Saturday, January 21, 2012

Champagne Cocktail

Let's talk cocktails here. Really, you say? I thought this was a cocktail blog! True, it is, but we often put up non-cocktail recipes for your enjoyment. What's the difference? Well, today almost every mixed drink is referred to as a cocktail. If you have read this blog carefully, you will note that some recipes are referenced as 'drinks' and some 'cocktails.' This is because the Firewater Lounge respects the old masters like Jerry Thomas who defined the American cocktail over 150 years ago.

In order to be a cocktail, the drink must contain four elements - a base spirit, water, sugar, and bitters. Unless the drink has 'cocktail' in its name as a classic misnomer (like the Coffee Cocktail for instance, which is not a cocktail  nor does it contain coffee!), none of the drinks in the FWL that lack one of the elements is called a 'cocktail.'

The purest form of cocktail I can think of is the Champagne Cocktail, which Jerry Thomas served with Champagne (base spirit), a lump of sugar, a lump of ice (water), and Angostura bitters. By the 1900s, the Champagne Cocktail settled into this traditional variation - chilled Champagne acting as the water, cognac (base spirit), a lump of sugar, and Angostura bitters. In the pour offered in the picture above, we used Chandon Rosé for the Champagne and Old New Orleans Rum as the base spirit cap.

Champagne Cocktail
Classic Pour Series

Cap of Cognac
Dash of Angostura bitters

In a flute (not a coupe), place a sugar cube. Coat the cube with Angostura bitters. Fill slowly with Champagne, leaving room for a cap of cognac. I like Martel. Be aware that sugar causes new Champagne to fizz like crazy. The classic garnish for this cocktail is a long lemon twist.

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