New Year’s Eve is upon us once again. When trying to come up with a New Year’s cocktail, I realize there is one ingredient that is a New Year’s must, Champagne. Most use Champagne to toast in the new year at midnight. But there are many other uses for Champagne in a cocktail, and you may never have a better opportunity to experiment . Because, let’s be honest, other than a wedding or an occasional special event, most of us don’t deal with Champagne on a regular basis.
There are plenty of well-known uses for Champagne, a Mimosa probably the most famous among them. A staple at brunch, either as a refreshing mid-morning cocktail, or as a “hair of the dog” cocktail to ease a hangover from the night before, a Mimosa is simply, one part Champagne mixed with one part orange juice. There are several one-part-Champagne, one-part-something-else cocktails. Among the more popular, a Belini is Champagne and peach juice, while a Black Velvet is Champagne combined with stout beer. And a Kir Royale is a different measurement of only two ingredients, three parts Champagne to one part Creme de Cassis or Chambord.
The cocktail I choose to offer as this week’s selection is the Champagne Cocktail. This drink is considered a classic. Not ordered much anymore, this was a popular drink in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. A little research about the origin of the cocktail told me it’s been ordered or mentioned in movies ranging from Casablanca to The Godfather. I’ve made it on quite a regular basis for a few couples who used to frequent a restaurant I bartended in. A nod to the past can often present a new favorite. Needed for this cocktail are Champagne, brandy, bitters, and a sugar cube. The Champagne is bright and crisp, while the other ingredients bring a warmth and sweetness.
- Sugar cube
- 2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 1 oz. Brandy
- Orange slice or cherry for garnish
Place the sugar cube at the bottom of a Champagne flute. Add 2-3 dashes of the bitters to the sugar cube ,until it begins to dissolve. Add the brandy. Fill to ¾ full in glass with Champagne slowly. (May fizz up as sugar cube completely dissolves.)