Lots of sparkling wine cocktails just use bubbles for lift and sparkle, but the best drinks should really highlight the Champagne itself. If you're going to use such a classy wine, you might as well show it off!
The trick is to find a bottle that's special enough for a celebration but not so pricey that you feel crazy turning it into a cocktail. We recommend Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve, a classic and balanced Champagne that drinks beautifully on its own but, clocking in at around $25 to $30 a bottle, is a great cocktail candidate.
Easy: Champagne Cocktail
When a Champagne cocktail is named the Champagne Cocktail, that should tell you it’s a classic. And because all you have to add are sugar and bitters, it's about as simple as a cocktail can get. We love how it highlights the nuanced spices of Angostura without the bitters dominating the Champagne itself.
Instructions: Take a sugar cube and douse with Angostura bitters until saturated. Add to the bottom of a flute and top with 6 ounces of Champagne.
Intermediate: Atlantic City
What's classier than Champagne? Scotch and Champagne. This cocktail pairs the sparkling wine's toasty, bready qualities with the almost chocolate-y undertones of blended Scotch like Cutty Sark Prohibition. A little honey pulls it all together.
Instructions: In a mi glass with ice, stir together 1 1/2 ounces of blended Scotch (for this one, we really think Cutty Sark Prohibition is the way to go), a 1/2 ounce of honey syrup (equal parts honey cut with hot water) and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters. Strain into a coupe and top with 2 ounces of Champagne. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Advanced: 75 Redux
If you know the French 75, it's probably as a gin-lemon cocktail with a sparkling wine float. But in this version, we’re going with Cognac and a real dose of Champagne rather than just a float.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 ounce of Cognac, a 1/2 ounce of fresh lemon juice and a 1/2 ounce of simple syrup (equal parts sugar dissolved in hot water). Shake all that up and strain into a flute. Top with 4 ounces of Champagne. Garnish with a long, skinny lemon peel.