A simple little drink it seems, yet nothing is ever truly simply when it comes to cocktails, especially the classics. Depending on who you ask there are two basic camps – those who add Cognac to their Champagne Cocktail, and those who do not.
The origins of this drink go back before the mid 1800s, but those first versions were served in tumblers, then goblets over crushed ice. However, the combination of bitters, sugar and Champagne was there from the beginning. Read More
A few years later, the ice has gone, and the drink has moved into a Champagne flute / glass. Although some classic recipes call for a Champagne Saucer (coupette), we’d recommend a tall flute. The whole point is to watch the stream of bubbles come off the sugar cube, something you just can’t appreciate in a saucer.
The addition of Cognac to the recipe is a more modern approach, and one that certainly works, whilst also making the drink a little punchier. It does add a depth of flavour and luxuriousness that we do enjoy, which honestly seems to make more sense. Without it, you can’t help but think that really all you’re doing is adding bitters to a glass of Champagne whilst trying to make it go flat as quickly as possible by adding a rough sugar cube!
Whichever approach you pick, this is not a time to scrimp on ingredients. You are not going to hide cheap Champagne here, the sugar barely dissolves due to the large crystal size, so don’t think that’s going to help. Don’t break the bank but use something you like to drink. If adding Cognac, use it from the freezer. The last thing you want is a glass of expensive, warm fizzy misery. The Champagne Cocktail is a showpiece, a celebratory drink! Pay attention to the finer details and you will have room full of captivated and joyful guests.
- 1 BROWN SUGAR CUBE
- 2-3 DASH ANGOSTURA BITTERS
- 15 ml COGNAC or BRANDY CHILLED (1/2 part)
- 120 ml CHAMPAGNE or SPARKLING WINE (4 parts)
How to make it
- 1 – Take a paper napkin, put it on a clean and dry surface, then place a rough brown sugar cube on it. You can even use the top of the glass to do this if you’re short on space.
- 2 – Add dashes of Angostura bitters all over the sugar cube. The napkin will do a great job of catching the mess of rogue dashes.
- 3 – Pick up the edges of the napkin and use it as a hammock to lift and carry the sugar cube to your glass, then tip the napkin up so that the cube falls neatly into the glass.
- 4 – If making the Cognac version, add it now, but make sure it is icy cold!
- 5 – Fill the glass with champagne. Tilt the glass and do this slowly. The sugar cube is literally designed to create bubbles and drama in your glass, so if you add it too fast, it will very quickly come back out again!
- 6 – Garnish and Serve.
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As always, don’t forget to show us what you made by tagging us!
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