Food & Drink

How to Make a Champagne Cocktail

This classic makes any celebration brighter.


  • brut champagne
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • lemon twist


  1. Place a sugar cube in a chilled champagne flute, lash it with 2 or 3 dashes of bitters, and fill the glass with brut champagne.
  2. Squeeze a lemon twist on top, then use as garnish.

It's very nearly the start of a brand-new decade. Hey, we might even try to make "the roaring' 20s" happen again. And what could roar louder than a glass of champagne emboldened by sugar and bitters? This is one of those old-as-bones cocktails that never loses its glitz and glamour. It'll keep you floating through parties to celebrate the end of this confusing, infuriating decade. By adding a sugar cube instead of loose sugar to the brut in the flute, you'll get a more persistent stream of bubbles rising through the drink, well past the toll of midnight. But don't limit your celebrations to the coming and going of years. A Champagne Cocktail will dress up any occasion, New Years or otherwise.

A Little Background

In the 1925 book Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, showgirl Lorelei Lee (later played by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 movie adaption) declares, "So we came to the Ritz Hotel and the Ritz Hotel is devine [sic]. Because when a girl can sit in a delightful bar and have delicious champagne cocktails and look at all the important French people in Paris, I think it is devine." Divine, indeed. That fictitious character was joined in her appreciation of Champagne Cocktails at the Ritz by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who apparently wiled away more than a few hours sipping them there with other writers of acclaim when he and Zelda moved to Paris in 1925. By that time, the Champagne Cocktail was already 60 years old, having first cropped up in the 1862 book How to Mix Drinks by Jerry Thomas. In the 160 years or so since then, cantankerous mixologists have grumbled about diluting good French champagne with bitters, sugar, and zest, but there's an easy fix to that: Use cheap champagne.


If You Like This, Try These

For any kind of festivity, there's a champagne cocktail to match it. The Champagne Cocktail just happens to be the most classic (and easily made) one of the bunch. Here are 15 other options. One we'll highlight in particular is the Champagne Punch, another party-ready drink that requires less attention from you, the host, once it's prepared.

What You Need

Here’s what you need to do a Champagne Cocktail justice, beyond what you might be able to dig out of the fridge or cupboard.

Brut Champagne

Sugar Cubes

Angostura Bitters

Champagne Flutes

Food styling by Sean Dooley
Prop styling by Heidi's Bridge

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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