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Add a Little Spark to Your Cocktail

Sparkling cocktails—loosely defined as beverages featuring sparkling wine, either as a complementary ingredient to add pizazz or as the drink’s raison d'être—are very likely as old as sparkling wine itself. It’s not hard to imagine two monks named Dom Perignon and Jean Oudart, in a monastery in the Champagne region of France circa 1600s, adding a dash of basil or mint here, a splash of melon or citrus there, to this curiously effervescent new wine they’d created.

By the mid-1800s, “Champagne Cocktails,” as they were known at the time, had become popular with the upper crust. Today, the sparkling cocktail is more in vogue than ever. Nearly every decent bar in the land—from after-work watering holes to à la mode cocktail lounges—offers a signature sparkling cocktail, and it’s a dynamite way to spice up any hosted event.

Making spirits a bit more spirited

Maybe it’s because sparkling wine is so often served at noteworthy, joyous affairs (think wedding toasts, graduations and ship christenings) that a taste of bubbly lends an undeniable air of elegance to the proceedings. The warm summer months, in particular, are an ideal time to add a little refreshing, nuanced fizz to your drink.

Sparkling wine infuses zip and complexity into any beverage, and the rules for crafting a perfect sparkling cocktail at home are simple:

  1. Delicious ingredients make a delicious cocktail: Whether adding fruit, herbs, juice or other, more exotic elements to your cocktail, use fresh, all-natural ingredients whenever possible.
  2. Don’t skimp on the bubbles: Perhaps most importantly, pour a nice bottle of sparkling wine. Savor your top-shelf bubbly on its own, but avoid the temptation to use a sub-bar bottle in a sparkling cocktail simply because “you’re mixing it.” We suggest a Chandon Brut Classic or Blanc de Noirs-as their fruit forward flavors make them an ideal ingredient for a wine variety of cocktails.
  3. Do your prep work ahead of time: Unless you want to tend bar all night, mix non-carbonated ingredients beforehand and keep them chilled in a pitcher. When it’s time to serve drinks, pour the mixture into your desired glass and top off with the sparkling wine—the bubbles from the wine and the acidity from the juice will do much of the mixing for you.
  4. Enjoy!

Three to try

Chandon sparkling wine brings life to any cocktail, but we’ve collected a few of our favorite recipes at Chandon.com. The August 2010 edition of Food & Wine magazine, endorsed the Chandon Melon Breeze for a taste of crisp sophistication. We also love a Chandon High Tea for its old-school nobility and the cutting-edge chic of using tea in cocktails. And the golden days of summer are ideal for a Chandon Nouveau Riche, made from our golden Chandon Riche extra-dry sparkling wine.

Regardless of season or century, from bigwigs to trendsetters to Benedictine monks, the sparkling cocktail remains a unique blend of timeless sophistication and in-the-moment creativity. Whether serving one at an elegant soirée or simply sipping on your back porch on a pleasant evening, you can’t go wrong when mixing Chandon bubbles and fresh, flavorful ingredients.

Join the Conversation

These are a few of our favorites, but what about you? Leave a comment on Chandon's Facebook page to share your thoughts on how best to use Chandon wine in a sparkling cocktail, discuss some of your go-to recipes, and see what others are saying!