7 Bubbly Cocktails to Enjoy
I love a glass of bubbly any time of year, but there’s no denying that champagne is the quintessential drink for celebrating a special occasion, whatever it may be. And, in my opinion, the return of fall is as good an occasion as any to pop a bottle!
While champagne and sparkling wines are already festive on their own, mixing it up a bit is fun by opting for a cocktail instead. These drinks are perfect for toasting to a change of seasons, and with fall around the corner, what better time to try?
Classic Champagne Cocktail
Naturally, the first cocktail on this list has to be the classic champagne cocktail. This is the perfect drink when you want something a little more complex than plain champagne but don’t want to mask its delicate flavor. To make it, soak a sugar cube in a few dashes of Angostura bitters, drop into a champagne flute, top with champagne, et voilà! It’s so simple yet so sophisticated–it’s clear this one is a classic for a reason. Bar 8 at the Mandarin Oriental in Paris has my favorite.
Bar 8 Mandarin Oriental, Paris
What I love about a spritz is that it’s so versatile. Although the spritz is a typical pre-dinner drink, it’s great to enjoy at any time and can be made with numerous different spirits. The classic Aperol spritz is my absolute favorite and always conjures images of living la dolce vita somewhere in Italy–it’s one of those drinks that can brighten any day. Sometimes I like to switch it up by opting for a Campari spritz instead, which is another classic version. But really, any aperitif can be made into a spritz. Why not try a Cointreau spritz, a Cocchi spritz, or even a St. Germain spritz to get your dose of bubbly?
Since moving to Paris, I have become a massive fan of the Kir Royale! This cocktail mixes crème de cassis and champagne, so you know it has to be good! I particularly like when I’m given choices of cassis as I always love to try something new, too. ATLAS in Paris has the perfect ambiance day or night and is my favorite place to go when I’m in the mood for this cocktail. The bright red color feels especially cheery, and it’s easy to make for a crowd if you’re raising a glass with friends. A Kir, which is crème de cassis put into wine instead of champagne, is a good option if you run out of bubbly!
Arnaud’s French 75 Bar
Another drink I love to order here in Paris is the French 75, the perfect champagne cocktail for gin lovers. Gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup are shaken, poured into a flute, topped with champagne, and finished with a lemon twist. It’s such an elegant cocktail and a great choice if you’re looking for something a bit stronger than champagne on its own. This cocktail was first invented at the iconic New York Bar in Paris (since renamed Harry’s New York Bar) by Harry MacElhone. When I’m home in Paris, I order a “soixante quinze,” French for “seventy-five.” In New Orleans, the elegant French 75 Bar, located in the city’s French Quarter (naturalement), makes an excellent version of its namesake.
Arnaud’s French 75 Bar
On my last trip to Dubai, I enjoyed many unique cocktails at several glamorous bars and lounges. One of my favorite spots was the Iris Dubai, located on the 27th floor of the Oberoi Hotel. The Iris has an extensive drink menu, including numerous delicious-sounding, handcrafted cocktails. The Lily made with Zonin Brut, Cherry Heering, and berries make for a light and refreshing drink that’s not too sweet. It would be a perfect choice to sip on while gazing out over the desert landscape and planning your next adventure.
Iris, The Oberoi, Dubai
The negroni cocktail has grown increasingly popular recently, but have you ever tried a “negroni sbagliato”? According to legend, a bartender at the famous Bar Basso in Milan mistakenly grabbed prosecco instead of gin when mixing a customer’s negroni and didn’t realize his error until after the customer had already approved of the drink. The word “sbagliato” means incorrect or mistaken in Italian, but it was a happy mistake! Nowadays, there are many different versions of this “messed-up” drink, as bartenders everywhere continue to play around with the negroni’s classic formula.
There’s no better way to turn an ordinary day into a celebration than by starting it with a glass of bubbly topped with a splash of juice! There are so many ways to enjoy this boozy brunch staple–of course, the classic version is made of orange juice and champagne, and its cousin, the Bellini, is another favorite of mine. But nearly any juice can be substituted to make this drink unique. Skyloft in Laguna Beach offers a version with bourbon, St. Germain, and citrus. At the same time, another fan favorite is the four flowers mimosa at Sarabeth’s in New York City (which uses a mix of orange, pineapple, banana, and pomegranate juice as its base)Sarabeth’s in New York City (which uses a blend of orange, pineapple, banana, and pomegranate juice as its base) is another fan favorite.
As I hope you can see, the possibilities are endless regarding bubbly cocktails! I’ll always love champagne on its own, but sometimes it’s nice to change things up–I hope you’ve found some inspiration in this article to do the same. Here’s to your next glass of champagne, with a twist!
Check out tips from Eileen Callahan of Champagne Travels, your seasoned traveler, here.