Champagne is something that always signifies a celebration – it is a sparkling wine with a fantastic pedigree and is associated with stylish parties and the rich and famous. There are various types of champagne, some people make the mistake of thinking that all sparkling wine is champagne. This is not the case, true champagne comes from one region of France – funnily enough it is called Champagne and is in the North of the country!
In addition to champagne there are many other types of sparkling wine which are equally as good on the palate but just don’t have that pedigree of coming from the traditional champagne making region of France. Cava is the Spanish version, Prosecco the Italian and Sec the German.
Real Champagne comes in a variety of styles which all have special names and characteristics. Brut is what the exceptionally dry version of Champagne is called, Demi Sec is the sweeter version and then there is the vintage and non vintage. Vintage Champagne is made solely from grapes form a particular year whereas non-vintage is made from grapes from blends of wine that have been produced over a longer period of time.
Champagne can be used in many things and is often added to desserts when cooking to produce fantastic sorbets or great sauces and ice creams. In this article we are going to concentrate on how you can make some fantastic classic cocktails with champagne. This will hopefully encourage you to go out and buy loads of the bubbly nectar and hold a fantastic party for all your friends. One thing that is for sure is that you will really impress them with your new found skills!
The first thing to make sure you have in your house are champagne glasses. These should always be the Flute type glass as this allows the bubbles to move from the bottom to the top of the glass, also the more space the bubbles have to move around the longer the champagne will have to keep its fizz. Also always remember to chill the champagne before you start – your cocktails need to be cold and refreshing and champagne should never be served warm!
The best known champagne cocktail is probably Buck’s Fizz but I think this is rather a cop out on the cocktail front so that recipe is not in this article. Another well known one and something that always seems sophisticated is probably the easiest – the Kir Royale. This is made by putting a measure of crème de cassis (blackcurrant syrup liqueur) into a flute glass and topping up with ice cold champagne. this is a great cocktail to welcome guests to a party because it is so easy to make.
Another great cocktail to impress your guests is the ‘Classic Champagne Cocktail’. Firstly you put a sugar cube in the bottom of the glass and drip a few drops of Angostura bitters on top if it. Then pour enough cognac in the glass to cover up the sugar cube . Top up with champagne and you have a classic cocktail which you can’t drink too many of as it is a guaranteed way to get very merry very quickly!
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Fiona Muller has been writing for over 20 years. She is a qualified journalist and has worked in food and drink including champagne and cocktails related writing for the last few years. For a range of champagnes go to laithwaites.co.uk
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