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Festive Champagne cocktails to make at home

Celebrate New Year's Eve 2021 in style with a selection of Champagne cocktails that are easy to make at home. Julie Sheppard recommends a selection of classic mixes and modern twists.

If Champagne is the celebration drink par excellence, then a Champagne cocktail dials those celebrations up to 11. There’s arguably nothing better than offering your guests a sparkling cocktail in an elegant flute or coupe – or treating yourself to one when the guests have gone home.

The good news is that many classic Champagne cocktails are super-easy to make, and involve little more than pouring your ingredients into a glass. But there are a few useful tips that will help you to make cocktails like a pro.

Top tips for making Champagne cocktails

First of all, chill your glassware. Pop your Champagne flutes or coupes into the freezer for a couple of hours and you’ll get an ice-cold, frosted glass that not only looks the part but helps to keep your drink at a perfect temperature.

Second, don’t use vintage Champagne or exclusive cuvées in sparkling cocktails. The complexity of these prestige Champagnes will be lost in the mix, so choose a non-vintage (NV) brut style – or even an ultra-brut for sweeter cocktails (see below).

Festive Champagne cocktails to make at home

Champagne coupes and bottles on a table with a sparkly background


Classic Champagne Cocktail

One of the oldest cocktails, tracing its roots back to the mid-1800s, this simple mix is a decadent treat – plus it’s easy to make. Simply build the ingredients in the glass and stir gently to mix. No cocktail shaker required. Try Courvoisier VSOP Exclusif (£39.95, The Whisky Exchange) a Cognac created especially for use in cocktails.

  • Ingredients: 1 sugar cube, 2 or 3 dashes Angostura Bitters, 20ml Cognac, Champagne to top
  • Glass: Champagne flute
  • Garnish: None
  • Method: Drop the sugar cube into a chilled Champagne flute and saturate it with the bitters. Add the Cognac. Top up the glass with Champagne, stir gently to mix and serve.

French 75

Created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris by Harry MacElhone, this gin and fizz combo delivered such a kick that it felt like being shelled by a powerful French 75mm field gun used in World War I. A few of these will certainly get your party started… Use a well-balanced London Dry gin, such as Portobello Road 171 (£23, Amazon).

  • Ingredients: 60ml gin, 30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, 5ml sugar syrup, Champagne to top
  • Glass: Champagne flute or coupe
  • Garnish: Lemon twist
  • Method: Put the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker. Fill half way with ice and shake until your hands are cold. Strain into a chilled glass (flute or coupe) and top with Champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Kir Royale

Starting life as a simple Kir or Kir Aperitif, this mix was created at the Café George in Dijon, where it was known as a Cassis Blanc and was made with Bourgogne Aligoté. But it was popularised by World War II French Resistance hero, Canon Félix Kir, who gave his name to the drink. Your Kir becomes Royale when you add Champagne instead of white wine – choose an ultra brut or zero dosage style to balance the sweet fruitiness of the crème de cassis. Try Gabriel Boudier Crème de Cassis de Dijon (£18.30, Amazon).

  • Ingredients: 10ml crème de cassis, Champagne to top
  • Glass: Champagne flute
  • Garnish: None
  • Method: Pour the crème de cassis into a chilled Champagne flute and fill the glass slowly with Champagne.

Twinkle

This modern classic was created in 2002 by Tony Conigliaro at The Lonsdale bar in London – and it has to be best name ever for a sparkly party drink. The original recipe used elderflower cordial, but St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur (£26, Amazon) works brilliantly and is more commonly used today.

  • Ingredients: 30ml vodka, 15ml elderflower cordial or St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Champagne to top
  • Glass: Champagne coupe
  • Garnish: Lemon twist
  • Method: Put the vodka and elderflower cordial (or liqueur) into a cocktail shaker. Fill half way with ice and shake until your hands are cold. Strain into a chilled coupe and top with Champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Millionaire’s Martini

This Martini-with-Champagne mix harks back to the era of classic cocktails and has been revived by Sipsmith, the gin brand that kick-started the craft gin revolution in the UK. The recipe is taken from SIP: 100 Gin Cocktails with Only Three Ingredients, a great book that shines a light on simple gin mixes and is packed with cocktail history.

  • Ingredients: 40ml London Dry gin, 40ml dry vermouth, Champagne
  • Glass: Coupe
  • Garnish: Lemon twist
  • Method: Combine the gin and vermouth in an ice-filled mixing glass and stir until properly chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and top with Champagne.

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