champagne cocktail taste test

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With major life events comes an endless supply of alcoholic beverages. Tell someone that you’re getting married or that you’ve just moved into a new apartment and bottles upon bottles of wine — some of it sparkling if you’re lucky — mysteriously appear in your kitchen. With four bottles of champagne and months until New Year’s Eve, I knew it was time to conduct a cocktail experiment with my bubbly booty and the spare ingredients of my poorly-stocked liquor cabinet (Cointreau, tequila and beer). Here’s how I fared.

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Poinsettia
1/2 oz Cointreau
Champagne
3 oz cranberry juice
Mix the Cointreau and juice in a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne.
Verdict: A yummy cran-orange fizz. For extra orange flavor, add a splash of OJ.

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Black Velvet
A traditional black velvet is a mixture of a stout beer (I used Guinness) and sparkling wine. Many recipes call for 1:1 ratio, but I opted for about 1/3 beer and 2/3 Champagne. Pour in the beer first and allow it to settle. Top off the flute very slowly with champagne or risk a brown volcano.
Verdict: Super tangy and not completely unpleasant. Only for the brave.

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Champagne Margarita
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz. tequila
1 oz. Cointreau
3 oz. Champagne
Mix the Cointreau, tequila and lime juice in a flute. Top with champagne. (Too strong for your taste? Add Sprite.) Verdict: A boozy take on the classic margarita. Hangover assured.

Do you have other champagne cocktail ideas (or just a tried-and-true headache cure)? — Ashley P.

From our partners
julie.

I love champagne too much to mix things in, but on occasion, champagne with a dash of chambord (raspberry liquor) is nice.
Also straight champagne with a couple of drops of regular bitters.

Eva

I’ve jumped on the pomegranate bandwagon and made my own variation of kir royale, using a splash of pomegranate juice (instead of creme de cassis) and garnishing with a few pomegranate seeds. I also find that prosecco has a nice, fruity sweetness that complements cocktails better than your typical brut Champagne.

Emily

I rather dislike most fizzy wine. With the right food, fizzy wine can be great. With the wrong food, it’s like soda pop.

If you like whiskey, it’s well worth getting baking cherries when they’re in season. Clean ’em, fill a sterile jar with them, and cover with whiskey. You’ll also need to add several spoonfuls of sugar. Bourbon, brandy, rum, cherry eau de vie and Maraschino liqueur are also traditional. After about a month, you’ll have a cherry liqueur and nicely alcoholic cherries. If you like cherries, adding an alcoholic cherry or two to fizzy wine is probably not a bad idea.

(do not use low proof alcohol for this. you want over 80 proof so that nothing exciting has a chance to grow. higher proof is better.)

Mary T

This is the kind of taste-test I can get behind!

Athabasca

The classic champagne cocktail:

Drop a sugar cube in the glass, add a drop or two of Angostura Bitters–no more or it will taste mediciny–and top with champagne. It turns lackluster bubbly into something oh so good. Some people add a whisper of cognac to the sugar cube, or a twist of lemon peel…

I would never let my guests see me pour it but I use the cheap and teenager-sweet Asti champagne to make Black Velvets and THAT is the way to go. Tastes like boozy bread pudding.

I’m really tempted by the Black Velvet

Lisa

Apricot nectar and champagne is amazing. Like mimosas, but without the acid from the OJ. You can drink these all day or night.

(I get a big can of apricot nectar from the fruit juice aisle in the grocery store. Nothing fancy but it sure tastes that way.)

Cinco de Mayo… « frantic*pants

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