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Champagne Cocktail

Ingredients (4)

  • 1 dash of angostura bitters
  • 1 sugar cube
  • Cold, dry champagne
  • Twist of lemon peel
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Champagne Cocktail

The Champagne Cocktail is a marvelously simple mixture of champagne and a sugar cube soaked in angostura bitters. This classic cocktail dates back to the Civil War era in the United States, when it appeared in Jerry Thomas’s How to Mix Drinks; or, the Bon Vivant’s Companion. The Champagne Cocktail was chosen by Esquire magazine as one of the top 10 cocktails of 1934; although its popularity has waned, it still has unflagging adherents. For some sophisticates, it is still the only cocktail.

The inherent beauty of the Champagne Cocktail goes beyond its suave appearance and silken palate. Whereas you would expect to pay a goodly sum for an excellent bottle of champagne, the addition of the sugar and bitters nicely rounds out a less expensive brand.

As much as you may want to commemorate Marie Antoinette’s anatomy by serving in a goblet modeled after her breasts, a fluted glass preserves the effervescence. Remember, this is neither an Asti Cocktail nor a Cold Duck Cocktail. Champagne is a must. (Learn how to open a Champagne bottle the right way while you’re at it.)

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by Rob Chirico

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  • What to buy

    Schott Zwiesel Air Champagne Flutes, $18 - $108 at Sur La Table

    These heirloom quality modern flutes can be purchased singly or in sets of six, depending on how many people you're sharing your bubbly with.

    See It ›

Instructions

  1. 1Add the dash of bitters to the sugar cube in the bottom of a chilled champagne glass, and slowly pour in the champagne. Garnish with the lemon peel.

Variations:

Champagne Normande: Add a teaspoon of Calvados to the basic Champagne Cocktail recipe.

Kir Royale: Add a splash of crème de cassis to a glass of champagne. The classic Kir is made with white wine.

Photograph courtesy of Antonina Vlasova/Shutterstock.

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