Nothing says celebration like champagne. With a pop of the cork and a cascade of sparkling bubbles, it welcomes in the New Year with the promise of abundance and good fortune. But even champagne can get boring year after year. With just a few extra ingredients, you can create unique champagne cocktails to ring in the New Year.
Choosing Your Champagne
There's no need to buy a pricey bottle of bubbly when making champagne cocktails. In fact, you don't even need to use true champagne — sparkling wine specifically from the Champagne region of France. Sparkling wine from California and Italian Prosecco (typically found in Bellinis) are generally less expensive, but work just as well. The only other decision you have to make is between a dry, sweet or rosé wine (which is characteristically pink in hue).
Classic Champagne Cocktail
The original champagne cocktail remains unchanged to this day. To make it, place a sugar cube into a chilled champagne flute. Sprinkle a couple dashes of bitters over the cube, then fill the flute with your choice of dry champagne or sparkling wine (dry rosé works well, too) and garnish with a lemon twist. Involve guests in the cocktail-making fun by setting out the ingredients and letting them assemble their own.
With its dark red hue and unique sparkle, the Kir Royale is perfectly suited to any New Year's celebration. And with only three easy-to-find ingredients, you can whip up this cocktail with ease and enjoy the party. Add a tablespoon of Chambord (a French black raspberry liquor with a rich red hue) to each chilled champagne flute. Toss in a few fresh raspberries and fill the flutes with champagne or sparkling wine — dry or sweet work equally well. For a richer, fruitier version of this raspberry drink, try it in a sparkling champagne smoothie. Or go with a lighter twist, the champagne “rose” bonbon.
Never was there a more unlikely pairing than champagne and gin but, surprisingly, this combination works. Shaken and served in a martini glass, the French 75 is a distinct diversion from tradition, but it's fast become a new classic in its own right. You'll need simple syrup to make this cocktail, which you can either buy prepared or make yourself by simmering sugar and water and allowing it to cool. In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice and simple syrup, add some ice cubes and shake well. Pour the mixture into chilled glasses, then top with dry champagne or sparkling wine and garnish with a lemon twist. If you prefer your champagne libations with a little more body, swap the simple syrup for a fruit puree to make a fruity fizz.