Like many of you, I love champagne. I love the triumphant pop of the cork, the festive fizz, the easily overflowing glasses and, of course, the bubbles… anyone who follows [my blog] knows I have a fondness for bubbles.
Not only is champagne fun to drink, but it’s a lot like a celebration in a glass. Even if you have nothing in particular to celebrate, it makes you feel like you do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And while I have no problem drinking champagne straight up–and occasionally with a straw– it’s always fun to get creative. So add whatever you like, but here’s a breakdown of what I consider some highly successful and yummy creative champagne concoctions.
These are some champagne fan-favorites. For those of us who love champagne (me!) or just simply don’t like beer (me too!), these creative, festive drinks are especially fun. There seem to be many variations, and new versions get added each New Year, but here’s a brief list of my all-time favorite favorites. If you haven’t tried one of these yet, I suggest you get started!
1. **Poinsettia:** Chilled champagne, about 3 oz cranberry juice (or *POM* is also yummy), a splash of triple sec or *Cointreau.* I’ve also heard a variation of this called a Pretty Woman (maybe because if you drink too many, you might end up in a bandeau tube dress in Richard Gere’s hotel room?).
2. **Bellini:** 2 oz peach juice or puree, 4 oz champagne–the colder the better so I suggest pre-freezing the peach juice in ice cube trays.
3. **Frozen Bikini:** Add 2 oz vodka, 2 oz peach schnapps, 3 oz peach nectar, 2 oz orange juice, splash of lemon juice to a chilled glass, then fill the rest of the way with chilled champagne. Drop in a strawberry if you’re feeling especially sassy.
4. **New York City (AKA: Metro):** 4 oz chilled champagne, 1 oz vodka, a splash lime juice, a splash *Cointreau,* and a splash cranberry juice. You’ll be singing *New York, New York* in no time.
5. **Blushing Bride:** Chilled champagne, peach schnapps, and grenadine.
##Nameless (and faceless) Concoctions
Here’s a list of concoctions I’ve come up with on my own over the years; although, since everything old is new again, others have probably concocted the same or similar versions. Fair warning: These are simple but powerful!
1. Equal parts *X-Rated Fusion* liquor (it’s pink and sort of tastes like pink grapefruit juice) and pink champagne (**Barefoot** bubbly is my fave).
2. Champagne with just a splash of grenadine (or cherry syrup) and a lime twist (or squirt of lime juice if you don’t feel like twisting). I almost always love the taste of lime and cherry mixed together.
3. **Champagne *Jell-O* Shots:** These are popular and there are a ton of different recipes available. Here’s mine: Add 1 six-ounce box *Jell-O* (any flavor, I like strawberry with pink champagne or grape with white champagne) to 2 cups boiling water, stir until dissolved, and add 2 cups cold champagne. I use a turkey baster to divide the concoction into tiny cups–thin plastic cups or double up paper cups, which can be found at any party store. Chill to set. For stronger shots, add just 1 cup of boiling water, then add an extra cup of champagne once solution dissolves.
4. Chilled champagne is perfect all alone, but I like to add fruit–grapes or strawberries are perfect additions–and even a ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract to make simple champagne even better! Fruit is good for you!
5. Raspberry–or any fruit flavored–vodka and champagne. I don’t measure when I do this, but if I did it would probably be about a 1:2 ratio, give or take. So easy; so go easy.
Great for parties of 2 or more, here’s a sampling of awesome punches I’ve discovered. Bust out your fancy punch bowl, or perhaps a less risky shatter-proof **Tupperware** or basic plastic bowl if your parties tend to get wild, and get to spiking!
1. **Classic Champagne Punch:** Add a 2-liter bottle of ginger ale, a bottle of champagne, and a container of orange sherbet into punch bowl, and serve.
2. **Pink Punch:** A bottle pink champagne, two containers frozen pink lemonade concentrate, two containers frozen cranberry or fruit juice concentrate, one bottle of chilled red wine, a quart of chilled club soda, and ice cubes.
3. **Hawaiian Punch:** A 2-liter bottle *Hawaiian Punch,* 2 cups *Malibu* rum, 1 cup *Southern Comfort,* a bottle of champagne, a 2-liter bottle of pineapple soda, a jar of maraschino cherries, a bag frozen pineapple (cubed), and ice cubes. Note: coconut shell bikini and grass skirt optional.
4. **Sucker Punch:** A bottle of champagne, 1 cup of vodka (vanilla flavored is nice in this), 1 cup of tequila, 1 cup of rum, 2 cups peach schnapps, one container frozen orange juice concentrate, one container frozen pineapple juice concentrate, one container frozen cranberry juice concentrate, two liters of tonic water, and ice cubes. Add club soda if the punch tastes too sweet.
5. **Margarita Punch:** A bottle of champagne, 4 cups *blanco* tequila, 4 cups triple sec, a bottle of either lime margarita mix or sour mix, two liters of lemon lime soda, 1 cup agave nectar (if available), 1 cup lime juice, 4 limes (sliced and quartered), and crushed ice. Serve in margarita glasses with salted or sugared rims as an option.
Add a scoop of mashed, sliced, or diced frozen strawberries, peaches, pineapples, grapes or berries to champagne, and it’s almost like a delicious, nutritious, fizzy dessert! Prep the fruit in advance, store in freezer bags and keep frozen until needed. It’s also fun to add a spoonful of sorbet—any flavor, I like raspberry—or water ice to a glass of your favorite bubbly. It’s kind of like a party punch, but for a party of one.
Who doesn’t love mimosas? I often joke with my brunch buddies and say they should be called “moremosas,” because I like them so much. Occasionally, instead of adding orange juice to champagne, I like to add any one of the following: mango nectar—it’s thick so just a splash will do; **Welch’s** grape juice—it’s like grape soda, only better; *V-8 Splash*—why not drink your veggies?; or cranberry juice—yummy, festive and good for the kidneys.
##Born Again Virgins
Non-alcoholic “champagne” concoctions can be made by substituting anything fizzy (e.g., tonic water, ginger ale, sparking grape juice) for the champagne. I call these “Born Again Virgins.” When I host a party, I like to serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options so everyone can join in on the fun. It’s a nice way to include your designated drivers, people who can’t or don’t drink, pregnant and nursing women, and even kids/teens. Remember: You don’t need alcohol to have fun!
If you come up with or come across new yummy champagne or mock-champagne concoctions or cocktails, please share them by leaving a comment. I’d love to add more bubbly fun to my list.
Most importantly, please be safe and responsible! If you’re going to drink, don’t drive.
This article was adapated, with permission, from [*Toast(ed),* by Valerie Zane]. Valerie is a writer, blogger, and fellow imbiber. More of her writing can be found on [www.valeriezane.com] and on [Facebook].