1 oz Rothman & Winter’s Crème de Violette
Layer ingredients in a champagne flute and stir. Garnish is optional, but I like to use a cranberry.
1 oz Carpano Antica
1 oz Aperol
Fill an Old-Fashioned (or High Ball) glass with ice, pour Carpano Antica and Aperol over ice and top with sparkling. Flame an orange peel and drop in glass for garnish. Recipe by Sam Herron.
1 oz gin
1 oz St. Germain
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Stir gin, St. Germain and bitters with ice; strain into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling. Adapted from recipe by Death & Co.
Back in the days of Mudpie’s half-price wine night, it became a Thursday night habit to start our evening with a bottle of their finest “champagne.” Granted it was not actually champagne, just wine that was bottled and carbonated in California, it always made for an inexpensive, fun way to kick off our night. A friend once asked why I drank sparkling wine all of the time instead of saving it for a special occasion, a common misconception that I have run across many times in the service industry. His fear was that it wouldn’t be as "special" when holidays and celebratory events came along, but I assured him that bubbles never lose their glitz and glamour.
My particular weakness lies in champagne cocktails. More often than not, I find myself reaching for a bottle of our house bubbly to pour over a culmination of gin, infused vodkas or floral liqueurs. Although oftentimes light and refreshing, these particular gems will knock you off of your feet—literally—if you aren’t cautious. The delicate balance of booze and bubbles can be deceptive. But when consumed in moderation, they are quite delightful.
Now, there is a classic version of this drink, calling for sugar, bitters, champagne and a lemon twist. As Dave Wondrich explains to us in Esquire, some thought this to be sacrilege, for who would put sugar or bitters in a beautiful glass of champagne? Other early versions of the drink call for brandy or orange liqueur. Here we go again with convoluted drink history because this “cocktail” emerged before Jerry Thomas published the first bartender’s companion.
What I love about this particular genre of cocktails is that they can suit the palate of just about anyone. I try to keep cocktail recipes as balanced as possible, not hitting too far on the sweet end—or any other end—of the spectrum. However, serving in a downtown area where foot traffic is constantly moving through, I know it is important to be able to offer a guest something that will make them happy, hitting the very spot they were looking for.
For those with a tendency to lean on the sweeter side of life, I like to offer the violet. It is one of the most basic cocktails to make, suiting those who are looking for something floral, slightly fruity and fun. This cocktail is great for parties because a little Crème de Violette goes a long way!
For tips on preparing sparkling cocktails and a list of many more classic sparkling drinks, check out this article.
Laura Kelton is a recent graduate of UTC and currently runs the bar program at Easy Bistro & Bar. Feel free to reach out to her by email with any questions, comments or requests. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.