The Key To Making The Absolute Best Champagne Cocktails, According To An Expert

Champagne mimosa
Champagne mimosa - Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

It seems crazy to think that one of the most luxurious and well-known beverages in the world could be underrated, yet Champagne falls into that category, at least as a cocktail ingredient. Everybody thinks of Champagne and mimosas, but only recently have cocktails with sparkling wine started to break into the mainstream. Popular concoctions like the Aperol Spritz have shown Americans that different types of sparkling wine can produce light, refreshing mixed drinks, and Champagne cocktails are a whole world to themselves. There are classics like a French 75, and more trendy drinks like the Champagne version of a Negroni Sbagliato. There are so many choices we could probably do with a few general rules about mixing them. So Tasting Table reached out to Cody Goldstein, an award-winning mixologist, author, and the founder of Brooklyn-based hospitality group Muddling Memories for his top tips on making Champagne cocktails.

Goldstein emphasized just how important a balance of flavors is in a cocktail. "If the flavors are not harmonizing then the drinking experience becomes more one-sided which can lean towards an overpowering sweet, sour, or bitter taste," he explains. "Layering flavors and adding the right amount of dilution is what creates an enjoyable drinking experience where each component can be identified." Goldstein prefers to focus on three of the five main flavors (sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami) to avoid overwhelming the drinker.

Read more: The 40 Absolute Best Cocktails That Feature Only 2 Ingredients

Champagne Should Be The Focus Of Any Cocktail You Make With It

bottles of Champagne
bottles of Champagne - Julpo/Getty Images

You may want to make sure your drink is hitting a pleasing combo of flavors, but Cody Goldstein told us the focus should be obvious: "You want to make sure the Champagne is not hidden in a cocktail and is the star of the show." Almost every well-known Champagne cocktail keeps the ingredient ratio heavy in favor of the sparkling wine, with drinks like the Kir Royale or Kir Imperial using other spirits to flavor the wine lightly. So what does Goldstein prefer to mix in his Champagne cocktails?

"Lots of fresh juices compliment the tight bubbles in a Champagne so I like to make my own grapefruit, pineapple, peach, and apple juice to combine with a little sugar and you have a very refreshing and light cocktail," he explains. "Additionally, adding some unique dry spirits such as sherry, vermouths, and aromatic bitters complement the subtle sweetness but dryness of the yeast in Champagne.

And don't overlook the importance of a little ice either, because it's not just there to keep your drink cold. "Dilution also plays a very important role in how we experience drinks," Goldstein says. "The additional water that goes back into the mix of the drink through the combining of ingredients (shaking, stirring, throwing, etc.) helps to mellow out the high levels of acid, sugar, or bitterness."

Make Sure Your Champagne Cocktail Doesn't Lose Its Bubbles

raspberry Champagne cocktails
raspberry Champagne cocktails - Nightanddayimages/Getty Images

The taste of what you are sipping is always going to be the biggest focus, but don't overlook one of Champagne's biggest draws either: The bubbles. This is especially important with how you mix the drink. The order of operations is key here with Cody Goldstein saying, "A big tip is whenever incorporating bubbles into a cocktail, it should always be added after you mix the drink." The big mistake is putting Champagne in a cocktail shaker, which is guaranteed to end in a mess, with Goldstein explaining that "the carbonation will pop open the seal while shaking and not to mention will dissolve any of the bubbles." Instead, he says you should be adding your Champagne directly to the glass, either by topping the other ingredients, or using it as a base to sink them into.

As long as you maintain a balance between flavors, place the focus on the wine, and keep those bubbles alive, Goldstein guarantees your Champagne cocktail will be delicious. Now you're ready to try some of our favorite cocktails that include Champagne. Make them right, and you might regularly stock your liquor cabinet with some of the best Champagnes alongside your vodka and gin.

Read the original article on Tasting Table