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. Champagne cocktails are condemned by some as being a waste of good fizz. However, the acidity of brut champagne and other similar sparkling wines can balance rich flavoursome liqueurs while its effervescence enlivens 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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Boothby Cocktail
"A delectable Manhattan, with a sparkling wine float."

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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 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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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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Improved Improved Pendennis Club
Dry sparkling wine dilutes and adds pleasing biscuity notes to this apricot gin sour.

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Jalisco Flower
Subtle, fruity and one of my favourite champagne/sparkling wine cocktails.

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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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Papaya Jack
The recipe may look sweet, but this fruity cocktail is dried by a splash of lemon and brut sparkling wine.

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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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Russian Spring Punch
Well-balanced, complex and refreshing. One of Dick Bradsell's enduring classics from the 1990s.

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The Sabot is a White Lady topped with a splash of fizz. Once you've experienced the firepower of a Sabot you'll never want to settle for a mere White Lady again.

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