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Champagne Cocktails

Words by Simon Difford

Cocktails are intrinsically decadent, but those with champagne are also lavish, invigorating and celebratory. Usually the most expensive drinks on cocktail 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...

10 best-known Classic Champagne Cocktails

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1. Air Mail
With: Gold rum, sugar syrup, lime juice, orange juice and champagne.
We say: 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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2. Champagne Cocktail
With: Champagne, cognac, brown sugar and Angostura Aromatic Bitters.
We say: 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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3. Death In The Afternoon
With: Absinthe, lemon juice, sugar syrup and champagne.
We say: Created by Ernest Hemingway. This absinthe and champagne cocktail shares its name with one of the author's books.

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4. French 75
With: Gin, lemon juice, sugar and champagne.
We say: This fresh, clean and sophisticated cocktail probably originates in London during the First World War.

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5. Kir Royale
We say: The champagne version of a drink first mixed at Café George in Dijon, France, there's a great story behind Canon Félix Kir and his promotion of the Kir Aperitif.

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6. Mimosa
With: Grand Marnier, orange juice and champagne.
We say: Created in 1925 and named after the eponymous flowering shrub, David Embury writes of this drink, "Just another freak champagne mixture. It is not half bad and the ladies usually like it."

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7. Southside Royal
With: Mint, gin, lemon juice, sugar and champagne.
We say: A Prohibition era cocktail.

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8. Seelbach
With: Bourbon, triple sec, Peychaud's and Angostura Bitters, topped with champagne.
We say: Created in 1917 and named after the hotel where it was first made in Louisville, USA.

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9. Soyer au Champagne
With: A scoop of vanilla ice -cream vanilla drenched in cognac, Grand Marnier and maraschino liqueurs, and champagne.
We say: We've borrowed our recipe from the 1949 edition of Esquire's Handbook For Hosts.

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10. Valencia Cocktail No.2
With: Apricot brandy, orange juice, orange bitters and champagne.
We say: This cocktail comes from Harry Craddock's 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book.

20 Contemporary champagne cocktails

1. Absolutely Fabulous
Created in 1999 and named after the Absolutely Fabulous situation comedy series, this quaffable cocktail is made with vodka, cranberry juice and champagne.

2. B&B Royale
A riff on a Bénédictine and Brandy with black raspberry liqueur and champagne.

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

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

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

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

7. Elle for Leather
A long, cooling champagne cocktail pepped up with scotch whisky, smoothed with vanilla liqueur and freshened with lemon.

8. Grape Escape
Appropriately named with muddled grapes, mint, cognac and sugar, shaken and served long with champagne.

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

10. Jalisco Flower
As the name might suggest, this is a tequila and elderflower liqueur champagne cocktail given balance and freshness with ruby grapefruit juice.

11. 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.

12. Le Grand
Aromatised wine, cognac and grenadine, stirred, served straight-up and charged with champagne.

13. 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.

14. Porn Star Martini
Not so much a champagne cocktail but a cocktail with champagne served on the side, this is one of the most popular cocktails to emerge from London during the noughties.

15. Ramos Chocolate Fizz
A classic Ramos Gin Fizz made more luxurious with champagne and chocolate - essentials at any good celebratory gathering.

16. Red Gemma
Shiraz wine and black raspberry liqueur give this gin-laced champagne cocktail a red hue to suit the Liverpool FC supporter it is named for.

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

18. Russian Spring Punch
Described by Dick Bradsell, the legendary bartender who created this drink as "basically a spiked Kir Royal over ice".

19. Strawberry on Acid
Rich strawberry served with champagne, made interesting by a touch of balsamic vinegar acidity and the tingle of black pepper.

20. Twinkle
A simple but very tasty vodka-laced elderflower and champagne cocktail.

Over 100 more champagne cocktails