Beyond a bottle of bubbly

Beyond popping the cork on a bottle of Champagne, sparkling cocktails are a fun way to celebrate a new year. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

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Beyond popping the cork on a bottle of Champagne, sparkling cocktails are a fun way to celebrate a new year. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

Credit: Angela Hansberger

Toast 2022 with two classic Champagne cocktails

Besides a kiss at midnight, there is no better way to ring in a new year than clinking glasses. And, sure, you can pop open a bottle of Champagne or prosecco for that salute, but don’t count out your bar cart when it comes to celebrating in a classic style.

Dating to at least the 1850s, the Champagne cocktail is elegance in a glass. In his James Beard Award-winning book “Imbibe,” cocktail historian David Wondrich called it the “first evolved cocktail on record.” It’s perfectly balanced, never goes out of style and is impressive, despite having just a few ingredients.

Making a Champagne cocktail is simple. Place a sugar cube in the bottom of a coupe. The cube stimulates the carbonation bead, for extra effervescence and added sweetness. Saturate it with Angostura bitters, which add a base note. Add a small twist of lemon peel and fill the glass with chilled Champagne or sparkling wine. It’s a perfect blend of crisp and dry, with a faint hint of lemon. A variation that dates to 1898 includes a half ounce of cognac, which lends a bit of complexity and an amber hue.

Combine those bubbles with lemony gin and you get another classic cocktail that packs a delicious punch. The French 75 is said to have originated at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in the early 1900s. It was co-opted and made famous shortly afterward by Arnaud’s French 75 Bar in New Orleans. The name refers to the French field gun with 75-millimeter shells that helped to win World War I. The recipe originally called for cognac, but, somewhere along the line, it became fashionable to make it with gin. Cognac adds a lovely richness and a bit more depth. Why not try it both ways?

Whatever your favorite swizzle, we wish you a happy New Year.

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Dating to at least the 1850s, the Champagne cocktail is simple elegance in a glass, with just three ingredients. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

Dating to at least the 1850s, the Champagne cocktail is simple elegance in a glass, with just three ingredients. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

caption arrowCaption
Dating to at least the 1850s, the Champagne cocktail is simple elegance in a glass, with just three ingredients. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

Credit: Angela Hansberger

CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL

1 sugar cube

4-5 dashes Angostura bitters

½ ounce cognac (optional)

3 ounces chilled Champagne or sparkling wine

lemon twist for garnish

Place sugar cube in the bottom of the glass. Saturate the cube with the bitters. Add cognac, if desired. Fill the glass with Champagne. Garnish with a lemon peel twist.

Serves 1.

caption arrowCaption
A French 75 is a festive mix of lemony gin and bubbles, perfect for elegantly ringing in a new year. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

A French 75 is a festive mix of lemony gin and bubbles, perfect for elegantly ringing in a new year. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

caption arrowCaption
A French 75 is a festive mix of lemony gin and bubbles, perfect for elegantly ringing in a new year. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

Credit: Angela Hansberger

FRENCH 75

1½ ounces gin

½ ounce fresh lemon juice

⅓-ounce bottled simple syrup

2-3 ounces Champagne

lemon twist, for garnish

To a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add gin, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake 15-20 seconds. Strain into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Serves 1.

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