Every celebration calls for a lovely bottle of champagne, but if you want to add sass to the fizz, turn this golden liquid into something more extraordinary. Better yet, if champagne is out of the question, get a bottle of sparkling wine and create a New Year’s cocktail that will make the feast fuelled with lots of merry-making and less shaking.
A Kir is a classic French champagne which usually combines the black currant liqueur called crème de cassis with white wine. A variation of the classic Kir is Kir Royale which replaces the white wine with champagne. You can also make Kir Petillant which uses your choice of sparkling wine with crème de cassis. The trick in choosing the right wine is to be aware of the taste of crème de cassis; a good reference point is white wine which is lighter and fruitier.
Another champagne cocktail that you can try is a Sparkler. Mix a 1:2 ratio of champagne and white tequila, and then a dash of simple syrup. Simply pour in all the ingredients into a champagne flute but make sure that the tequila and champagne are well-chilled to make that refreshing cocktail.
A Bellini is another popular choice when making champagne cocktails. Originally made in Harry’s Bar in Venice, a perfect glass of Bellini combines a sparkling wine, preferably a Prosecco, and peach puree or crème de peche at 4:1. Go the extra mile and add some ripe peaches at the bottom of the glass.
Another fruity option is the classic Mimosa which is simply a 4:1 combination of fresh orange juice and champagne. A version of the Mimosa is Lanesborough, but instead of fresh orange juice, the recipe calls for equal portions of Grand Marnier, cranberry juice, and passion fruit puree immersed in good champagne such as a Moet.
For the more daring ones who do not like it fruity, you can mix Black Velvet by combining champagne with an Irish stout (i.e. Guinness) at 4:1 ratio. Death in the Afternoon is another adventurous drink which classically combines champagne with the now-illegal absinthe at 5:0.5 ratio. As you cannot get your hands on a bottle of absinthe, you can replace it with pastis or other anise-flavored liqueur. You can also combine a tawny port with champagne at 1:5 ratio and serve up this drink called Nelson’s Blood.
Of course you can combine champagne or sparkling wine with other types of spirits such as bourbon and gin. An example is the Basil Fizz which simply combines Basil Hayden’s Bourbon with champagne. Or you can also make more complex mixtures such as the Montford Spitz which is made of gin, Cynar, Lillet Blanc and Aperol at 1:2:2:1 ratio topped with champagne and a dash of Peychaud’s Bitters. Another popular drink is French 75 which is a mixture of gin and champagne with smaller splashes of simple syrup and lemon juice.
A classic champagne cocktail can be also the best way to go. Simply soak sugar cubes in some bitters, drop them into a champagne flute, and then fill up the glass with your choice of champagne or wine sparkler. Garnish with a twist of lemon. Simple but with a lot of taste and pizzazz.
Come New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, do take the extra mile and make the last leg of the holiday spirits wrap up with a bang. As we all welcome the New Year, and say goodbye to the old, give a toast to the wonders ahead followed with a sip of a divine concoction.
If you need a little more inspiration, check out these great Champagne recipes.