The Champagne Cocktail is a beloved classic for a reason. First and foremost, it’s boozy and simple. But more importantly, it’s a drink that evolves and changes as you drink it. The first few sips are bone dry and far from sweet, the middle of the drink is perfectly balanced and the last few sips are a sweet send off.
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What is a Champagne Cocktail?
The origins of the champagne cocktail are murky, or should we say bubbly. It appeared in the first published cocktail book in 1862 but was in vogue decades before that. It’s a simple cocktail featuring a bitter-soaked sugar cube and a splash of cognac topped off with champagne.
We always use demerara sugar cubes in our cocktails. You can use white sugar cubes, but we like the texture of demerara. This is our favorite brand.
Angostura Aromatic bitters
A classic must-have bitters for home bartending. Angostura bitters are the most widely used bitters in the world and are used in all kinds of cocktails. They have a reddish-brown color with notes of citrus and warm spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves.
Fun fact: They were first created in 1824 by a German doctor to treat stomach problems and indigestion.
Use a good quality cognac (you will likely have to ask for a bottle from behind the register—antiquated practice but something to be aware of.) We like Rémy Martin 1738.
Even though this cocktail is named “Champagne Cocktail” you can use any dry sparkling wine you like. A brut champagne is classic and the best option, but a brut cava will also do. Avoid any sweet sparkling wine—prosecco won’t do here.
Test Kitchen Tips
- This cocktail isn’t shaken to chill so it’s important that all of the ingredients are well chilled before assembling. On that note, make sure you use a chilled flute or coupe cocktail glass.
- Use a sugar cube—not loose granulated sugar. The cube’s main job is to create a steady stream of bubbles. The sweetness is secondary.
- Use a sparkling wine you enjoy drinking on its own without spending too much. It takes up a lot of real estate in the glass, so make sure you like it. But it’s also getting mixed with other ingredients, so don’t use a sparkling wine that’s really special and should be enjoyed on its own.
How to Make
One of the best things about the classic Champagne cocktail is how easy it is to make!
- Soak a sugar cubes in bitters.
- Drop the bitter-soaked sugar cube into a champagne glass.
- Add the cognac then top with champagne.
- Serve immediately.
Serve the Champagne Cocktail is great for all kinds of occasions including happy hour, date night, dinner parties, New Year’s Eve, Christmas and more. It’s a celebratory drink so make sure to drink it with friends!
More Champagne Cocktails to Try
- Our French 75 is truly the best recipe out there. It’s bright, citrusy and just sweet enough.
- The French 76 cocktail is essentially the French 75 made with vodka instead of gin.
- Try the French 77 which is a riff on the classic French 75 using St. Germain (elderflower liqueur) instead of gin and skipping the simple syrup altogether.
- Our Blood Orange Mimosa brings a bit of sunshine to a winter brunch menu.
- If you’re in the business of trying classic cocktails, then you’ve gotta try the Kir Royale. It’s a light and fruity sparkling cocktail.
This Pomegranate Kir Royale is a wintery version for the Kir Royale using Pama (pomegranate liqueur).
Classic Champagne Cocktail
- Place sugar cube in a small bowl or saucer. Douse cube with 3 dashes of bitter to soak. Drop sugar cube into champagne flute or coupe.
- Pour 1 ounce cognac over top.
- Tilt glass at an angle and gently pour champagne down side of glass.
- Express orange peel over top, then discard.
- Serve immediately.