There’s nothing like bubbles to get everyone in a party mood. While Champagne is the traditional fizz of choice, sparkling wines from other French regions, Italy, Australia and New Zealand can also do the job – often at a fraction of the cost – especially in these five popular cocktails. Keep the snacks French by whipping ups batch of panisse (Provençal chickpea fritters) to serve with these Champagne cocktails (see video below).
The Classic Champagne Cocktail with Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve
I love the old gold hue and the way the sugar keeps the bubbles dancing in this classic from the mid-1800s. Pour a nip of chilled cognac over an Angostura bitters-soaked sugar cube in a flute and top with Champagne (this one calls for the real deal).
Kir Royale with L’Eglise St Martin Brut
This sparkling variation on the French aperitif of blackcurrant liqueur and white burgundy looks pretty and pleases anyone who likes a little sweetness with their bubbles. Top a nip of crème de cassis with sparkling wine, I’ve used Blanquette de Limoux from south-western France.
Mimosa with Cloudy Bay Pelorus
This popular brunch drink is thought to have originated in the 1920s at the Hotel Ritz in Paris and been named after yellow wattle flowers (also called mimosa). Pour 1 part well-chilled orange juice into a glass and top with 2 parts sparkling wine, such as New Zealand’s Pelorus.
Black Velvet with d’Arenberg Polly
Created at Brooks Club in London in 1861 when the UK was in mourning for Queen Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert, this cocktail is often made with Guinness. My version uses two South Australian classics: half fill a pilsner glass with Coppers Stout and top with the cheekily named Polly!
Hemingway My Way with Fantini Gran Cuvée Bianco
The classic Hemingway Champagne cocktail, created by Ernest Hemingway and also called Death in the Afternoon, contains absinthe – but I prefer it with a pastis, like Ricard. Place a nip of pastis in a glass and top with bubbles, such as Fantini from Abruzzo in Italy.