Classic Champagne Cocktails for New Year’s Eve

A woman in a pink dress holds a champagne flute and plays with her hair.
(Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash)

New Year’s Eve is staring us in the face, and with it comes the feeling that you really need to serve champagne – the bubbly stuff goes hand-in-hand with celebrations. You can stick with a traditional toast at midnight, or splurge a little and enjoy some classic (and easy) champagne cocktails.

Champagne cocktails have been around pretty much as long as the cocktail itself. Mark Twain mentioned champagne cocktails in Innocents Abroad in 1869. There’s a recipe for a champagne cocktail in Jerry Thomas’ The Bartenders Guide in 1862. And champagne cocktails weren’t restricted to upper-crust gentlemen out on the town or travelers exploring Europe. Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, indispensable advice for all proper women, included recipes for punches made with champagne and liqueurs or brandy in its first publication in 1861. 

Quick tip: Don’t feel like you have to break the bank to enjoy champagne. There are delicious sparkling wines in almost every price range. And don’t be intimidated by flying champagne corks – opening a champagne bottle is surprisingly easy.

Classic Champagne Cocktail

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Champagne or sparkling wine
  • Orange or lemon peel for garnish
  1. Soak the sugar cube with bitters and drop in the bottom of a champagne flute.

  2. Top off with champagne.

  3. Drop in orange or lemon peel to garnish.

It’s hard to get any simpler. The cocktail is slightly sweet without being syrupy, and it looks pretty. What more could you want for a party?

Another classic is just a pup in comparison. The Kir Royale is a variation of the Kir, which traditionally uses a dry white Burgundy and is served in a standard wine glass. 

Kir Royale

  • 1-2 tbsp creme de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur)
  • Champagne or sparkling wine
  • lemon twist for garnish
  1. Add liqueur to the bottom of a glass flute and top off with champagne.

Quick tip: Champagne first or liqueur first? Pouring the champagne over the liqueur mixes the drink evenly, but pouring the liqueur into the champagne creates a beautiful shaded drink. There’s no right answer – it’s just a matter of personal preference.

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