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.