Champagne: the classic New Year's Eve drink. You toast with it, cheer with it, drink it straight from the bottle Diddy-style.
Of course, champagne isn't for everyone -- especially when taste largely depends on how much you want to spend.
Sure, there are uber-cheap knock-offs (think cava, prosecco and Cooks) that taste as bad as the hangover you'll have the next day. Then there are the crazy expensive ones -- just a few bottles and you've spent an entire week's paycheck. Honestly, when was the last time you even saw someone actually drinking Cristal? A 90s rap video?
Since you're probably going to have a few extra bottles of cheap bubbly hanging around after the holidays, a champagne cocktail may be just what you're looking for. Best part: you don't have to drink champagne just to ring-in the New Year. These drinks are good before, during and after the final countdown to 2013.
Whether you're a bubbly boycotter, or a lover of all things sparkling, with a few extra ingredients you can make a variety of fun, fruity, festive cocktails. All you'll need is a few bottles of semi-good bubbly -- and a really good hangover cure.
The Basic Champagne Cocktail
Just adding a drop of bitters helps to cut some of the champagne's natural sweetness. A hint of fresh lemon finishes it.
1 sugar cube
4 to 5 oz of champagne, prosecco, cava or any dry, sparkling wine
1. Soak sugar cube with bitters without over saturating.
2. Drop bitters-soaked cube into a champagne flute or wine glass.
3. Fill glass with champagne or sparkling wine.
4. Finish with a hint of lemon zest.
This is a good stand-in for guys you can't stand holding anything but a rocks glass. It's also a good strong, stiff drink. The Italian liquors help to make it an excellent aperitif -- as if you need one more reason to like this drink...
1 oz gin
1 oz Aperol or Campari
1 oz dry vermouth
3 oz champagne, etc.
1. In a flute glass gently stir gin, Aperol, and vermouth until blended.
2. Top with champagne and garnish with a sliver of orange peel.
Simple: the sour-sweet combo that pomegranate liqueur delivers helps to make the champagne more balanced. The seeds are the perfect addition, and provide a little entertainment as you watch them bounce around in the bubbles.
5 to 6 pomegranate seeds
1 oz pomegranate liqueur
4 to 5 oz champagne
1. Drop pomegranate seeds into a champagne flute.
2. Add liqueur, then top with champagne.
Bellini on Steroids
A good bellini is great -- if you like that sort of thing. But if you'd like some more kick to your drink, this should do the trick.
1 sugar cube
2 oz apple cider
3/4 oz cognac
4 to 5 oz champagne, etc.
1. Soak sugar cube with bitters, do not over saturate.
2. Drop cube in champagne flute.
3. Add apple cider and cognac.
4. Top with champagne.
Who doesn't love a good mojito? Now you can have the best of both worlds with the champagne version, which replaces club soda, making for an extra-bubbly base.
1 1/2 oz golden rum
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz honey, dissolved in 1 oz of hot water
4 to 5 oz of champagne, etc.
Fresh mint leaves
1. Combine rum, lime juice, honey water and ice cube in a cocktail shaker and shake well.
2. Strain into a glass and top with champagne.
3. Add 3 to 4 drops of bitters (to taste).
4. Garnish by using edge of mint leaf to disperse bitters across the top of the drink. Lay mint leaf flat on top.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!