The champagne cocktail has become less and less popular over the years, likely due to the emergence of designer alcohol in any number of flavors and sparkling wines and wine coolers. Of course, one champagne cocktail remains the favorite for Sunday brunch: the mimosa — a simple, elegant, 50/50 blend of champagne and orange juice served in a flute. Can there be anything better? Maybe, maybe not; but there are other ingredients a splash of champagne can enhance besides just orange juice. Here are a few variations bartenders DJ Lois and Aly think give the mimosa a run for its money.
DJ Lois’s Picks
On the Y
670 Fulton Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
Mixologist DJ Lois, with a four-year tenure at Joe’s Bar, Duffy’s Tavern and On the Y, has had ample opportunity to experiment with nearly every liquor, liqueur and mixer. She considers herself a mix-plorer on a mission, afraid of no taste combination. In the pursuit of excellence, she has consumed dozens of disasters bravely while occasionally uncovering a masterpiece. Here are three of those masterpieces featuring champagne.
- Mango nectar
- Peach nectar
Combine 2 parts champagne with 1 part mango nectar and 1 part peach nectar. The nectars are thicker than orange juice, more like a syrup or nectar than a juice. They make the traditional mimosa more substantial and more savory.
Champagne and Framboise (the Happy New Year)
Over ice, combine 2 parts champagne with 1 part framboise. Serve it in a pilsner glass. This drink is bright red with white foam, making it a very festive treat. The little bite of tartness offers the drinker relief from all the sweetness of the holidays. Framboise, a Belgian lambic beer brewed with raspberries, is more like a wine than a beer and is served in small doses. Mixing it with champagne makes for a lighter, more easygoing drink.
Champagne and Cider (the Cider Champ)
Combine 1 part cider with 1 part champagne and serve in a pilsner glass. Remember, the cider determines the sweetness, so choose wisely. According to DJ Lois, any drink is better with bubbles. All those bubbles will give your spirits a lift. The dryness of the champagne offsets the sweetness of the cider, unless bitterness is a preference. The great thing about this cocktail is how easily it is tailored to the individual drinker. Careful though, the beverage is airy and refreshing but it’s a lot more than just apple juice.
7925 Greenback Lane
Citrus Heights, CA 95610
Aly from the Black Angus bar believes in repurposing not goods or ingredients, but ideas. She turns to a forgotten classic cocktail that offers a big wow to all those who weren’t alive to see it in its heyday.
- 1 sugar cube
- 2-3 drops of Angostura Bitters
- 1 ounce brandy
- Orange slice and maraschino cherry
Drop the sugar cube to the bottom of a brandy snifter. Drop bitters on the cube. This creates a chemical reaction. Give it a second to take effect. Add brandy, then champagne (careful not to over fill, add slowly, another chemical reaction will occur when the sugar and bitters touch the champagne). Once the volcano fizzles out, drop in a cherry and an orange slice.
- Mint leaves
- Lemon zest
Muddle the mint leaves at the bottom of a pilsner glass and add the remaining ingredients. The traditional mojito is already a refreshing summer favorite. Adding the champagne and removing the sweet and sour gives the mojito a lighter, sweeter taste. The champagne mojito tastes like summer in a glass and can be enjoyed any time of year.