Champagne cocktails are perhaps the most celebratory cocktail, but mixing real, capital-c Champagne with flavour obscuring additives is a bit wasteful. This does not, however, mean that you shouldn’t enjoy a bubbly beverage. In fact — along with a bottle of reasonably priced bubbles — you can make great tasting, cheap and festive libations with stuff you already have in your kitchen.
Sparkling wine is very easy to cocktail, so the variations here are almost endless. (Feel free to add any below as you think of them.) Below you’ll find some of my favourite bubbly add-ins, almost all of which are already stocked in my fridge or pantry:
- Lemons + sugar cubes: Dissolve a sugar cube (or teaspoon of sugar) in 15mL of lemon juice and top with 115mL of sparkling wine. Swap 30mL of bubbly for gin and you have a French 75.
- Jam: Take a teaspoon of your favourite fruit preserves and scoop it into the bottom of a champagne flute. Top with bubbles, give the drink a very gentle stir, and enjoy.
- Fresh herbs + cocktail cherry syrup: A few sprigs of savoury thyme balance out the cloying nature of the syrup. A little goes a long way, so add 1/2 a teaspoon to your flute, top with wine and add a few sprigs of fresh thyme to the glass. (Slap the herb on the palm of your hand to release that aroma.)
- Canned peaches: I love canned peaches and the juice (not syrup) they come packed in makes a great faux Bellini (30mL of the stuff per flute is plenty). Plus, there’s already a garnish in the can.
- Beer: Two parts bubbly mixed with one part stout makes a creamy, surprisingly fruity cocktail. Just pour the dark beer on top of the bubbles and let the two get to know each other in the glass.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with drinking your sparkling wine free of “distracting” add-ins. I’m not even sure a flute is necessary.