Belle Année on Champagne Cocktails

Jessica Bride is an amazing wife, mother of three, avid traveler, soon-to-be cookbook author, and she co-founded the John Besh & Bride Mayor Chefs Move! Scholarship

There are tons of things I didn’t know about British people before I married one. For  starters, they are incredibly funny. Not just the odd one here or there, but all of them. As  a breed. Just funny. They also invented the stiff upper lip. And whatever the opposite of exaggeration is. When my husband has an absolutely horrible day and his clients quit  and his boss hates him and his ideas stink and he steps in dog poop and scratches the side of his new car he freaks out with something like, “That’s not the best day I’ve ever had.”  It’s like they carry the loss of the Empire with them on a daily basis and nothing, nothing, seems bad after that.

But here was my favorite discovery: They love Champagne. Like the way you love that Call Me Maybe song even though you pretend you don’t. Like southerners love college football. The way Millennials love positive feedback. All the time. No special event required.

Nick, my aforementioned British husband, even has friends whose black and white spaniel recognizes the shape of a Champagne bottle and goes crazy when one is pulled out until someone shoots the cork out of the top so he can chase and retrieve it. Sticks? Not interested. A ball? Save your time. Champagne cork? Barney is all over it.

I, like the rest of the world not speaking The Queen’s English, used to think of Champagne as a special event drink but I’ve enjoyed getting used to it as an every day thing. Right now (this may get embarrassing) I have two magnums of Veuve Cliquot and several bottles of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose in our garage refrigerator, three bottles of Prosecco in the wine refrigerator, a bottle of Gruet and two bottles each of Pol Roger and Nicholas Feuillatte calling my name from their cozy little nook under the stairs. Of course Champagne may best be served ice cold and in perfect crystal Champagne flutes but with all of these bottles knocking around the place, and with my propensity to take anything simple and overcomplicate it, it was inevitable that I would eventually tackle champagne cocktails. Fortunately this is the perfect time of year because Halloween is just around the corner and after that, like dominos, comes Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannakuh, Festivus, New Year’s Eve, Valentines Day and Monday.

So stick the bubbly in the fridge and polish up the Champagne flutes. There is no time like the present to try your hand at discovering or perfecting a signature cocktail for the season.

 

 

Grand Champagne Cocktail

Sugar cube
Angostura Bitters
¾ oz Grand Marnier
Sparkling Wine

Soak a sugar cube with 3 dashes of Angostura bitters and place in the bottom of a champagne flute. Add a half jigger (3/4 ounce) of Grand Marnier. Fill with very, very
cold sparkling wine and top with a lemon twist.

BEST MADE WITH

a dry domestic version: Gruet, Ceja, Jordan

Champagne & Chambord

¾ oz Chambord
Champagne
Raspberry

In a champagne coupe add ½ jigger (3/4 oz) Chambord and fill with cold Champagne. Top with a fresh raspberry.

BEST MADE WITH

French Champagne or sparkling wine or Prosecco.

Champagne Mojito 

Sugar cube
½ ounce white rum
4 mint leaves
1 lime wedge
club soda
Sparkling wine

Place a sugar cube in the bottom of stemmed glass. Add ½ jigger (3/4 oz) white rum, 3 mint leaves and the juice of a lime wedge. Add a splash of club soda and stir. Fill to the very, very top with ice and then top with Champagne. Garnish with a lime and mint leaf.

BEST MADE WITH

Prosecco or American sparkling wine

St. Germain Cocktail

½ ounce Hendricks Gin
½ ounce St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
Champagne
Lemon and/or cucumber

In a Champagne coupe add ½ ounce Hendricks Gin and ½ ounce Elderflower liqueur. Pour in a very cold sparkling wine, preferably Champagne. Garnish with either a lemon twist or a cucumber.

BEST MADE WITH

French or American sparkling wine

St. Germain Spritzer

For a lighter alcohol version of the St. Germain Cocktail, fill a Champagne flute with one part elderflower soda and 3 parts Champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.

BEST MADE WITH

French or American sparkling wine

And there is no way a round up of cocktails from a writer in New Orleans is complete without the French 75.

French 75

Most places make this classic, lemony cocktail with gin but of course, in New Orleans, it is done differently. We use Cognac.

1 oz Cognac
½ oz fresh lemon juice
¼ oz simple syrup
Champagne
Lemon peel

Combine Cognac, lemon juice and simple syrup in a champagne glass. Top with Champagne and serve with a lemon peel.

BEST MADE WITH

French or American sparkling wine

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For more from Jessica Bride, visit www.belleannee.com