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Welcome to WFAEats — a fun adventure where we explore all things tasty and interesting in the Charlotte food scene. We want to share stories, recipes and culinary escapades and hear about yours!

Cheers To The Champagne Cocktail

wikimedia commons/flickr.com/photos/garyjwood

My friend Salem was sipping a Champagne cocktail outside an Asheville bistro when the ladies at the next table stopped their conversation to ask about the elegant looking drink.

She told them about the fizzy blend of sweetness with a tangy hint of bitters. They were so intrigued they immediately ordered three: two for themselves and one more for her.

That’s one of the delights of the Champagne cocktail – it’s convivial.

“I’ve ordered it from Maine to Mississippi,” Salem reports, although she must often explain to inexperienced bartenders that she’s not asking for a Mimosa. “The next thing you know, people are looking over and asking about it.”

The drink is festive and fun, sophisticated yet simple to make with only four ingredients: Champagne, brandy, sugar and bitters. The International Bartenders Association lists it as an Official IBA Cocktail, in the Contemporary Classics division.

But we like to bend the rules here at WFAEats, so when we learned Salem had a creative spin on the recipe, we insisted on sampling it.

Credit Amy Rogers
Rose sugar.

It was divine. Her secret ingredient? Rose Vanilla Sugar, purchased on a trip to Montreal. The flowery flavor was different and delicate. (She also omits the brandy, which makes the concoction that much more bubbly.)

A Champagne cocktail is really the perfect drink with which to end one year and begin the next. It’s as sweet as a our cherished friends, as light as our dreams, and tinged with just a drop of bitterness to remind us of the challenges that come along with a life well lived.

Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy, prosperous – and tasty – 2015!

Salem’s Champagne Cocktail

Put a half teaspoon of rose vanilla sugar (or one sugar cube) in a glass. Fill about halfway with Champagne (or other sparkling wine), which will bubble up immediately. Let the bubbling subside and fill the rest of the way. Add a few dashes of bitters, and garnish with a lemon peel if desired.

One serving