Six Bubbly Cocktails to Make Your Celebrations Sparkle
While we certainly cosign enjoying a delicious glass of sparkling wine without any modifications, if you’re looking to get extra festive, an effervescent cocktail is a surefire way to liven up a party and impress your guests.
From a twist on a classic French 75 to a sparkling take on a whiskey sour and a modern rum classic from New York City’s storied Pegu Club, here are six cocktails to help you make the most of the new year.
Jump Straight to a Recipe
Courtesy Norton Christopher, bar manager, Sac-a-Lait, New Orleans
New Orleans restaurant Sac-a-Lait gives the classic French 75 cocktail the same hyper-regional treatment the rest of the menu receives. Bar Manager Norton Christopher, who grew up on a 32-acre farm in northwest Louisiana, uses produce grown in the venue’s on-site garden to bring fresh flavor to the mix. That means the drink can vary depending on what’s in peak season—it may be juicy watermelon one week, abundant fresh blueberries the next. He also emphasizes local products, such as Euphrosine Gin #9 and El Guapo Bitters, both made in New Orleans.
To stay true to the spirit of this cocktail, consider adjusting this template to fit what’s grown or made in your area.
- 2 ounces gin, preferably Euphrosine Gin #9
- ¾ ounces Blueberry Syrup (recipe below)
- ¾ ounces lemon juice
- 3 dashes El Guapo Summer Berry Bitters or Peychaud’s Bitters
- Cava, to top
- Lemon twist, for garnish
In cocktail shaker, combine first 4 ingredients with ice. Shake well, then strain into flute. Top with Cava. Garnish with lemon twist.
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
Place ingredients in pot with water and cook on medium-low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until syrupy, about 15 minutes. Let mixture cool, then purée and strain. If mixture becomes too thick to pour, thin with basic simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water).
Courtesy Caitlin Corcoran, managing partner, Ça Va, Kansas City
Quick take: “This is a classic cocktail that I do not think a lot of people know about, but it’s super easy and you can make a rock star for your friends when you’re making cocktails,” says Corcoran. “I like to use a sparkling Cava rosé. Go for something a little fruit-forward with raspberry notes. It’s also really delicious to drink by itself, so you can be the hostess with the mostest.”
- ½ ounce Grand Marnier
- 3 ounces cranberry juice
- Cava rosé
- Dried cranberries (for garnish)
- Rosemary sprig (for garnish)
Add Grand Marnier and cranberry juice to Champagne flute, and stir. Top with Cava rosé. Garnish with cranberries skewered by rosemary sprig
Courtesy Steen Bojsen-Møller, beverage director, Birba Palm Springs, California
When basil starts to sprout in gardens and sunny window boxes, make this refreshing, bubbly drink. Inspired by the popular Aperol Spritz, Steen Bojsen-Møller, beverage director at Birba Palm Springs in California, sought to create a less-sweet variation with an herbaceous flavor.
An added bonus: “It comes out a beautiful bright green color, which also makes you feel like you’re drinking something healthy.”
- 1 ½ ounces vodka
- 1 ounce basil syrup (recipe and directions below)
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- 3 ounces sparkling wine
- Dash of soda water
- Basil leaf, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with basil leaf.
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves (no stems)
- 1 cup sugar
In small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to boil. Add basil leaves, and allow to steep for 15 seconds.
Transfer basil to bowl of ice water for 1 minute, then dry on paper towel.
Stir sugar into basil water until dissolved, and remove from heat. Return basil to simple syrup.
Pour syrup into blender (or use a hand-held immersion blender), and blend on high for 30 seconds. Strain through a nut bag or fine cheesecloth. Refrigerated, it will keep up to 2 weeks.
Courtesy Darwin Pornel, Faith & Flower, Los Angeles
It’s not unusual to see sparkling wine used to add a little fizz to cocktails. But here, a sparkling rosé also adds fruit, a touch of tannic backbone and a lovely rosy hue.
- 1½ ounces Rittenhouse Rye
- ¾ ounce lemon juice
- ¾ ounce simple syrup
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
- Charles Bove NV Sparkling Rosé (Touraine)
- Lemon peel, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine first four ingredients. Shake well, and strain into a coupe glass. Top with sparkling rosé. Garnish with a lemon peel.
These days, it’s hard to find a bar or restaurant that doesn’t have a cocktail menu packed with original creations. Budding mixologists the world-over are vying to innovate and leave a lasting mark on bartending culture. But what does it take for a new cocktail to transcend from a one-off recipe to a modern classic?
It takes someone like Audrey Saunders, owner and founder of Pegu Club in New York City, and a drink like the Old Cuban.
The Old Cuban was invented by Saunders in 2001, and quickly made its way into bar books across America. Like all great classic cocktails, the recipe is deceptively simple, requiring just rum, sparkling wine, lime, mint and bitters. It shares heritage with two other better-known classics, the storied Mojito and French 75, a gin- and sparkling wine-based drink.
Aged rum provides more depth to this drink than your standard white-rum Mojito, while a dash of bitters balances the sweetness. And then there’s Saunders’s masterstroke, swapping the Mojito’s ordinary sparkling water for sparkling wine.
Pegu Club has been at the forefront of modern cocktail culture since Saunders opened the venue in 2005. Important to note was her insistence on double-straining for quality and consistency—this, at a time in bar culture when a majority of New York City was still trying to remember how to make an Old Fashioned. The extra attention to detail ensures a cocktail with a crisp hit of mint, without any fear of getting muddled leaves stuck between your teeth.
So, whether you’re looking for a new way to punch up brunch, something to sip in the sun or just want to upgrade your cocktail game with a modern classic, here’s how to make an Old Cuban.
- ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 6–8 mint leaves
- 1 ½ ounces aged rum (like Bacardi Reserva Ocho)
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 2 ounces sparkling wine
- Mint sprig, for garnish
Combine lime juice, simple syrup, bitters and mint leaves in mixing tin without ice. Gently muddle mint using muddler or flat back of bar spoon. Add rum, bitters and fill with ice. Shake vigorously until well chilled. Double-strain through fine-mesh strainer into chilled coupe glass. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with mint sprig.
Note: Saunders’s original Pegu Club recipe called for a sugar-coated vanilla bean as garnish, but we’re opting for a sprig of mint here for simplicity.
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.
- 1The Sparkling Seasonal 75 Cocktail
- 2Poinsettia Cocktail
- 3The Basil Spritz Cocktail
- 4Parade Route Cocktail
- 5The Old Cuban Cocktail, Where a Mojito and French 75 Meet
- 6Sidecar Royale