Most company refrigerators are filled with expired condiments and takeout cartons. At my first job, however, we always had a bottle of Prosecco on hand. Whether we were celebrating a co-worker’s engagement, hosting a holiday party, or just applauding the fact that we met our deadline, somehow there was always a bit of bubbly waiting.
I had grown so accustomed to our celebratory Prosecco tradition that I assumed it was the go-to for all special occasions, forgetting that Champagne was the original favorite. My father had questioned the difference between the two after a holiday dinner, to which I said, “Well, Prosecco is a sparkling wine, and Champagne is Champagne.”
It goes without saying this very sophisticated answer didn’t clear up any misconceptions about the drinks. They look and taste the same, and they’re even served in similar-shaped glasses, so how exactly are we able to decipher the difference?
Peugeot Esprit Champagne Glasses, 4 for $59.95 on Amazon
These flutes are designed to optimize bubbles and would work beautifully for any sparkling wine.
For one, Champagne is Champagne (as I so eloquently stated) because of its French origins, whereas Prosecco serves as the Italian alternative (perhaps another reason I gravitate toward it). Naturally, this means that different grapes are used to create each beverage. Champagne is typically made from pinot meunier, pinot noir, and chardonnay, but we enjoy Prosecco all thanks to the glera and prosecco grapes.
In addition to their roots, another difference between Prosecco and Champagne is the fermentation process. Champagne must be made in a sealed bottle that creates the drink’s carbonation. On the other hand, a steel tank is required when putting Prosecco through the fermentation process.
This is a good time to note a popular Champagne-Prosecco motto: All Champagne is sparkling wine, but that does not necessarily mean all sparkling wine is Champagne (try saying that five times fast).
Though there are definitely differences between the bottles—and their price points, Champagne being considered more luxurious of the two—there are also quite a few similarities. For one, they’re both having a moment in the spotlight, especially when it comes to desserts. Liquor-infused treats are becoming the new norm, and these bubbly drinks are getting the sweet treatment, whether in the form of cake or sorbet.
Since you can have Champagne and Prosecco—and eat and drink them, too—give some of these fun recipes a go. Cheers!
If it’s a special day and you’re in the mood for some sweets and bubbly, this concoction allows you to have champagne with raspberry sorbet and lavender syrup. Though the raspberry-champs pairing is a classic, don’t be afraid to mix fruit sorbet flavors if you so choose. Peach is another delightful possibility. Get our Champagne and Sorbet Float recipe.
Add a little bubbly to your favorite fish dish—a perfect way to enjoy your seafood. The sauce and the Prosecco combine to enhance the fish’s flavor while providing a sweet taste as well. Get our Oysters with Prosecco Mignonette recipe.
Has there ever been a combination so delightful? The vanilla treat with a hint of bubbly is the perfect way to ring in the New Year or celebrate a marriage… or, you know, indulge during a Netflix binge (no judgment). Once you sprinkle gold dust atop the cupcake, you’re really in for something special. Get our Champagne Cupcakes recipe.
This mash-up replaces gin with Prosecco for a simpler option. Adding an orange twist is a terrific way to complete the drink. This is The Straight Up Blog’s new twist on a classic order, so what better way to enjoy something old and new? Get our Prosecco Negroni (Negroni Sbagliato) recipe.
What did we tell you? You can have your champagne and eat it, too. Dipping your summer strawberries in chocolate is so passé when there’s the option to add a little fizz. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, scoop a dollop of whipped cream, too. This is just one of many treats from the Tartine All Day cookbook. Get our Champagne Gelée with Strawberries recipe.
Here’s the 4-1-1 on the 1621: It’s delicious, festive, and full of fruit with blood orange bitters. Though it’s a fun option for winter holidays, we don’t think it’s ever too early to whip up a pitcher. Get our 1621 Cocktail recipe.
There is no fooling around when it comes to Gigi. Mixologist Jackie Patterson created an option that allows the champagne to mix with the heavier ingredients such as St-Germain elderflower liqueur and Goose La Poire vodka. Get our Gigi Cocktail recipe.
Fruit and a bit of bubbly go hand in hand, so rather than placing a raspberry in your drink, just combine the two when making your new favorite dessert. Lynnsay, the millennial blogger behind Satorial Scot will enlighten you about a Valentine’s Day dish that will surely replace the box of chocolates you’re accustomed to (or accompany that box if you can’t part ways with your sweets). Get the Prosecco and Raspberry Cupcakes recipe.
The claret wine, brandy, and dark rum combo is made lighter thanks to champagne and club soda. Adding a slice of pineapple or orange will help you boost the sweet fruit flavor. Though this is a good way to celebrate the ball drop on Dec. 31, we certainly can’t blame you for making this drink year-round. Get our Cardinal Punch recipe.
This Italian boozy ice treat wouldn’t be complete without Italian sparkling wine. Prosecco and lemon sorbet in one? We couldn’t agree more with Susan, the blogger behind The Wimpy Vegetarian. Carnivores and vegetarians are going to swoon over this molto bene dessert! Get the Sgroppino Al Limone recipe.
Related Video: How to Open a Champagne Bottle
All featured products are curated independently by our editors. When you buy something through our retail links, we may receive a commission. For more great hand-picked products, check out the Chowhound Shop.