20 best Champagne Cocktails

Words by Simon Difford

Photography by Dan Malpass

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Cocktails are intrinsically decadent, but those with champagne are also lavish, invigorating and celebratory. Usually the most expensive drinks on cocktail bar menus, champagne cocktails are condemned by some as being a waste of good fizz. However, the acidity of brut champagne can balance rich flavoursome liqueurs and its effervescence can enliven cocktails. Champagne cocktails can be great...

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Air Mail
Basically, an orange daiquiri served long over ice, sweetened with honey rather than sugar and topped with champagne. Said to be named due to a reference to airmail being the quickest way of getting a letter from A to B.

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There's a touch of Tiki to this champagne-charged classic from the 1977 book Jones' Complete Barguide.

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Bling! Bling!
A shot sized treat with vodka, fresh raspberries, lime juice, sugar and champagne.

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Carlton Banks
Cognac, cherry brandy, orange biters, and Boker's bitters, stirred and strained into a coupe, crowned with champagne.

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Champagne Cocktail
No list of champagne cocktails would be complete without mention of the venerable Champagne Cocktail, one of the oldest known cocktails and with its mixture of cognac and champagne, one of the most luxurious.

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Champagne Julep
Lower in strength than most old-school Julep cocktails, champagne adds a zing, if not a sparkle.

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Champagne Piña Colada
Deliciously creamy pineapple and coconut enlivened by champagne with rum notes shining through.

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Champagne Snowball
Snowballs are popular a Christmas cocktail in the UK but a generous splash of champagne extends this silky cocktail into being equally suited to New Years Eve.

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Curtain Call
A Bacardi Legacy Competition winning cocktail with basil leaves, light rum, lemon juice, sugar syrup and Campari, topped with champagne.

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Death in the Afternoon
Created by Ernest Hemingway. This absinthe and champagne cocktail shares its name with one of the author's books.

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French 125
A cognac-based version of the French 75 which first appeared in the 1977 book Jones' Complete Barguide.

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French 75
This fresh, clean and sophisticated cocktail probably originates in London during the First World War, although this flute glass serve dates from the 1980s/90s.

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French 75 (Difford's recipe)
This Collins glass French 75 serve is more in keeping with the original and fittingly resembles the shape of a 75mm cartridge.

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French Spritz
This aperitif-style cocktail perfectly fits its name. That said, fans of Italian fizz will be interested to learn that this Spritz recipe also works well when made with prosecco in place of champagne.

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Honey Bee Mine
Honey and vanilla laced with white rum and enlivened with champagne. Originally made for Valentine's Day - hence the name.

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Jayne Mansfield
Named after the Hollywood actress, the rum laced champagne cocktail is flavoured and made red by fresh strawberries and crème de fraise liqueur.

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Millionaire's Martini
A Fifty-Fifty Dry Martini charged with a splash of Champagne to create a suitably opulent, and dangerously quaffable Dry Martini.

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Old Cuban
Created in 2004 by Audrey Saunders this aged rum-based cocktail had become a contemporary classic. Best described as a minty daiquiri with champagne sparkle.

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Pisco Punch (Difford's Recipe)
My interpretation of the venerable Pisco Punch is enlivened by both champagne and a touch of clove spice.

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Royal Mojito
Champagne invigorates and adds complexity to the Cuban minty classic. Also appropriately known as a "Luxury Mojito".

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