne
1/3 oz Cognac
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 Sugar cube
Preparation: Add Angostura bitters onto the sugar cube and drop it into a flute glass. Add the cognac followed a gentle pour of the chilled Champagne. Garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry.
Personally, I find Blanc de Blanc Champagne or a very dry Cava works best. Try Jean-Noel Haton Blanc de Blanc Champagne or Mas Vida Cava Brut. I’d also opt for a delicate, floral style of cognac. Hardy VS Cognac would be my choice here.
The Kir cocktail hails from Burgundy and is the creation of the former Mayor of Dijon, Felix Kir. It is traditionally made using Bourgogne Aligoté and Crème de Cassis liqueur. The sweet cassis was used to balance the sharpness of the white Aligoté grape. Substitute sparkling wine for the Aligoté and you’ve created a Kir Royale.
3 oz Sparkling wine
1/3 oz Crème de cassis
Preparation: Pour crème de cassis into flute glass, top up with sparkling wine.
In keeping this a true regional Burgundy cocktail, I would use Veuve Ambal Cuvee Brut Prestige Cremant de Bourgogne as the sparkling wine. You can also make a Kir Imperial by substituting Chambord Raspberry Liqueur for the cassis.
Fruit juice and sparkling wine is about as common (and popular) as peanut butter and jelly. I would skip the orange juice for New Year’s and save the Mimosa for Sunday brunch however. Let’s opt for a Bellini cocktail instead.
3.5 oz Prosecco
1.5 oz Fresh peach nectar or puree
Preparation: Pour peach puree into chilled flute and add sparkling wine. Stir gently.
As recommended, this cocktail calls for a good Prosecco. I would up the ante with the excellent Collalto Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry and garnish with a raspberry.
(*N.B. all recipes adapted from the International Bartenders Associate cocktail guide)
Jim Greeley, Wine & Spirits Supervisor, SW Florida
Follow me on Twitter @ABCWineJimG