A bubbling glass of Champagne is timeless. And while delicious on its own, it’s a transformative ingredient in cocktails.
We caught up with six top bartenders to learn which Champagne cocktails they like best. From riffs on the French 75 to custom creations, these are bartenders’ effervescent favorites. Best of all? They shared their recipes so you can toast the good life from the comfort of your home.
French 75 with Cognac
“Anyone who knows me could attest to my love for brandies in general, but there is something special about Cognac. The bright fruit and gorgeous bouquet of a solid Cognac can be accentuated with the effervescence of the Champagne and citrus, [and the] addition of a rich sugar to act as the ‘glue’ of the parts and bitters for another layer of awesome.” — Jillian Vose, beverage director, The Dead Rabbit
Jillian Vose’s French 75 with Cognac recipe:
1 dash Angostura bitters
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce rich cane syrup
1 1/2 ounces Cognac
Shake and fine-strain into a flute with 1.5 ounces Champagne on the bottom. Garnish with a lemon disc.
The Frozen Storm
“By taking an already full canvas painted by Glenfiddich 12, the frozen ball encapsulates the essence of balanced fruit flavors without being too sweet. The Champagne gives a refreshing quality while still ensuring the bite of whisky.” — Young Kim, beverage director, Flatiron Room
Young Kim’s Frozen Storm recipe:
1 ounce Glenfiddich 12
1 1/2 ounces ginger and pink peppercorn-infused pear juice
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce honey
1/2 ounce water
1 ounce brut Champagne
Infuse sliced ginger and 20 cracked pink peppercorn in 1.5 liters pear juice for 24 hours and strain. Mix all ingredients except Champagne to a mixing glass and stir. Pour onto a 2-inch round ice ball mold. Freeze for at least 12 hours. Put the ball into a coupe and top with Champagne.
The Rum & Cola
“The Rum & Cola at BlackTail is an excellent Champagne cocktail. It has the flavor of a classic rum and cola, but the Champagne is key to the flavor profile, making it dry and effervescent. We tried many different types of Champagne before finding the one that was just right.” — Jesse Vida, bar manager, BlackTail
Jesse Vida’s Rum & Cola recipe:
1 dash Orinoco Bitters
1/2 teaspoon Fernet Branca
3/4 ounce cola syrup
1 ounce Bacardi Facundo NEO Silver Rum
4 ounces Champagne
Build cocktail and serve in a rocks glass with a big rock. Garnish with a lemon twist.
The French 75
“The French 75 cocktail can be a perfect pick-me-up when you want a kick with some bubbles. Although not the original recipe, the now-famous gin cocktail can add a glamorous feeling to any soirée. This drink makes me feel like I’m in an old Hollywood film and I should have on a tux. That’s a good thing. Bottoms up!” — Kenneth McCoy, chief creative officer, Public House Collective
The Old Cuban — Thomas Spaeth, bartender at Dear Irving
“The original may call for 1 ounce of rum, but I prefer to make it slightly more spirituous, personally. Other than that it’s the perfect combination of a Mojito and a French 75 so I get to enjoy two of my all-time favorites in one glass. And Barbancourt’s exotic spice profile makes it my favorite rum, so this drink just makes my heart sing.” — Thomas Spaeth, bartender, Dear Irving
Thomas Spaeth’s Old Cuban recipe:
2 dashes Angostura
1/2 ounce lime
1/2 ounce Demerara syrup
1 1/2 Barbancourt 8-year-old rum
Mix rum, sugar, lime bitters, and mint and briefly shake with 3 ice cubes. Strain into coupe or flute and top with Champagne. Garnish with a slapped mint leaf.
The Ingrid Bergman
“The Ingrid Bergman was one of those one-shot gifts, when you’re working on a drink, and it comes out exactly right the first time. Essentially, the cocktail is a mashup of a Seelbach, one of my favorite bourbon/Champagne cocktails, a French 75, and, to a lesser extent, a Sazerac. The base spirit in the Bergman is Edelster Aventinus Chardonnay Barrel Aged beer distillate, which is essentially a distillate from Aventinus brewery, in Germany. Since all whiskey is essentially distilled beer, this seemed like a great place to start for a Champagne cocktail that was part Seelbach, part French 75… Obviously, the use of a German beer distillate, and the fact French 75s are heard ordered at Rick’s Bar in Casablanca, made Ingrid Bergman a great name for the cocktail.” — Jim Kearns, beverage director and partner, Slowly Shirley
Jim Kearns’ Ingrid Bergman recipe:
1 dash grapefruit bitters
1 dash absinthe
1/2 ounce lemon syrup
1/2 ounce Cedrat
1/2 beer distillate
Stir ingredients in a flute. Top with Champagne. Garnish with grapefruit zest.