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.
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.