"Royale" Your Cocktails with Sparkling Wine
You’ve likely heard of the classic Kir Royale cocktail, a mix of fruity crème de cassis liqueur with Champagne. But bartenders have taken the Royale template to new places, turning the classic drink into a verb—you can now “Royale” anything.
Removed from is cocktail of origin, Royale has come to mean transforming a drink by adding sparkling wine. A growing number of bars are even now serving drinks with a glassful of sparkling on the side for guests to “Royale” cocktails at their discretion.
At New York City’s Pig Bleecker, the Donna Reed is served in this manner. The drink is an austere Negroni variation served with a side of Champagne. Pour it in, and the cocktail becomes festive, bubbly and light, an easy enhancement. Bartenders have also been experimenting with Royale versions of classics like the Sidecar, Manhattan and even tiki drinks like the Jungle Bird.
Sauvage in Brooklyn, New York, is soon bringing a full Royale menu to their cocktail program. Will Elliott, the bar director, has forged a roster that builds on the classic Kir, and pairs various French wines alongside fruit liqueur for guests to mix.
Elliott believes the Royale is poised to take off in 2018, and follow in the footsteps of its bubbly Italian cousin, the Spritz. He even jokingly refers to the Royale style as “Spritz 2.0.” Part of the appeal is an increased comfort with sparkling wines, he says.
Here are six Royale variations to try right now, featuring a variety of spirits and sparklers.
Courtesy Camille Razo, head bartender, The Patterson House, Nashville
At The Patterson House, this Sloe Gin Fizz-like drink comes with a small carafe of Gruet, a sparkling wine made in New Mexico. The name is a reference to the television show Seinfeld, as the bar team struggled to find a name for this drink.
- 2 strawberries
- 1 ounce grapefruit juice
- ¾ ounce Hayman’s Sloe Gin
- ¾ ounce Byrrh
- ¾ ounce gin, preferably Plymouth
- ¾ ounce lemon juice
- ¾ ounce simple syrup
- 5 drops orange blossom water
- sparkling wine (about 3 ounces)
In bottom of cocktail shaker, crush 1 strawberry with muddler or back of spoon. Add remaining ingredients (except sparkling wine) and ice. Shake well, and strain into Collins glass over fresh ice cubes. Top with sparkling wine to taste. Garnish with remaining strawberry.
The rosy-red Jungle Bird is a classic tiki drink not usually served as a sparkler. This revised version splits the rum component between light and dark rums (usually, it’s all Jamaican or blackstrap rum). It has a lighter, less sweet flavor profile compared to the original.
- 1 ounce Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
- 1 ounce Brugal Especial Extra Dry Rum
- ½ ounce pineapple juice
- ¾ ounce lime juice
- ½ ounce Campari
- 3 ounces Prosecco
- Dried pineapple ring (for garnish)
In cocktail shaker, combine first five ingredients with ice. Shake well, and strain into Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with Prosecco. Garnish with dried pineapple ring. Serve with straw.
Courtesy How To Drink French Fluently, by Drew Lazor
This citrusy, floral-forward drink that lands somewhere between a Caipirinha and a classic Royale cocktail. Try this easy sipper for brunch.
- 1½ ounces St-Germain elderflower liqueur
- 1 ounce cachaça
- ½ ounce lemon juice
- ½ ounce grapefruit juice
- 2 ounces Cava
- Cucumber wheel (for garnish)
Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well, and strain into coupe glass. Top with Cava. Garnish with cucumber wheel.
Courtesy Julia Grossman, director of operations, Greenwich Grille, New York City
The classic Sidecar gets the Royale treatment. While any sparkling wine can be used, Champagne is a natural accompaniment for a drink made with two French ingredients, Cognac and Cointreau.
- 1 lemon wedge (to rim glass)
- 2 tablespoons superfine sugar (to rim glass)
- 1½ ounces Cognac
- 1 ounce Cointreau
- ½ ounce lemon juice
- Champagne, chilled
Run lemon wedge around rim of martini glass. Pour sugar into dish. Dip moistened edge of glass into sugar to coat rim. Glass can be set in freezer until needed.
In cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine Cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice. Shake well, then strain into prepared glass. Top with Champagne.
Recipe courtesy The Essential Cocktail Book, edited by Meghan Krigbaum
This large-format punch was created by Martin Cate, and riffs on the (non-Royale) Hibiscus Punch cocktail that appears on the menu at his San Francisco tiki bar Smuggler’s Cove. It’s ideal as a holiday recipe, combining aged rum and fresh lime with tart hibiscus syrup. A hefty pour of chilled cava gives the drink a bubbly lift.
- 18 ounces blended aged rum, preferably Appleton Estate Reserve Blend
- 12 ounces Hibiscus Syrup (see below)
- 4 ounces rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part hot water, stirred until the sugar dissolves)
- 6 ounces lime juice
- 24 ounces Cava, chilled
- To garnish: hibiscus flowers in syrup (drained), lime wheels, and mint sprigs
Combine all ingredients except Cava, and chill for 2 hours. 20 minutes before serving, add chilled ingredients to punch bowl filled with cracked ice. Top with Cava and stir gently to combine. Garnish bowl with hibiscus flowers resting on lime wheels, and mint sprigs. Serves 12.
Add 1 cup water, 1 cup hibiscus blossoms, and a lemon peel to a pot and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup sugar and stir to dissolve. Turn off heat and allow to cool before storing in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Will keep, refrigerated, for 1 month.
Courtesy Salvatore Tafuri, head bartender, The Loyal, New York City
At The Loyal, this sophisticated variation on a Manhattan is served with a shot of rosé Champagne on the side. Note: to create a “smoky cherry,” Tafuri soaks brandied cherries overnight in a smoky Islay Scotch. Use regular brandied cherries, if preferred.
- 2 ounces overprood rye, preferably Rittenhouse
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 1½ ounces Brut Rosé
- Brandied cherry (for garnish)
- Orange peel (for garnish)
In mixing glass, stir together first three ingredients with ice. Strain into martini glass. Top with Champagne. Garnish with cherry and orange peel.
- 1No Learning, No Hugging
- 2Jungle Bird Royale
- 3Da Hora
- 4Sidecar Royale
- 5Hibiscus Punch Royale
- 6Manhattan Royale