New Year’s Eve is fast approaching, and it’s finally time to leave 2020 behind. The best part of December 2020 will no doubt take place on the evening of the 31st, when all of humanity chugs champagne from our couches, and welcomes 2021 with hope. My guide for festive at-home champagne cocktails, food pairings, and bottle recommendations is below.
If you want to learn more about champagne and other sparkling wine, read my post on that here.
Festive Champagne Cocktails
One of my favorites! Fun fact: Named after a gun used in World War 1, the French 75 is said to have such a kick that it felt like being hit by just such a weapon.
- 1 ounce gin
- ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
- ½ ounce simple syrup
- 4 oz. chilled Brut Champagne
- Optional garnish: zest of lemon
In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, lemon juice and Simple Syrup. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled flute and top with the Champagne.
Classic Champagne Cocktail
A classic since 1850. Champagne adds effervescence, bitters lend balance and a cube of sugar sweetens the deal.
- 1 sugar cube
- Angostura bitters
- 4 oz. chilled Brut Champagne
- Optional garnish: orange slice and/or a cocktail cherry
Put sugar cube in a Champagne glass. Lightly sprinkle the sugar cube with Angostura bitters and pour in enough Champagne to fill the glass.
Apple Cider Mimosa
This apple cider champagne cocktail is part warm spices, part bubbly goodness, and 100% what I want to sip while sitting cozy by the fire.
- Apple cider
- Champagne or Prosecco
- Optional garnish: cinnamon sugar, apple slices and/or a rosemary sprig
Chill the apple cider and champagne. Pour about 2 ounces or fill half the glass with cider. Top with champagne or Prosecco. If you want to add a little something “extra” to the cocktail, you can rim the glass with cinnamon sugar. Dip the rim of a glass in water then in cinnamon. To take this up a notch—you can also add in cinnamon whisky.
Ernest Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon
And, if you want to REALLY forget 2020…the name says it all here!
- 1 ½ oz. absinthe
- 4 oz. Brut Champagne
Pour Absinthe into a Champagne flute or coupe glass, and top with chilled Champagne until it clouds up.
Favorite Champagne Bottles
Sharing a few easy-to-find-bottles, at various price points, below.
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Réserve Exclusive Brut NV—$35
Known for producing high-quality Champagne at a value, this is a solid choice at a good price. This blend also combines all three grape varieties planted throughout Champagne—Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.
Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Brut—$50
Blended primarily from Pinot Noir grapes, with a smaller proportion of Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, this cuvée carries toasty notes of freshly-baked brioche and rich stone fruit, pear, and apple. This is a tasty party champagne, in my opinion.
Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut—$58
As the flowers on its label suggest, this bottle strikes a delicate nose of white florals that give way to a more bold palate marked by lemon, apricot, honey, and butter. Another great mid-priced choice to drink.
Ruinart Blanc de Blancs—$85
This is my go-to bottle pick! It is comprised of 100% Chardonnay grapes grown primarily with Premiers Crus from the Côte de Blancs and Montagne de Reims terroirs. It has a crisp, yet toasty flavor that is a perfect mix.
Dom Perignon 2008—$200
If you can do it, go for vintage champagne! A Vintage Champagne is when 100% of the grapes come from one particular Vintage (year). Dom Perignon is always a wonderful choice. I recently drank the 2004 for a special occasion, and it was sublime.
A Quick Food-Pairing Guide
A few things to pair with your champagne for an at-home dinner or snack. In addition to what’s below, champagne also pairs well with mildly earthy and smooth cheeses.
A Little Extra
For a little bit of sparkle, how fun are these edible gold stars for your glass?
And, For Too Much Fun…
If you need it, check out my hangover remedies here.
Happy New Year!