Mixology Monday: Champagne

Darcy O'Neil :: April 16, 2007 10:16 PM

MM-14Champagne is an elegant drink that brings to mind the rich and famous, happy occasions and celebration. It is most often served, chill, on its own, garnished only with the glass it is in. But for mixologists and bartenders it is a great component to work with. You can take the tactile sensation of the champagne bubbles and combine it with sweet, sour or bitter components to create a completely new drink. So to see how you can improve champagne read on further and then head on over to Married…With Dinner to see what everybody else has done. 

When it comes to champagne cocktails, I think that because real champagne is such a well balanced product to begin with, that it shouldn’t be overpowered with a whole lot of other ingredients. It should be complimented with one or two ingredients, in small quantities, to allow the champagne to shine through. The Champagne Cocktail and Kir Royal are two perfect examples of simple additions complimenting the champagne.

ChampagneIn previous articles I’ve discussed the great combination of icewine and champagne, which is one of my favorites, so that won’t work for this Mixology Monday. But, a masterful combination in the same vein would be a flavoured cognac, like Navan Vanilla Cognac or Meukow Vanilla. Both of these products are natural vanilla flavoured cognac liqueur. They are relatively sweet like icewine, but have a much higher alcohol content, so you’ll get a little more kick and it helps to balance out the sweetness. This cocktail can be a little pricey, but I think when you order anything with champagne, cost should not be a consideration.

To make this cocktail, which I think I’ll call the Laissez’ Affair Cocktail, simply add 1oz of vanilla cognac to 4 oz of champagne. Don’t try to substitute some cheap vanilla vodka or vanilla liqueur otherwise you may end up with a lack-luster cocktail. When working with champagne, go big, or go home.

When it comes to a garnishing the Laissez’ Affair Cocktail I would use a slice of pear, but I didn’t have one today so it is absent in the photograph. The subtle flavour of pear and its relatively low acidity would pair extremely well with this cocktail.

Great cocktails don’t have to be complicated. Some of the best cocktails are simple combinations that display the best properties of both ingredients.

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