The cocktail is an art form that peaked in the middle of the 20th century and has been in rapid decline since. As a young lad, I was schooled in the fine art of cocktailing by my father and grandfathers, I learned many valuable lessons that I plan to pass on. I also want to resurrect some of the old classics that vastly surpass the sugary & fruity concoctions made today with their simplicity, elegance and bold flavors. Most of the time I will focus on one drink, and to provide, at least in my opinion, the definitive recipe, but hope to expand to other related topics as I see fit. Please mix yourself a cocktail, read, drink, and enjoy!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Champagne Cocktail

As much as I love a good cocktail, there is something about the simple elegance of a glass of champagne to start a meal. The champagne cocktail is the perfect compromise, you may never be as suave and debonair as Rick Blaine, but this is a good start.

Champagne cocktails of various types have appeared in publications going back as far as the 1860s.  Mark Twain’s travelogue “The Innocents Abroad,” published in 1869, mentions one.  That's really all the pertinent background for this one, because we all know nobody is here for a history lesson.

This is a pretty standard recipe that I find starts an evening off in the right direction.  Begin by placing a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne glass (coupe if you have them, if not a flute works too), douse the cube in angostura bitters, fill the glass with champagne, and garnish with a lemon twist.  I prefer slightly sweeter champagne to better balance the bitters.  When this drink was first created, doux champagnes (over 5% sugar) were quite popular, I would not go this sweet, but a dry (1.7-3.5% sugar) or extra dry (1.2-2% sugar) works well.  Serve this the next time a Moroccan bar owner, gun runner, or Spanish freedom fighter strolls in off the street.

Champagne Cocktail
1 sugar cube
6 dashes bitters
Place the sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne glass, douse with bitters, fill with champagne, and garnish with a lemon twist.

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