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Festive Champagne cocktails to make at home

Celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve in style with a selection of easy-to-make Champagne cocktails. Julie Sheppard recommends 10 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 Champagne cocktails are super-easy to make, and involve little more than pouring your ingredients into a glass. The Classic Champagne Cocktail (see below) is a case in point: if you can open a bottle, you can make this drink. No shaker required; simply drop a bitters-soaked sugar cube into the bottom of your glass, pour in Cognac and top with Champagne.

Classic mixes are a safe bet when it comes to creating crowd-pleasing drinks. But it’s also simple to put a festive twist on well-known recipes. Why not swap the peach purée of a summery Bellini for Christmassy cranberry for example?

Top tips for making Champagne cocktails

While it’s surprisingly easy to create drinks with wow factor at home, there are a few useful tips that will help you to make cocktails like a pro.

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.

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Festive Champagne cocktails to make at home

Cocktail with christmas decorations

Credit: Louise Haywood-Schiefer

Air Mail

This tropical twist on the Champagne Cocktail (see below) first appeared in a recipe pamphlet published in Cuba by the Bacardí company in 1930. The Cuban air mail service began in the same year, which might mean the drink was invented then and named after it; but there’s no evidence to support that theory – nor do we know who actually created it. Nonetheless, it’s a great party drink. Although the original recipe called for Cuban rum, specifically Bacardí Gold, you can use any gold rum (aged one to three years). Try Bacardí Carta Oro (£21.90, Master of Malt). To make your own honey syrup, dissolve 5ml honey in 5ml warm water.

  • Ingredients: 45ml gold rum, 15ml lime juice, 15ml honey syrup, Champagne to top
  • Glass: Highball
  • Garnish: None
  • Method: Put the rum, lime juice and honey syrup in a shaker with ice and shake until your hands are cold. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass and top with Champagne.

Cocktail on a bar with holly

Buck’s Fizz

The Buck’s Fizz was invented in 1921 at the Buck’s Club in London. Viewed by many as the classic breakfast cocktail, it’s also a great choice for festive celebrations thanks to its orange citrus taste. Exact quantities can be adjusted according to the size of your glass; just remember to always use a 2:1 ratio. Or for a lighter option, try a Mimosa. This twist on a Buck’s Fizz is a mix of equal parts Champagne and orange juice.

  • Ingredients: 100ml Champagne, 50ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Glass: Champagne flute
  • Garnish: Orange slice
  • Method: Pour the Champagne into a chilled flute, then pour in the orange juice.

Champagne cocktail

Credit: Louise Haywood-Schiefer

Champagne Margarita

This recipe comes from The Cocktail Edit, a new book by Decanter contributor Alice Lascelles. ‘I can’t think of a combination more hedonistic than tequila and Champagne – and this one is wickedly good,’ she says. ‘It would be a great drink to kick off a party, or even as a thirst-quenching punch. Just lengthen with a bit of sparkling or still water and charge with lots of ice. For more elegance, serve in a coupe, undiluted, over a single ice cube.’

  • Ingredients: 50ml tequila, 25ml lime juice, 12.5ml sugar syrup, 50ml Champagne
  • Glass: Cocktail glass or rocks
  • Garnish: Lime wheel
  • Method: Shake the first three ingredients and strain over ice and top with Champagne

Champagne cocktail and snacks on a tray

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.

Cocktails on a tray

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 (£30, 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.

Cocktail glasses and a champagne bottle

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 (£16.50, Soho Wine Supply).

  • 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.

Champagne coupe

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.

Cocktail on a wooden board

Credit: bhofack2 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Old Cuban

One for fans of Daiquiris and Mojitos, this deluxe rum-and-mint mix was created by top bartender Audrey Saunders in 2001. An icon of the New York bartending scene, Saunders is best known for her work at the Pegu Club in Soho, though this recipe predates her time there. One of her skills was reinventing classic recipes, and this mix, which uses an aged rum rather than the white rum of a Mojito or Daiquiri, puts a decadent spin on those drinks, while adding the zinginess you’d find in a French 75 (see above). Try using Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve Rum. (£31.50, The Whisky Exchange).

  • Ingredients: 45ml gold rum, 22.5ml lime juice, 22.5ml brut Champagne, 15ml sugar syrup, 6 fresh mint leaves, 2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • Glass: Coupe
  • Garnish: Mint leaf
  • Method: Muddle the mint leaves, lime juice and sugar syrup in a shaker. Add the rum, bitters and ice, then shake until your hands are cold. Double-strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a mint leaf.

Four champagne glasses on a tray

Sloe Gin Fizz

The Gin Fizz is a classic and simple mix of gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup, topped with soda water. For a more festive and decadent take, use Champagne and a fruity sloe gin, such as Sipsmith Sloe Gin (£25.50, Amazon). Use frozen blackberries or raspberries to garnish if you don’t have fresh ones.

  • Ingredients: 50ml sloe gin, 25ml lemon juice, 10ml sugar syrup, Champagne
  • Glass: Champagne flute
  • Garnish: blackberry or raspberry
  • Method: Put the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake until your hands are cold, then strain into a tall Champagne flute. Top with Champagne.

Champagne glass with a lemon twist


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 (£27.95, 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.

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